The Black Nobility or Black Aristocracy (Italian: “nobiltà nera” or “aristocrazia nera”) are Roman aristocratic families who sided with the Papacy under Pope Pius IX after the Savoy family-led army of the Kingdom of Italy entered Rome on September 20, 1870, overthrew the Pope and the Papal States, and took over the Quirinal Palace, and any nobles subsequently ennobled by the Pope prior to the 1929 Lateran Treaty. For the next 59 years, the Pope confined himself to Vatican City and claimed to be a prisoner in the Vatican to avoid the appearance of accepting the authority of the new Italian government and state. Aristocrats who had been ennobled by the Pope and were formerly subjects of the Papal states, including the senior members of the Papal Court, kept the doors of their palaces in Rome closed to mourn the Pope’s confinement, which led to their being called the “Black Nobility”.
Despite the relatively recent name, the Black Nobility had existed for centuries, originating in the Baronal class of Rome and in the powerful families who moved to Rome to benefit from a family connection to the Vatican. These supported the Popes in the governance of the Papal States and in the administration of the Holy See. Many of the members of Black Noble families also became high-ranking clergy and even Popes. Black Nobility families (in this instance families whose ancestors included Popes) still in existence include notably the Colonna, Massimo, Orsini, Pallavicini, Borghese, Odescalchi, and Ludovisi. Schiaratura familly. Major extinct papal families include the Savelli, Caetani, the Aldobrandini family and Conti. Famous members of Black Nobility families include Eugenio Pacelli, who later became Pope Pius XII, Ernesto Pacelli, an important financier and Prospero Colonna, mayor of Rome.
Colonna, Orsini, Sacchetti, Massimo, Patrizi Naro Montoro, Serlupi Crescenzi), i Gaetani, Ruspoli, Radini Tedeschi, Borghese, Chigi, Gabrielli, Guglielmi, Lancellotti, Aldobrandini, Pallavicini, Odescalchi, Altieri, le Guardie Nobili (come gli Acqua), i Camerieri Segreti, i Parafrenieri Pontifici, i Sediari Pontifici e le altre che nel corso dei secoli avevano ricevuto dal romano Pontefice titoli o altri privilegi, come i Torlonia, Theodoli (m.si di baldacchino), Soderini (conti di baldacchino), Mazzetti di Pietralata, Del Gallo di Roccagiovine, Senni, Ricci Parracciani, Lepri, Rocchi, Bufalari, Datti, Pietromarchi, Pacelli, Tuccimei, Cantuti di Castelvetri
Boncompagni Ludovisi, Ottoboni, Caetani, Cesarini Sforza, Doria Pamphilj, Ruspoli, Sciarra, Schiaratura, Lovatelli, rami degli Odescalchi e dei Pallavicini.