The house of Attems is a noble Uradel family originating in the former March of Friuli. Their family lineage started to form in the early 12th century at the fortress of Attimis (Attems) near Cividale.
One Konrad of Attems, presumably immigrated from Swabia, was first mentioned in a 1102 deed. Among his descendants were Arbo de Attems (died after 2 February 1170) and Henricus de Attems (died 1193). The family had a seat and voice among the Friulian estates at the time when the lands were ruled by the Patriarchs of Aquileia.
After the conquest of Friuli by the Republic of Venice and the incorporation into the Domini di Terraferma by 1433, a part of the family remained in Attimis while Frederick of Attems (1447–1521) moved to Gorizia (Görz), where in 1473 he became chancellor to the last Count Leonhard. When the comital line became extinct in 1500, he was confirmed in his office by the Habsburg emperor Maximilian I and in 1506 even was appointed governor of the Gorizia lands on behalf of the Inner Austrian archdukes.
Frederick's heirs split into the cadet branches of Heiligenkreuz and Petzenstein. Since then, the Attems family played an important role in the Habsburg Monarchy; both lines were elevated to the rank of Freiherren (Barons) in 1605 and given the title of Reichsgrafen (Counts of the Holy Roman Empire) in 1630 (Heiligenkreuz) and 1653 (Petzenstein).
In the Baroque period, the House of Attems was the richest and most influential noble family in the Duchy of Styria. In 1702 Count Ignaz Maria ordered the construction of Palais Attems in Graz, which became home of his extensive art collections; it is today part of the Graz Historic Centre World Heritage Site. In 1861, the heads of the Heiligenkreuz branch were also appointed hereditary members of the Austrian House of Lords.
Notable individuals from the Attems family include the following:Anton Attems (1834–1891), an Austrian baron and politician
Carl von Attems-Petzenstein (1868–1952), Austrian zoologist
Ermest Amadeus Thomas Attems (1694–1757), bishop of Ljubljana
Ferdinand von Attems (1746–1820), Count Governor of Styria, Baron of Sveti Križ (Heiligenkreuz/Santa Croce)
Henry Attems (1834–1909), Austrian pomologists
Ignatius Maria Attems (1774–1861), Governor of Styria, Baron of Sveti Križ
Johannes Attems (*1947), Austrian banker
Joseph Oswald von Attems (1679–1744), Bishop of Lavant
Karl Michael von Attems (1707–1774), Archbishop of Gorizia
Maria Viktoria von Attems (1899–1983), Austrian painter, draftsman, illustrator and designer
Ottokar Maria von Attems (1815–1867), Bishop of Seckau
Sigmund von Attems (1708–1758), Austrian historian
Sophie Countess Attems-Heiligenkreuz (1862–1937), Austrian writer
Sule Attems (born 1960), born in Istanbul, a visual artist, lives in Vienna and Schoenberg at Kamp
The Attems family lineage can be found in several books:Annuaro della Nobilità Italiana
The Austrian State Archives
Genealogisches Handbuch des Adels GHdA