Teofilo Calcagnini was born in Ferrara in 1441 and died in the same city in 1488. He was a nobleman of the Este Court, and he was given, inter alia, the possession of Fusignano by Duke Borso d’Este.
The highly prominent position he had in the Ferrara society and the substantial richness from which his family splendour originated were the result of the predilection that Duke Borso d’Este had for him. Calcagnini was introduced in the Este Court by his father.
The Duke’s greatest act of generosity occurred in 1464. On 25 December, in a solemn ceremony held at the cathedral of Ferrara, Borso made Calcagnini a golden knight and invested him with the Castle of Cavriago near Reggio Emilia, the Castle of Maranello near Modena and the Castle of Fusignano in Romagna.
After that, Calcagnini appeared almost always by Borso’s side as the “duke’s companion”, a title used in Ferrara to indicate a real public official.
When Duke Borso died, that did not mean Calcagnini’s good fortune had ended. The new duke, Ercole I, also chose him as his “companion” and continued favouring him.
During the war between Venice and Ferrara (1482-1484), Calcagnini participated in some military actions in Romagna. Fusignano was occupied by Venetian troops and was restored to Calcagnini after the Peace of Bagnolo (1484). On 10 May, 1485, Doge Giovanni Mocenigo ordered the Podestà of Ravenna to keep Calcagnini in quiet possession of his fiefs and, in particular, of the reclaimed valleys. As a matter of fact, in 1468, Calcagnini acquired a large extension of valley terrain north of Fusignano and started a reclamation process. The work was then continued and completed by his son Alfonso. This is the reason why those lands were called – and are still called – Le Alfonsine.