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At their head were Cardinal Ippolito and five other members of the ducal house; his brothers, Don Ferrante and Don Sigismondo; also Niccolò Maria d'Este, Bishop of Adria; Meliaduse d'Este, Bishop of Comacchio; and Don Ercole, a nephew of the duke.

Desiderius' answer was not to the point. He seized the cities of Faenza, Ferrara, and Comacchio and ravaged the territory about Ravenna, burned the farms and carried off the cattle.

It stands there laden with the mysterious centuries as with half barbaric jewels, weighed down with the ornaments of Byzantium, rigid, hieratic, constrained; and however you come to it, whether from Rimini by the lost and forgotten towns of Classis and Caesarea, or from Ferrara through all the bitter desolation of Comacchio, or across the endless marsh from Bologna or Faenza, its wide and empty horizons, its astonishing silence, and the difficulty of every approach will seem to you but a fitting environment for a place so solitary and so imperious.

The arrangements for breeding fish in the Venetian lagoon of Comacchio date far back in the Middle Ages, but the example does not seem to have been followed elsewhere in Europe at that period, except in small ponds where the propagation of the fish was left to nature without much artificial aid.

Pepin marched on; Pavia was besieged, Aistulf was beaten to the dust. A treaty was drawn up in which the Lombard gave to "S. Peter, the Holy Roman Church, and all the popes of the Apostolic See forever" the Exarchate, the Pentapolis, and Comacchio.

The whole of the inland Pentapolis though Fossombrone is not mentioned Urbino, Jesi, Cagli, Gubbio passed to the pope as well as the following places: Cesena and the Mons Lucatium, Forlimpopoli, Forli, Castro, Caro, S. Leo, Arcevia, Serra dei Conti, the Republic of S. Marino, Sarsina, and Cantiano together with Comacchio and Narni.

But the most ancient and yet most modern of eel fisheries is on the Adriatic, at Comacchio, where lagoons 140 miles in circumference are stocked with eels, and eel breeding and exporting are carried out on a large scale. Even as early as the sixteenth century the Popes used to derive an income of L12,000 from this source.

And this land-making action is ceaseless and continuous. About Venice, Chioggia, Maestra, Comacchio, the delta of the Po is still spreading seaward.

Frederick II, when he stopped in Ferrara on his return from his coronation in Rome, made him Duke of Modena and Reggio, and Count of Rovigo and Comacchio, all of which territories belonged to the empire.

It was due to a succession of remarkable princes, beginning with Aldobrandino, Lord of Ferrara, Modena, Rovigo, and Comacchio, that Ferrara succeeded in winning the important position she held at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Aldobrandino was followed by his brothers, Niccolò, from 1361 to 1388, and Alberto until 1393.