January, 1077 A.D.
Forgiveness of Canossa
In the midst of the Investiture controversy and during a particularlyharsh winter, Emperor Henry IV and his army reached the castle of Canossa where Matilda had offered asylum to Gregory VII, in order to obtain from the Pope the revocation of the excommunicationimposed on him and the reinstatement of his full powers. For threedays he stood barefoot in the snow, just outside of the castle’s wallsand only covered by light woollen clothes. This episode has beenknown down in history as the ‘Forgiveness of Canossa’. Matilde of Tuscany was the mediator and guarantor of this ‘spectacularceremony’. Another woman stands out among the ones who wereassisting at this episode: Bertha of Savoy (1051 – 1087), wife of Henry IV. 150 years earlier, in 930, Adalberto Atto, ancestor of Matilde, hadhosted in the castle walls the queen Adelaide, persecuted by Berengario, future empress of Europe.