FARNESS, the name of a noble Italian house, to which belonged Pope Paul III., the celebrated Elizabeth, wife of Philip V. of Spain, and a long line of princes of Parma, including the great governor of the Netherlands. The first member of the family known in history was Ranuccio Farnese, a successful general of the church, who held the papal fiefs of Farnese and Montalto in the 13th century. Several of his decendants also fought with distinction in the armies of the Holy See, and others allied themselves with Florence, Venice, Siena, and other states, among whom may be mentioned Pietro Farnese, who led the Florentines to victory over Pisa in the middle of the 14th century. The historical importance of the Farnesi dates, however, from the accession of Alessandro Farnese to the papal throne as Paul III. Through his unblushing nepotism the dignity and domains of the family were greatly enlarged. . For its aggrandisement the fiefs of Parma and Piacenza, Castro, and Camerino were alienated from the papacy; the ' marquisate of Novara was obtained from Charles V. ; and marriages were arranged which allied it with the royal houses of Spain and France.