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The Life and Battles of Francesco Maria Della Rovere

Italian CondottieriThe Life and Battles of Francesco Maria Della Rovere

A professional in the art of war, an expert in fortifications, and inclined towards an extensive use of artillery. He diminishes the role of heavy cavalry in the field to favor infantry, which he considers more suitable, in his view, for defense and the siege of strongholds rather than for open field battles. His military science culminates in operations such as encamping in positions difficult for enemies to attack, thereby avoiding the risk of combat. His indecisiveness in leading the troops of the anti-imperial league leads to the severe disaster of the Sack of Rome. From a human perspective, he resembles those typical figures of a Renaissance lord capable of any misdeed. On the other hand, he is beloved for his other qualities by the subjects of the Duchy of Urbino

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

The Art of War of Francesco Maria Della Rovere: From Urbino to the Sack of Rome

Francesco Maria della Rovere of Senigallia, nicknamed “the Italian Hercules.” Duke of Urbino and of Sora, Lord of Pesaro, Senigallia, Fossombrone, Gubbio, Caprarola, Mondavio, Monterolo, San Vito sul Cesano, Reforzate, Barchi, Rupoli, Orciano di Pesaro, San Giorgio di Pesaro, Piagge, Sorbolongo, Montemaggiore al Metauro, Sant’Andrea, Mondolfo, Cerasa, Montebello, Poggio, Cavallara, Villa del Monte, Montesecco. Son of Giovanni della Rovere, adopted by Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, son-in-law of Francesco Gonzaga. Prefect of Rome. Knight of the Order of Saint Michael.

Born: 1490, March
Death: 1538, October

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
1499MarcheIn his early years, he studied with the humanist Ludovico Odasio and Antonio di Cristini from Sassoferrato. Pressure was applied in Rome for his marriage to Angela Borgia.
1501
Feb.LazioHe was confirmed in the position of Prefect of Rome by Pope Alexander VI (Alessandro VI).
1502
MayLazioHe was granted the Duchy of Sora by King Louis XII of France. Similarly, he was enfeoffed in Rome by Pope Alexander VI with the prefecture of Rome.
JuneMarche, Tuscany, PiedmontForced to flee from Urbino due to the threats of Cesare Borgia against Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, he passed through San Leo and arrived safely in Florentine territory. From there, he was secretly taken to Asti, where his uncle, Cardinal Giuliano della Rovere (the future Pope Julius II), was located.
Dec.Marche, VenetoHe returned to the Marche region; however, he had to again leave Senigallia with his mother Joanna of Montefeltro (Giovanna da Montefeltro) and Andrea Doria, who had defended the city against the Papal forces. He then took refuge in Venice for a year.
1503
………FranceHe lived at the French court, where he had the opportunity to meet Gaston de Foix.
Sept.MarcheHe returned to Senigallia in the Marche upon the death of the Pope. The new Pope, Julius II (Giuliano della Rovere), reaffirmed him in the position of Prefect of Rome.
………France
1504
Feb.Lombardy, LazioRecalled by France, on his journey towards Rome, he passed through Milan and Bolsena.
Apr.LazioHe was adopted in Rome by the Duke of Urbino, Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, in the presence of four cardinals and other prelates.
MayChurch220 lancesLazioHe was granted a command of 220 lances. His lieutenant was Giovanni Gonzaga.
Dec.LazioIn Rome.
1505
Mar.His marriage by proxy to Elisabetta Gonzaga, daughter of the Marquis of Mantua, Francesco Gonzaga, was celebrated.
JulyLazioIn Rome, the review of his company took place in Campo dei Fiori.
Aug.Lazio, Umbria, LombardyHe left Rome; with Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, he went to Orvieto, hosted by Angelo di Giulio; he then proceeded to Mantua to marry Eleonora Gonzaga, daughter of Francesco Gonzaga and widow of Duke Antonio da Montalto.
1506
Sept.200 lancesUmbria, LazioHe escorted the Pope to Orvieto and Perugia (where he was hosted by Pietro Paolo della Cornia) on the occasion of Giampaolo Baglioni’s act of surrender to the Papal State; he was then spotted in Gubbio. He was given command of 200 lances, half the number of his uncle Guidobaldo da Montefeltro‘s company. The lieutenant of the company was now Ambrogio da Landriano. Francesco Gonzaga, General Captain of the league, also arrived in Rome. The presence of the latter posed a thorny issue of precedence between the two commanders, as della Rovere held the position of Prefect of Rome and commanded the Papal troops. The dispute erupted into a verbal altercation during a solemn mass in St. Peter’s. The following day, della Rovere abstained from the planned ceremonies.
Oct.ChurchBolognaRomagnaIn Cesena, he stayed with Guidobaldo da Montefeltro in the houses of Niccolò da Bagno. He attended the review of the Papal troops.
Nov.EmiliaHe accompanied Pope Julius II during his solemn entrance into Bologna following the flight of the Bentivoglio from the city.
1507
Apr.King Ferdinand the Catholic of Spain granted him the lordship of Rocca Guglielma.
Nov.MarcheIn Urbino, he killed Giovanni Andrea Bravo, the lord of Sassocorvaro and lover of his sister Maria, widow of Venanzio da Varano. He invited Bravo to lunch, secluded himself with him in a room under the pretense of a game, and stabbed him 27 times while his servants restrained the man from behind. Afterward, he fled to Senigallia.
1508
Mar.MarcheUpon the death of Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, he was named Duke of Urbino.
Oct.ChurchGonfalonier of the Church State, commanding
216 lances
and 58 light cavalry
Romagna, EmiliaAt a dinner with Cesare Gonzaga, he drew his sword in anger and was only calmed by his courtiers after reaching Cesena on horseback. He was elected Gonfalonier of the Church State: the investiture ceremony took place in Bologna at the Church of San Petronio. Cardinal Francesco Alidosi of Pavia presented him with the insignia of command. In the city, he lodged on Castiglione Street in the palace of Giovanni Galeazzo and Giovanni Francesco Poeta, who were at the time exiled for supporting the Bentivoglio cause. He attended the palio, a horse race run by 8 horses on San Felice Street. He returned to Cesena, hosted by Vincenzo Cassina.
Nov.EmiliaIn Bologna, for the review of the Papal troops.
Dec.EmiliaWith 100 horses, he followed Cardinal Francesco Alidosi from Bologna to Imola, crossed the Faenza area controlled by the Venetians, and reached Forlì and Cesena.
1509
Apr.ChurchVeniceGeneral captainMarcheHe gathered his militias at Urbino, passed through Sassocorvaro and San Marino, and from there moved to Frà Bianchi to threaten Rimini; he reached Santarcangelo di Romagna with 360 horses. Here, he was joined by Baglioni with 100 men-at-arms. At Forlimpopoli, at the head of 400 lances, 400 light cavalry, 8,000 infantry, and 30 cannons provided by the Duke of Ferrara, he assaulted the Romagna cities under Venetian control. He sacked the territory between Cesena and Cervia.
MayRomagnaHe moved between Imola and Faenza, capturing Solarolo and Brisighella, which surrendered at his discretion after various assaults killed 2,000 people, including soldiers and residents. The locality was horrifically sacked. Subsequently, he took control of Granarolo and laid siege to Russi. He constructed a moat around the castle equipped with shelters for his soldiers; he sent Chiappino Vitelli (with 50 lances) and Giovanni Vitelli (with 100 light cavalry) by night towards Ravenna to set up an ambush. From the city, Giovanni Greco emerged with light cavalry and some infantry companies. The commander of the Serenissima was defeated and captured. The defenders of Russi also surrendered under terms after a siege of ten days. He had four out of five bombardiers from the fortress blinded for firing at his tent, thus killing five of his courtiers. He moved into the Faenza area and plundered the countryside; he attacked Faenza and narrowly escaped death under the walls from an artillery shot. On this occasion, he looted 500 infantrymen violating the agreements made by the Cardinal of Pavia as they were leaving the city. He set his sights on Ravenna; he sent a trumpeter to the city to demand the surrender from the overseers Pietro Landi and Francesco Marcello. He camped at La Rotonda and prepared to besiege the city. He captured the fortress using his own artillery and another 32 pieces received from Duke Alfonso d’Este of Ferrara. He entered the city and prevented its sack, which was otherwise desired by Giovanni da Sassatello and the Swiss of Giorgio Soprasasso with the tacit approval of Cardinal Alidosi. At Cervia.
JuneRomagnaHe took control of Rimini; with this conquest, the campaign against the Venetians came to an end. He disbanded the infantry and dispersed the cavalry throughout the territory.
JulyMarcheHe passed through Perugia (staying with the Baglioni and his wife) and returned to Urbino. He went to Orvieto where he lodged in the palace of Angelo di Benincasa; there, he was joined by Baglioni; together, they headed to Todi to welcome the Papal legate, the Bishop of Urbino, Gabriele Gabrielli.
Sept.VenetoAt the siege of Padua.
Oct.He killed one of his courtiers who was caught committing adultery with a married woman.
1510
Jan. – Feb.Umbria, LazioHe returns to Perugia to escort Elisabeth Gonzaga (Elisabetta Gonzaga), widow of Montefeltro. In February, along with his wife, he spends the Carnival festivities in Rome. On a visit to Pope Julius II (Giulio II).
MayChurchFerrara, France, EmpireGeneral captainMarche, EmiliaThe Papal States ally with the Venetians to fight against the Este family and the French. Francesco Maria della Rovere leaves Urbino and travels to Bologna.
JuneRomagnaTo Argenta.
JulyRomagnaIn Romagna, between Ravenna and Rimini, he commands 800 lances, 700 light cavalry, and 6,000 infantrymen. He has at his disposal 20 pieces of artillery of various calibers. He easily takes possession of Cento and Pieve di Cento; along with Giampaolo Baglioni and Giovanni da Sassatello, he also seizes control of Massa Lombarda, Sant’Agata sul Santerno, Conselice, Cotignola, Bagnacavallo, Fusignano, and Lugo; he besieges the fortress of the latter location and is wounded in the shoulder by a harquebus shot. Upon hearing that 150 French lances led by Alfonso d’Este along with many light cavalry and 3,000 infantrymen comprising Gascons, Spaniards, and Italians are approaching, he retreats to Imola after abandoning 3 pieces of artillery on the field.
Aug.Romagna, EmiliaHe receives some reinforcements and captures the fortress of Lugo, which he refuses to accept the surrender terms offered by the infantry of Piero Corso because they had previously killed one of his trumpeters. He attacks Argenta again: the march is hindered by rain and flooding of the lands. He moves to the Modena area, camps between Carpi and Soliera with 16,000 men; he takes Modena from the counts Francesco Maria and Gherardo Rangoni; he also captures the governor Ercole d’Este, who is bedridden with illness. The area is devastated by the presence of the Papal army; the peasants are unable to tend to their fields as they are conscripted into the city for necessary work on strengthening the defensive fortifications. Carpi, San Felice sul Panaro, and Finale Emilia are also conquered by the ecclesiastical militias.
Sept.EmiliaHe forces Bondeno to surrender; he quarters himself at San Martino with 5,000 to 8,000 soldiers and captures its tower; he attacks Stellata and stalls in front of Ferrara. From Finale Emilia, he sends Collela Albanese on a scouting mission to take over the Torre dell’Uccellino: after fifteen days, due to the lack of reinforcements that had been promised to him by the Papal legate, Cardinal of Pavia, he recalls Collela Albanese and heads to San Giovanni in Persiceto. From there, he returns to Modena. In the city, a secret servant of the pope delivers the order to arrest Cardinal Alidosi and to escort him to Bologna. He dispatches Cardillo, captain of his broken lances, to arrest the prelate on the road to Rubiera; he escorts him to Bologna; the charge is that of treason.
Oct.EmiliaPope Julius II (Giulio II) changes his mind and orders the release of the Cardinal of Pavia; he even appoints him as the bishop of Bologna. Francesco Maria della Rovere returns to guard Modena. He takes control of Rubiera with the Venetian troops.
Nov.EmiliaHe captures Sassuolo: in the conflict, 90 Gascon infantry are killed. In Modena, he holds a war council with Fabrizio Colonna, Giampaolo Baglioni, Marcantonio Colonna, and the general provider Paolo Capello. He attacks Sassuolo again, which had in the meantime returned to the control of the opponents: he occupies the city and the fortress after the defenders surrender at discretion; the bombardiers are thrown from the walls. He moves to Bologna; holds a new war council with Fabrizio Colonna, Giampaolo Baglioni, Giovanni da Sassatello, Raffaello dei Pazzi, and the Venetians Antonio Pio and Fra Leonardo Prato.
Dec.EmiliaHe falls ill. Once recovered, he is expected at Roncaglia; with the new legate, the Bishop of Senigallia Marco Vigezio, he seizes Concordia; he besieges the castle of Mirandola, defended by 300 infantry, 30 men-at-arms, and 40 Italian light cavalry. 8 pieces of artillery bombard the fortress. His actions are criticized by the Venetians, who deem him too cautious and not aggressive enough.
1511
Jan.216 lances and 179 light cavalryEmiliaThe Pope personally replaces him in the siege operations of Mirandola where an assault ends with the death of 100 defenders and the killing of 400 men among the attackers. Julius II (Giulio II) berates him with insults; Francesco Maria della Rovere threatens Giovan Francesco della Mirandola, who is among his most outspoken critics. Ridicule befalls him when, with the castle’s surrender, he demands a portion of the loot; he receives further rebukes while attending with the pontiff the review of his companies.
Feb.EmiliaAt Finale Emilia with Fabrizio Colonna; the French forces under Chaumont and Gian Giacomo Trivulzio approach; della Rovere retreats beyond the Tanaro.
Mar.EmiliaTogether with Fabrizio Colonna, he refuses to prevent the opponents from crossing the Secchia, although he has been explicitly asked to do so by the Venetian official Paolo Capello. This incurs the wrath of the Venetians.
MayEmiliaHe meets with Julius II (Giulio II) in Cento; however, his disputes with Cardinal Francesco Alidosi and Paolo Capello continue. In this tense atmosphere, he is taken aback by the rebellion in Bologna and the advance of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio and the Bentivoglio. He silently abandons the camp stretching from Casalecchio di Reno to Porta Saragozza and orders a retreat towards the hills: swarms of peasants overrun the lodgings of the Papal and Venetian forces; likewise, numerous men hungry for loot emerge from the gates of Bologna. The French pounce on the supplies and artillery; the Papal and Venetian forces, left in chaos by della Rovere, follow the example of their general and flee disorderly towards Castel Bolognese. In the conflict, 3000 of his infantry are killed; the adversaries also seize 36 cannons. Della Rovere reaches Ravenna where the Pope is located; he accuses Cardinal Alidosi of treason; he is expelled from the Abbey of San Vitale. Enraged, he encounters the Cardinal on the road, escorted by 100 light cavalry under the command of Guido Vaina, while he himself is accompanied only by 12 men including nobles of his court and broken lances. He grabs the reins of the white mule on which the prelate is mounted, strikes him on the head with his sword, and throws him to the ground; his retainers follow suit. A Feltre cavalry captain wounds him in the neck with his scimitar. Cardinal Alidosi dies two hours later in the monastery of San Vitale; everyone is pleased with the news due to Alidosi’s notorious wickedness. The only one to mourn him will be the Pope, who leaves Ravenna with eyes swollen from weeping.
June – Sept.Emilia, LazioHe is placed under investigation; he is summoned to Rome to appear before a tribunal composed of four cardinals, including Giovanni de’ Medici (the future Pope Leo X). Until the verdict is issued, he is stripped of all his offices; however, he is allowed to reside in his palace (now Palazzo Doria Pamphilj), provided he posts a bail of 10,000 ducats to prevent any potential escape. His defense is based on the claim that Alidosi was a traitor; Julius II begins to believe his argument, although he does not fully pardon him. In September, he is acquitted, the Pope reinstates him in his offices and grants him a compensation of 12,000 ducats.
Oct.MarcheHe reorganizes his companies.
Nov.RomagnaAt Faenza with Marcantonio Colonna.
Dec.150 lances, 2000 infantrymenRomagna, MarcheAt Imola and Loreto for the review of his men; from there he heads towards Fossombrone.
1512
Jan.MarcheHe does not join the troops of the Holy League at Imola in order to avoid submitting to the orders of the Viceroy of Naples, Raimondo di Cardona.
Apr.Standard-bearer of the State of the ChurchMarche, RomagnaThe Venetians incorporate him into the nobility of the Most Serene Republic. At the same time, his companies leave Romagna following clashes at Budrio with the Spanish militias, which end with a dozen deaths. Della Rovere is recalled to Rome; initially, he impedes the passage through the Marches of the Papal troops led by Troilo Savelli and Gentile Baglioni, headed to the camp at Ravenna. The allies are defeated by the French at Ravenna, and the Duke provides refuge in Urbino to the fleeing Spaniards; some authors, more hostile towards him, report numerous and continuous assaults by his subjects on the fleeing soldiers, which della Rovere tolerates without due response.
He meets in Urbino with Gentile Baglioni and Troilo Savelli, who provide him with funds to reorganize his companies and counter the French in Romagna. He reconciles with the Pope. Appointed again as the Standard-bearer of the State of the Church, he gathers 200 lances and 4000 infantry; he reinforces the garrison of Fano with 400 infantry and 8 pieces of artillery; he goes to Fossombrone where Troilo Savelli and Carlo Baglioni join his troops. He is at Montefiore Conca with 7000 infantry and 300 lances.
MayRomagna, MarcheThe French withdraw from Romagna; della Rovere with 200 lances and 2000 infantry recaptures Rimini without encountering any opposition; he takes control of the town fortress from Matteo da Zara; he requests reinforcements of another 300 men-at-arms and 1000 infantry to continue the campaign. He stays in the city for eighteen days and lodges in the house of Michele Melzi dei Lampergi. In Urbino.
JuneGeneral captain of 150 lances, 100 light cavalryRomagna, EmiliaAt the beginning of June, he enters Forlì through Porta Ravaldino and immediately has it closed behind him to leave his soldiers outside the city walls. Despite previously being supplied with wine by the inhabitants, they force the sentinels to open the gate allowing them to enter the city for amusement and to drink in the taverns; similarly, those at Porta Schiavonia attempt the same. Everyone is accommodated; by the same afternoon, the troops leave the countryside to head towards Imola. Della Rovere continues on to Faenza and Bologna, from which the Bentivoglio have been expelled. He is confirmed as the general captain of the Papal troops by the new legate, Cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga. Due to delayed pay, the militias ravage the crops; the consequences of their actions on the harvests will be felt the following year with a severe famine. To provide pay to the troops, only 6000 ducats are found as an advance on the necessary 60000. He enters Carpi, Brescello, Finale Emilia (where he meets with Annibale, Ermes, and Alessandro Bentivoglio), San Felice sul Panaro, and Garfagnana: conversely, he avoids joining with the Venetians, excusing himself from any commitment.
JulyEmiliaFrom Modena, he proceeds to Reggio Emilia. He sets up camp a short distance from the walls of the town. He invites the Elders to send ambassadors to him. He enters the city, and after two years, the papal interdict is lifted. The Ghibelline faction is thus rewarded for its support of Papal policy. Della Rovere returns to Bologna and Urbino.
Aug.Emilia, RomagnaIn Bologna and Ravenna to counter the Estensi with infantry.
Sept.Romagna, MarcheAt Imola, he seizes Castel Bolognese from the Estensi; he is spotted at Lugo and Bagnacavallo with 450 lances and 5000 infantry; he awaits the arrival of another 1200 Spanish infantry recruited by the Papacy. He asks the captain of the Po, Andrea Contarini, to prepare a pontoon bridge to allow him to cross the Po River. He stops at Primaro; a heavy rain and the swollen river convince him to safely return to Ravenna and conclude the operations. The disbandment of the infantry, the placement of the men-at-arms in various garrisons, and his return to Urbino form the final corollary of the recent campaign.
The Medici attack Florence with the support of the Spaniards and the Pope: he prevents the companies of the Vitelli and Franciotto Orsini from crossing his territories and does not support their action despite Cardinal Giovanni de’ Medici having been raised at his court.
Oct.MarcheGaleazzo Sforza sells him the castle of Pesaro for 3500 ducats: the annual tribute imposed on him for the possession of the city consists of delivering a silver goblet.
1513
Feb.AnconaJesiMarche, LazioJulius II permanently grants him Pesaro, settling the debts owed to him by the Apostolic Chamber. The investiture is confirmed a few months later by the new Pope, Leo X. He is hired by the people of Ancona for 3000 ducats to fight against the inhabitants of Jesi: he occupies various castles in the countryside without attacking the city itself. The Anconetans feel mocked. At the same time, Pope Julius II purchases Siena from Emperor Maximilian of Austria for 30,000 ducats; his goal is to gift the city to his nephew. Julius II dies and the plan does not come to fruition. Della Rovere is called to Rome by the college of cardinals with 200 lances and 5000 infantry to oversee the workings of the conclave.
Apr.LazioIn Rome at the coronation of Leo X: during the ceremony, he has a dispute regarding precedence with the Duke of Camerino. This dispute is resolved in his favor by the new Pope.
MayChurchFrance, VeniceEmiliaIn Bologna.
1514
Feb.He is summoned to Naples concerning the possession of the Duchy of Sora; he is also required by the King of Spain to pay 300,000 ducats as compensation for the defeat at Ravenna.
Mar.Marche, Lazio, CampaniaLeo X begins to conspire against him to take away the Duchy of Urbino; a new trial is organized in Rome for the killing of the Cardinal of Pavia. Della Rovere, being cautious, sends his possessions to Mantova; he travels incognito to Rome (where he meets Cardinal Bernardo Dovizi of Bibbiena) and to Naples (to save the Duchy of Sora).
May – Oct.MarcheHe begins preparations for the upcoming conflict; he gathers troops, commissions the construction of a galley in the Venice Arsenal, and retains some Spanish artillery pieces that were to be sent to the Kingdom of Naples.
1515
JuneMarcheReconciliation with the Pope seems near, as he sends him 6000 ducats to settle outstanding wages.
JulyMarcheHe is dispatched to Bologna (with a command of 250 lances) to assist Duke Maximilian Sforza of Milan against the French in Lombardy: he does not move because he lacks the funds.
Aug.With the appointment of Lorenzo de’ Medici as the general captain of the Papal forces, replacing Giuliano de’ Medici, he refuses to join the camp at Piacenza, not recognizing Lorenzo’s hierarchical superiority. His companies, on his order, leave the camp at Ravenna under Benedetto da Mondolfo; he regrets this when they reach Rimini and unsuccessfully recalls them. He is required to return the advances he received. Leo X continues to contemplate removing him from the Duchy of Urbino. Della Rovere is not permitted to enlist 1000 infantry; this serves as a further pretext for him not to leave the Urbinate.
Sept.King Francis I of France and the Pope’s own brother, Giuliano de’ Medici, intercede on his behalf and temporarily prevent any hostile actions against him.
Oct. – Dec.He sends Malatesta Malatesta da Sogliano to Venice to offer his services to the Most Serene Republic with 10,000 infantry; in December, the Council of Sages discusses a possible command assignment for him.
1516
Jan. – Feb.MarcheHe faces new accusations from the Pope. At the end of February, he is excommunicated by Leo X.
Mar. – MayUrbinoChurchMarcheHe plans to switch allegiance to the Imperial forces to gain protection against the Pope. With the death of Giuliano de’ Medici, the persecution against him officially begins, culminating in a new excommunication pronounced by a consistory convened by the pontiff and his being declared an outlaw: pretexts such as the Duke’s disobedience in the Lombard war and the assassination of Cardinal Alidosi are invoked, despite Leo X, as a cardinal, having voted for his acquittal in the previous trial. The dispossession is entrusted to Lorenzo de’ Medici, who plans to attack the Duchy of Urbino with 700 lances, 8000 infantry, 700 light cavalry, and twenty pieces of artillery of large and small caliber. Maria della Rovere prepares adequately; he secures 400 light cavalry, 200 lances, and 8000 infantry; he fortifies San Leo (where Francesco Buzzaccarini is governor), Pesaro, and Urbino. He sends his wife and children to Mantova.
JuneMarcheThe war effectively ends following a dispute in Pesaro between Luigi Gonzaga and Ferdinando Spagnolo, the latter of whom is killed in the conflict: the troops of the two commanders disperse; Urbino, Senigallia, and Pesaro surrender to the Papal forces. Della Rovere is persuaded by Francesco Gonzaga, who sends his own guard captain Alessio Beccagnolo regarding this matter, to abandon the capital; he sends Beccagnolo to Urbino to notify Ambrogio da Landriano of the decision and authorizes his subjects to accept Papal rule. Tranquillo Giraldi remains in the fortress of Pesaro; other garrisons are placed by him in the fortresses of Senigallia, San Leo, and Maiolo. He embarks from Pesaro by night, lands at Primaro in the Duchy of Ferrara, and reaches Goito in the Marquisate of Mantova. The Gonzaga territory is subsequently subjected to an ecclesiastical interdict because of this action. The Pope accuses della Rovere of having poisoned Giuliano de’ Medici. In the meantime, Senigallia quickly falls to the Papal forces; Pesaro surrenders after a month due to artillery bombardment, and Tranquillo Giraldi is hanged by the opposing forces; Maiolo and San Leo also fall after three months. The cardinals ratify the usurpation except for the Bishop of Urbino, Domenico Grimani, who leaves Rome and will only return upon the death of the Pope.
JulyLombardyHe takes refuge in the territory of Mantova. He secretly agrees with the Marquis of Mantova, the Duke of Ferrara, and Fabrizio Colonna to provide support to the Imperial forces with men and money in order to drive the French out of Italy and, at the same time, to undermine the forces of the Most Serene Republic.
Dec.Comp. venturaChurchLombardyThe Viceroy of Naples confiscates the Duchy of Sora and other fiefs in the Naples region that had been granted to Guglielmo di Croy. With the signing of the Peace of Noyon between the French and the Spanish, he moves to Sermide; he is provided with money by Francesco Gonzaga and Alfonso d’Este; he hires 6200 Spanish infantry with 40 constables, 800 Italian infantry, 700 light cavalry, and 120 men-at-arms, all of whom were without command. He is followed by the Spaniards Francesco Maldonado and Luigi di Gayoso, the Burgundian Zuchero, the Albanians Cola Moro, Andrea Bua, and Costantino Boccali, and the Italian Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo. Their base of operations is Marmirolo.
1517
Jan.Lombardy, Emilia, RomagnaHe crosses the Po at Ostiglia, reaches Finale Emilia, and threatens Modena where Francesco Guicciardini and Guido Rangoni strengthen the garrison; he proceeds to Budrio which he plunders. Renzo di Ceri and Vitello Vitelli move against him slowly from Ravenna. He passes through Pieve di Cento; from the Duchy of Ferrara he enters the Faentino, pillages Granarolo, and approaches Faenza accompanied by a young Manfredi with the aim of inciting the city against the Papal authorities. As he moves through the Forlì region, he demands a contribution of 1000 ducats from the inhabitants; he encamps at Santa Maria del Forno and damages the surrounding countryside.
Feb.Romagna, MarcheHe allows his troops, exhausted from the long march and very harsh cold, to rest at Saludecio; he storms and plunders Gradara, and stops at Cesenatico for two days to let his troops rest. He sends Benedetto da Mondolfo ahead with some cavalry into the countryside of Urbino; he appears with Carlo da Gubbio below Urbino, defended by Jacopo Rossetto with 2000 infantry. The Papal forces flee through Porta di Lavagine towards Pesaro (in the combat, 700 men are killed). Bishop Giulio Vitelli, who governs the duchy on behalf of Lorenzo de’ Medici, is taken prisoner. Francesco Maria della Rovere enters Urbino; he collects money to pay the Spanish infantry who, on Maldonado’s suggestion, demand to loot the houses of the Papal supporters; he recovers most of the duchy including Gubbio and Cagli. With Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo, he moves towards Fano with 6000 men, both cavalry and infantry, and 5 pieces of artillery, which, however, have a limited supply of gunpowder. The batteries are placed in front of San Martino Church and under the walls of Santo Spirito; they hit the Porta di Santa Maria (Santa Marina). In one assault, he loses 50 men; he repeatedly attempts to attack Fano, valiantly defended by Troilo Savelli and Fabiano da Gallese. The arrival by sea of 500 infantry sent by Ceri forces him to retreat to Cuccurano and camp at the Santa Maria Nuova convent near San Lazzaro. The Spanish mercenaries begin to desert him under pressure from the King of Spain, Charles I (the future Emperor Charles V); similarly, the French are urged by their monarch to do the same; the Venetians also prohibit their subjects from serving under him and block the galley he had previously ordered at Zara. Despite various setbacks, at Novilara he still has at his disposal 12,000 men, not counting the selected troops from the duchy.
Mar.Marche, RomagnaDella Rovere vainly besieges Pesaro; he defeats the Papal forces, inflicting the loss of 1000/1100 infantry and 80/180 cavalry; he targets Loreto to plunder the sanctuary of its treasures. A squad of his scouts is attacked at the gates of the town by a pack of wolves: the event (in an era where divine intervention is seen everywhere) alarms his army and dissuades him from the intention to sack the sanctuary. Della Rovere returns towards Rimini to aim at Saludecio: he has with him 700 cavalry and 10,000 infantry. He is faced by 20,000 men who themselves suffer from severe logistical problems.
His Spanish infantry capture the castle of Mombaroccio and kill the 500 Corsican infantry defending it. He challenges Lorenzo de’ Medici to battle through the Spanish captain Suarez and his own secretary Orazio Florido, who is then imprisoned by the opponents. He notices that several Papal light cavalry are moving towards the castle of Sorbolongo; he quickly shifts and drives out Giovanni de’ Medici, who had previously taken control there. He is reported between Sorbolongo and Barti; he believes that the opponents are retreating because they are unable to prevent his troops from resupplying; he pursues them through the mountains hoping to outflank them on the plains.
In reality, the Papal forces have taken another route to recover a cannon whose cart had lost a wheel the day before. The opponents cross the Metauro to head for Fossombrone. Della Rovere has a skirmish with the troops of Baglioni, who, in their march, have changed direction to occupy his base of departure; he leaves the carriages and swiftly moves with disordered troops towards a fortified river pass at Tavernelle. He survives because Ceri and Vitelli persuade Lorenzo de’ Medici to retreat rather than attack him on what could have been a decisive day. At Mombaroccio, where he anticipates the arrival of 2000 Papal infantry.
Apr.MarcheDella Rovere distributes his troops among Monte Montanaro, Montefelcino, and Castel Gagliardo; he sends the Spanish captain Moriglione into Fontecorniale to occupy Montecalvo. His aggressive actions force the Papal forces to retreat to Fossombrone; with his light cavalry, he impedes the flow of land-based supplies while turbulent seas hinder navigation from Pesaro to Fano. Along with Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo, he is excommunicated as a rebel.
MayMarche, UmbriaDella Rovere positions his troops on a hill in Ginestreto under Sant’Arcangelo in Lizzola, deciding to capitalize on the chaos within the enemy camp due to ongoing brawls. He attacks Monte Imperiale with his Spanish infantry and surprises 5000 Papal troops (Spaniards, Swiss, and Corsicans) at San Bortolo Church, capturing 1300 men. The next day, he assaults the camp of Gascon infantry, persuading 1500 soldiers along with their captain, Francesco d’Ambres, to switch to his service; however, 600 of these, influenced by Camillo da Trivulzio and Sisse, soon change their minds and decide to return to the Papal camp. Della Rovere pursues them, pushing forward with light cavalry and arquebusiers to seize their carriages. He is blocked at San Remulo by Camillo Orsini.
During this period, his forces include 10,000 foreign infantry comprising Landsknechts, Swiss, Spaniards (including 800 arquebusiers), 2,000 veteran Italian infantry, 6,000 selected troops, and 1,000 light cavalry; however, he has access to only 6-7 artillery pieces. Driven by a lack of funds, as his soldiers have not been paid for three months, he turns towards Umbria and Tuscany. Urged by Carlo Baglioni and Borghese Petrucci, he moves through Fossombrone, Cagli, and Gubbio towards Perugia and Siena; his Spanish troops pillage Cantiano, while the Gascon infantry ravage Sigillo and Gualdo Cattaneo.
Informed by the Duke of Traietto, Onorato Gaetani, of Maldonado’s betrayal (intercepted letters from the Pope to him are discovered), he meets this captain at Pianello; manages to quell a mutiny; convenes a war council in Gubbio to brief various commanders on the Spanish captain’s disloyalty; orders Velastequi to position his arquebusiers at Ponte Val di Ceppi on the Tiber to prevent Maldonado’s men from dispersing; positions the Gascons at the center, light cavalry on the right, men-at-arms on the left, and the artillery in the rear. The loyal Spaniards are faced off against those serving with Maldonado, who are unaware of the betrayal. Della Rovere reveals the details of the conspiracy to the soldiers; the investigation is read by Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo. Francesco Maldonado and seven other captains are sentenced to be executed by running the gauntlet. Executions also include Plazo, Cristoforo Machio, Giovanni Perez, and Gonzales; Suarez de Leon is killed by light cavalry while attempting to escape; a seventh, Varolia, is released due to proven innocence.
After sacking Fossato di Vico and Nocera Umbra, he defeats Troilo Savelli’s Medici forces; he moves towards Perugia. He positions himself in front of Porta Sole but withdraws to the vicinity as Vitello Vitelli, Camillo da Trivulzio with 600 French cavalry, and Camillo Orsini with many men-at-arms and 200 light cavalry, as well as numerous infantry from Florence, Siena, Todi, Città della Pieve, arrive, bringing the number of defenders to 18,000/20,000 armed men. Della Rovere orders his light cavalry to raid the countryside; his attacks on the walls are repelled. Giampaolo Baglioni, to drive him away from Perugia, provides him with 10,000 ducats (2,000 immediately, 1,000 in cloth within three days, the rest within fifteen days) and two hundred loads of bread. Della Rovere now heads to Fratta Todina and ravages the Folignate region.
JuneUmbria, Tuscany, MarcheDella Rovere continues to Città di Castello and Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro); he must retreat to his own lands with the fall of Fossombrone and Pergola, which are sacked by Renzo di Ceri and the Spaniards under Count Antonio di Guevara of Potenza. Aided secretly by the King of France and the Venetians, he plunders Fabriano and Montalboddo (Ostra). The inhabitants of the latter, to avoid an assault by his men, must pay him 500 ducats, 600 salme of wheat, and 120 barrels of wine. He proceeds to Cagli; sacks Montenovo (Ostra Vetere); and harasses the territories of Macerata, Recanati, Potenza Picena, Matelica, Tolentino, San Severino Marche (from which he extracts 1750 ducats, 10 barrels of gunpowder, and a piece of velvet). He presses on Ancona, which rids itself of his presence with 8000 ducats; he vainly besieges Corinaldo for twenty-two days, defended by Micheletto and Tristano Corso with 200 infantry; he also attacks Osimo unsuccessfully, while Carlo Baglioni manages to enter Camerino and later Fermo.
He targets Pesaro where Antonio di Guevara and Sisse take refuge. They do not dare to attack him due to having fewer infantry under their command. Della Rovere heads towards Fermo. At the end of the month, Petritoli is set ablaze, also by Baglioni‘s orders.
Aug.Romagna, TuscanyDella Rovere‘s path is blocked by 300 lances led by Lescun and 6000 infantry (2000 Swiss and 4000 from Grisons and Germany): he clashes with the adversaries at Rimini in the borough of San Giuliano. He is wounded in the chest by a harquebus shot; in the battle, Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo is also injured, and Carlo Baglioni along with Spanish captains Velastequi and Guinea are killed; among the Papal forces, the Swiss Gaspare di Silenen is killed with 400 comrades.
Peace negotiations begin with the Papal states; Della Rovere demands 60,000 ducats, equivalent to three months’ pay for his men. He bends towards Tuscany to continue his raids between Pieve Santo Stefano, Sansepolcro, and Anghiari; he occupies Montedoglio and with 6000 infantry, he battles at Anghiari, capturing Giovanni de’ Medici and Zuchero (who had long since abandoned him); he besieges Sansepolcro, where he is repelled by the Florentines led by Iacopo Corso.
This series of events highlights the turbulent military campaigns involving shifting alliances and fierce combats as Della Rovere maneuvered through the volatile political and military landscape of Renaissance Italy.
Sept.Tuscany, Marche, Romagna, Emilia, LombardyRejected also from Anghiari, where 500 infantry defend, Della Rovere finds himself surrounded by adversaries: by Vitello Vitelli at Città di Castello; by German, Corsican, Grisons, and Swiss infantry at Anghiari and Pieve Santo Stefano; by Lorenzo de’ Medici at Sansepolcro. Abandoned by the Spanish infantry who followed Ugo di Moncada, he returns to Urbino with the Gascon infantry, Italians, Landsknechts, and light cavalry. He soon reaches an agreement at Fossombrone with the adversaries, extending to all his men the conditions previously obtained by the Spanish infantry for their departure: the recognition by the Pope of 45,000 ducats equivalent to four months’ salary. To Della Rovere‘s men (Gascons, Germans, and other nationalities), 60,000 ducats are paid out. The Feltre army dissolves.
Thus ends after eight months the War of Urbino, which cost the Papal states 800,000 florins, largely financed by the Florentines who in return gain in the Montefeltro the territories of Macerata Feltria, Certalto, Sestino, and San Leo. With the protection of Lescun, Della Rovere reaches Santarcangelo di Romagna and Castel Bolognese; from there he returns to Mantova, lamenting being abandoned by all those who had encouraged his venture. With him are Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo, 1000 cavalry, and 600 Italian infantry; he also brings with him the library of the Montefeltro.
1518
Jan.He proposes himself as a mediator for the release of Giulio Manfrone in exchange for the liberation of Cristoforo Frangipane.
JuneVenetoIn Venice for a wedding. The wife stops at Abano Terme to receive treatment.
1519
Apr.LombardyIn Mantua for the funeral of his father-in-law, Francesco Gonzaga.
1520
MayVenetoIn Venice with the new Marquis of Mantua, Federico Gonzaga (Federico Gonzaga), to attend the celebrations associated with the “Marriage of the Sea”.
1521
Jan.Lombardy, VenetoFederico Gonzaga is led by the pontificals; therefore, Francesco Maria della Rovere must leave Mantua. He seeks asylum with the Venetians; he is found in Padua and Venice where he stays in the palace of his friend Domenico Zorzi. He obtains permission from the Council of Ten to reside in the Venetian territory.
JulyFranceEmpire, ChurchEmiliaThe French grant him an annual stipend of 3000 scudi; he offers to occupy Modena and Reggio Emilia on their behalf, to the detriment of the pontificals.
Sept.Veneto, EmiliaIn Venice. Along with Lautrec and the Venetians under Teodoro da Trivulzio, he moves to assist Parma, which is besieged by Prospero Colonna and the Marquis of Pescara, Ferdinando d’Avalos. He is noted at the camp of Fontanelle and that of San Secondo Parmense; he participates in the war councils where decisions are made on how to provide assistance to Lescun. He enters Parma with Marcantonio Colonna and Pietro Navarro to conduct an inspection of the state of its defensive works.
Oct.LombardyHe harasses the Imperial troops who have crossed the Po at Brescello. He reaches the Torreselle bridge near Casalmaggiore.
Nov.EmiliaHe enters the territory of Ferrara to attempt some diversionary actions against the pontificals; with the fall of Milan into the hands of the adversaries, he moves to Ponte San Pietro and Palazzolo sull’Oglio with Lautrec, Colonna, Navarro, and the general purveyor Andrea Gritti to explore possible joint initiatives.
Dec.Comp. venturaChurch, FlorenceVeneto, Emilia, Romagna,  Marche, UmbriaPope Leo X dies. Francesco Maria della Rovere travels to Verona and Ferrara. He soon leaves the latter city at the head of 200 lances, 300 light cavalry, 5000 infantry, and 7 pieces of artillery that are lent to him by Alfonso d’Este; he passes through Argenta and Lugo. He encounters no obstacles in his march and in just four days takes possession of the Duchy of Urbino; with the same ease, Pesaro falls, he enters Fabriano, and expels Giovanni Maria da Varano from Camerino to place his nephew Sigismondo da Varano there. Along with Malatesta and Orazio Baglioni, he heads towards Perugia.
1522
Jan.Exiles, Comp. venturaSiena, Church, FlorenceUmbria, Tuscany, MarcheWith the Baglioni and Camillo Orsini, he surprises Alessandro Vitelli at Civitella d’Arno, captures Ponte Val di Ceppi; he reaches Ponte San Giovanni and Bastia Umbra while in Perugia, Gentile Baglioni, Guido Vaina, and Vitello Vitelli are reinforcing (120 lances, 200 light cavalry, and 2500 infantry). He encamps at the convent of San Domenico; the city is attacked from Borgo San Pietro, Porta Sole, and Porta Borgna through a bombardment carried out with 7 pieces of artillery. The silencing of the enemy cannons is followed by a prolonged six-hour assault which is initially repelled. The resistance is finally overcome due to the carelessness of Vitelli, who, wounded in the right foot by a harquebus shot, takes advantage of the night to retreat to Città di Castello for treatment. His decision demoralizes the defenders. Malatesta and Orazio Baglioni are able to enter Perugia.
Della Rovere then promptly sets off with Camillo Orsini and the former bishop of Sovana, Lattanzio Petrucci, towards Siena at the head of a makeshift army of 7000 infantry: the goal is to oust Cardinal Raffaele Petrucci from the lordship of the city. He confronts Guido Vaina in Val d’Arbia, demands 30000 ducats from the Sienese and a change of city government; he obtains 24000 ducats useful for paying his men. He quickly leaves the territory due to a heavy snowfall and the anticipated arrival of Giovanni dei Medici with 2000 Swiss infantry from the canton of Bern and 400 light cavalry. He heads towards Orvieto and raids 4000 heads of livestock; he goes to Esanatoglia to provide assistance in Camerino to his nephew.
Feb.Umbria, Romagna, MarcheHe stops in Gubbio and has four cannons delivered to him by the Perugians, which he returns to Malatesta Baglioni the following month; he takes possession of the fortress of Pesaro upon the accidental death of the castellan Filippo Strozzi; he bursts into Montefeltro and reoccupies all his ancient territories with the exception of the fortresses of San Leo and Maiolo. He moves to Montecopiolo, Monte Cerignone, and Sassocorvaro.
Mar.FlorenceGeneral captainMarcheThe College of Cardinals intervenes; he is restored to the Duchy of Urbino except for Maiolo and San Leo, which remain with the Florentines. Florence grants him a command of 200 lances for one year of firm service and one year of approval; the annual salary is set at 100,000 scudi.
Apr.FlorenceComp. venturaTuscanyHe is tasked with countering Renzo di Ceri and the Cardinal of vVolterra, Francesco Soderini, who have attacked the lands of Florence and Siena.
MayMarcheHe uncovers a plot devised against him by the Florentines who, under the pretext of officially confirming him in his position, invite him to the capital to poison him: as a logical consequence, he refuses to leave Urbino and abandons his command.
Dec.MarcheHe convinces Pandolfo Malatesta to cede Rimini to the Malatesta family. He provides him with a safe-conduct to travel to Rome.
1523
Jan. – Mar.Marche, LazioHe falls seriously ill; once recovered, he travels to Rome with 200 horses to urge the new Pope Adrian VI to invest him with the Duchy of Urbino. In the city, he stays at the Palazzo di San Marco with Cardinal Grimani. The Pope absolves him from ecclesiastical censures and confers upon him the dignity of Prefect of Rome.
Aug.VeniceGeneral GovernorMarcheHe sends ambassadors to Venice; he runs as the General Governor of the Serene Republic in place of Teodoro da Trivulzio. After swift negotiations, the Council of the Wise entrusts him with this office for two years of firm service and one year of deference (although the Doge Andrea Gritti wants him immediately as the General Captain); he is granted an annual provision of 30,000 ducats (including 5,000 ducati for his personal expenses) and a command of 200 lances (some of which are paid directly by della Rovere) and 100 mounted crossbowmen. He obliges himself to fight anyone except the pontificals.
Sept.200 lances, 100 light cavalry, 1500 infantrymenMarche, VenetoPope Adrian VI gives his consent to the new command; the Venetians send him 7500 ducats; the cavalry and infantry leave his states and reach Polesine and Rovigo via Ferrara. For his part, he embarks at Pesaro, lands at Chioggia, and arrives in Venice. He is hosted at San Giorgio Maggiore with his entourage of 50 people; he is welcomed into the College of the Pregadi by the Doge.
Oct.VeniceFranceVeneto, LombardyHe is stationed at Isola della Scala and at the camp of Verolanuova. He meets with his brother-in-law, Federico Gonzaga, to coordinate action in support of the defenders of Cremona; he offers lodging to 800 Este infantry who have deserted from the ranks of Ceri. He escorts them to the Po to allow them to return to their homes in the Reggio and Modena areas. He positions himself in defense of Bergamo when the French cease the siege operations of Cremona and sack Caravaggio. The allies ask him to cross the Oglio and penetrate into Milanese territory; instead, he supports the Venetians’ delaying tactics; he sends 600 infantry and Camillo Orsini‘s company to Palazzolo sull’Oglio and assesses with Giano Fregoso, Mercurio Bua, and Giulio Manfrone the likelihood of success of a joint defensive action. After a reconnaissance at Brembate, he positions the army between Martinengo and Romano di Lombardia; he requests 8000 ducats for the troops’ pay.
Nov.LombardyHe attempts to conquer the fortress of Treviglio. He orders the mills of Lodi to be set on fire, and sends 1000 infantrymen to the defense of Milan.
Dec.LombardyHe dispatches another 200 infantrymen to guard Pizzighettone; he provides Pandolfo Malatesta with a safe-conduct so that he can safely travel to Rome to see the pope. On the war front, he is unwilling to combine his troops with those of the Viceroy of Naples, Carlo di Lannoy. Invited to the camp at Binasco, he stalls, continually citing new pretexts.
1524
Jan.LombardyHe travels to Milan with the General Purveyor Leonardo Emo; he leaves Treviglio with an escort of 200 lances, 50 light cavalry, and 500 harquebusiers; he crosses the Adda at Cassano. He is welcomed by an honor guard of 4000 Spanish infantry; 1000 arquebusiers discharge their weapons as a salute. He is received by the Marquis of Vasto, Alfonso d’Avalos; similar honors are also paid by 3000 Landsknechts. Near Milan, he is met by the Viceroy of Naples, Carlo di Lannoy, Duke Francesco Sforza, and the Marquis of Pescara, Ferdinando d’Avalos. In Milan, he lodges with Daniele Emo in the palace of Dario Botta. He agrees to unite the papal army and the Venetian army at Binasco.
Feb.LombardyHe crosses the Adda with 600 lances, 800 light cavalry, and 6000 infantry to link up in the Pavese with the Imperial forces (1600 lances, 1500 light cavalry, 7000 Spanish infantry, 12000 Germans, and 1500 Italians). From Binasco, he crosses the Ticino and scouts the terrain towards Vigevano and Mortara with Ferdinando d’Avalos and Fernando Alarcon with 800 cavalry and 800 harquebusiers. He camps at Casorate Primo; he clashes with the Constable of Bourbon, whose objective is to attack Vigevano; he supports the positions of Ferdinando d’Avalos, Ugo de Moncada, and Antonio di Leyva to defend Milan first and then take action. The decision is made to attack Garlasco and Mortara to cut off the French supply lines.
Mar.LombardyHe moves his camp to Tromello while the Imperial forces establish their quarters in Gambolò; he proceeds to Lacchiarella; he sends Carlo da Gubbio with 2000 infantry and eight pieces of artillery against Garlasco, which is defended by 600 infantry (including 400 Italian infantry under the command of Battistino Corso and Girolamo Mattei and 300 light cavalry). 150 Venetian light cavalry clash with 150 French arquebusiers; the skirmish ends with the killing of 30 infantry and the capture of the remainder. Three assaults are launched by the infantry on Garlasco; with the wounding of Carlo da Gubbio, della Rovere personally leads the general attack, which concludes with the massacre of the defenders. On this occasion, such rivalry arises between his men and those of Giovanni dei Medici that the infantry hurriedly push against each other. The men at the front of the lines are pushed by those behind into the castle moat, where many drown due to the weight of their armor, like the Perugian Baldassarre Signorelli or the Paduan Girolamo Angeli. Disturbed by the bloodshed at Garlasco, della Rovere does not wish to follow the Imperials in the storming of Mortara; he prefers to maintain a lower profile by engaging in territory cleansing actions through frequent skirmishes with opponents. He reaches Occhiobianco and heads towards Gambolò; his light cavalry surprise at Scaldasole 80 lances and 150 light cavalry led by Pirro Gonzaga da Bozzolo.
Apr. – MayLombardy, PiedmontAt Covo and Casalino, he is praised by the Council of the Wise for his prudence. He then moves on a reconnaissance mission towards Vercelli with Mercurio Bua, Camillo Orsini, Luigi Gonzaga, and Farfarello; he suffers some losses from French harquebusiers. He is at Casalbeltrame when the opponents are reinforced by 5000 infantry and 50 Savoyard cavalry sent by the Duke of Savoy; he joins the Imperials in the Battle of Romagnano Sesia. He harasses the retreating French with light cavalry after they have left the field at Ghemme to ford the river. With the victory, he follows the allies beyond the Agogna to prevent Novara from receiving supplies from the Swiss. Later, he stops at Casale Monferrato to visit the Marchioness; he continues to Lodi where he sends Luigi Gonzaga ahead to persuade Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo to surrender under terms. He also meets with this captain and convinces him to surrender under terms to Federico Gonzaga.
JuneLombardy, Piedmont, VenetoThe artillery of Lodi is left to him, which he turns over to the Duke of Milan for 14,000 ducats; he also commits to escorting Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo to Vercelli and Turin. On his return, he passes through Crema, Brescia, Mantua, and Verona, and heads to Venice with his entourage of 60 people. He arrives at Fusina and is transported by sea to the Fondaco dei Tedeschi where he is welcomed by the Doge; he boards the Bucintoro with Andrea Gritti who accompanies him to his lodgings. A daily expenditure of 80 ducats is allocated for his expenses. Days later, he visits San Marco; he is received at the entrance of the Ducal Palace by the Doge, accompanied by various ambassadors and many commanders such as Giano Fregoso, Camillo Orsini, Giulio Manfrone, Mercurio Bua, and Luigi Gonzaga. In the church of San Marco, he is presented with the banner and the baton, symbols of command.
JulyVeneto, MarcheHe embarks at Chioggia. He heads to Pesaro to reach his sick wife.
Sept.LombardyIn Brescia, where he is hosted by the Suardi family.
Oct.VenetoThe French threaten Lombardy. He is given money to raise 1200 infantrymen; he is called to Padua and given a residence in Prato della Valle (Cà Venier), where Bartolomeo d’Alviano has also resided in the past. He is then noted in Venice; in quick succession, he passes through Padua, Verona, Lonato, and Brescia where he is welcomed at Sant’ Eufemia by Captain Francesco Foscari.
Nov.LombardyIn Crema and Soncino, where he has a meeting with Carlo di Lannoy and Francesco Sforza. In Iseo.
Dec.LombardyHe meets with the Constable of Bourbon who is on his way to Austria; he then goes to Chiari for a meeting with the Viceroy of Naples. In Brescia, for the baptism of a son of the city’s podestà, Antonio Suriano.
1525
Jan.LombardyHe has new meetings with the Constable of Bourbon, returning from Innsbruck with 70 horses. He escorts him from Brescia to the Mella River.
Feb.Veneto, LombardyHe is joined in Padua by his wife. He attends a joust in Brescia.
Mar.Lombardy, VenetoFollowing the defeat of the French at Pavia, he urges the Venetians to form an alliance of all Italian states against the imperial forces. He leaves Brescia and heads to Padua (where his wife is unwell). In Venice, at the Collegio: he advocates for the recruitment of lances and infantry to have at his disposal 1000 men-at-arms and 10,000 infantry. He delivers 3000 ducats to the Imperials to contribute to the ransom payment for Federico Gonzaga da Bozzolo, who was captured in the battle of Pavia/Mirabello.
MayLombardy, VenetoThe Venetians prevent him from leaving Brescia to inspect the borders on the Polesine; he receives Saint-Pol in the city, who fled from Pavia after being captured in the famous battle; he convinces him to take refuge with the Grisons. In Padua.
June – JulyVenetoIn Venice with his wife. He is hosted at the Giudecca at Cà Trevisan, belonging to the Patriarch of Aquileia, Marino Grimani. In July, he hosts a lunch and a dance for his friends. He then moves to Verona with the General Purveyor Piero Pesaro.
Sept.Veneto, LombardyIn Rovigo and Padua, where he makes modifications to the line of some bastions originally constructed under the direction of Bartolomeo d’Alviano and Teodoro da Trivulzio. In Brescia. He sends his own ambassador to Milan to visit Duke Francesco Sforza, who is ill.
Oct.LombardyHe inspects the works to strengthen the defensive structures of Crema with the assistance of Camillo Orsini, Giulio Manfrone, Antonio Maria da Martinengo, and Alberto Scotti. He stops in Legnago for the same reason and participates in a war council in Verona. In the same city, he utilizes the expertise of Pietro Francesco da Viterbo for the design of the Maddalene bastion. He conducts some troop movements towards Crema and Bergamo, requests money for pay, and applies new pressures for the enlistment of additional militias.
1526
Jan.LombardyIn Marmirolo.
Feb.VenetoHe returns to Legnago to monitor the progress of the planned works.
Mar. – Apr.LombardyHe oversees, with the purveyor Piero Pesaro, the ongoing works in Brescia from the gate of Sant’ Alessandro to Canton Mombello. He is then noted in Crema and Asola. He insists that the troops’ wages be paid regularly (there is a one-month delay).
MayVenetoHe inspects the fortifications of Padua, whose works are conducted under the direction of Pietro Francesco da Viterbo. He introduces the innovation of the polygonal bastion into the city walls. Della Rovere himself designs five new bastions; within a few years, the update of the northwestern sector of the city walls, which includes the two gates entrusted to the architect Giovanni Maria Falconetto, will be completed. Feeling unwell, he stops in Verona.
JuneVeniceEmpireGeneral captainLombardyIn Brescia, he is appointed General Captain; 20,000 ducats are handed over to him for initial necessities; he has a meeting with Piero Pesaro. He takes this opportunity to request the enlistment of 10,000 infantrymen. He moves towards the Adda with his men-at-arms and 6,000 Italian infantry to liberate Duke Francesco Sforza of Milan, who is besieged by the Imperials in the Sforzesco Castle. He stops at Chiari where he is joined by Roberto Boschetti with whom he establishes the methods for the coordination of Venetian and Papal forces. Under his command are predominantly newly enlisted soldiers, so he feels reluctant to attack the veteran Spanish troops and the Landsknechts; he prefers to wait for the arrival of at least 5,000 Swiss infantry, who are supposed to be led by Gian Giacomo dei Medici.
Differences on the strategic conduct of the campaign begin to surface with the commissioner Francesco Guicciardini: one side, eager to conduct the campaign with utmost speed, proposes that the armies immediately attack Milan; the other, led by della Rovere, opts to bide time. He waits for the Swiss and aims to seize various Lombard cities to isolate Milan. In this vein, he sends Malatesta Baglioni to conquer Lodi; crosses the Oglio at Urago and the Adda; leads the army to Lodi; from there, he moves to the camp at Melegnano where 20,000 infantry (including 10,000 from the Papal States) camp along with 8,000 harquebusiers and arquebusiers, 1,500 lances, an equal number of light cavalry, and a large quantity of artillery.
The defense of Milan comprises a few cavalry, 3,000 Germans, and 5,000-6,000 Spaniards who are low on funds and supplies. Della Rovere is compelled by the allies to move the camp to San Donato Milanese; on his part, he proactively requests funds from the Venetians, at least 58,000 ducats per month to prepare for any eventuality.
July200 lances, 200 light cavalryLombardyAt San Donato Milanese, Della Rovere is joined by an initial contingent of 1,000 Swiss troops; he moves to San Martino where another 500 Swiss infantry led by Cesare Gall join his forces. He then heads towards Porta Romana and camps between Buffalora and Pilastrello where the ditches are filled with earth and the defenses leveled: meanwhile, Alfonso d’Avalos and Antonio di Leyva are reinforced by 800 Spanish infantry arriving from Genoa with the Constable of Bourbon (who has switched to the opposing side), bringing with him 100,000 ducats for back pay.
Della Rovere orders his arquebusiers to attack Porta Romana and Porta Tosa; other captains, however, believe it would be better to focus on the trenches surrounding the Sforzesco Castle. He encounters stronger resistance than anticipated (40 killed) and thus settles for bombarding Porta Romana from a distance with three cannons: during the night, some Spanish infantry are repelled by the Italians guarding the artillery. He uses this assault as a pretext to retreat (claiming the Italian infantry are cowardly) and moves the camp back to Melegnano. In the stormy meeting held before this decision, Piero Pesaro questions how an army of 25,000 men, including service personnel, can be repelled by one of 7,000/8,000 men who have almost always lost in recent skirmishes; the General Captain’s view is more or less openly supported among the Venetians by Malatesta Baglioni, Antonio da Castello, Camillo Orsini, among the Papal forces by Vitello Vitelli and Guido Rangoni; the only opposition is from Giovanni dei Medici. Della Rovere sends Luigi Gonzaga to Venice to justify the conduct maintained. This is understood by the authorities of the Serenissima such that they increase his command by 100 light cavalry.
Meanwhile, another 5,000 Swiss infantry and 500 from other nationalities reach the camp; even with these troops available, Della Rovere feels unable to go on the offensive. Meanwhile, the Imperial defenders of Milan are able to repair the counter-ditches that encircle the outer walls and receive new reinforcements from the Constable of Bourbon. When the defenders of the Sforzesco Castle, now at their limit, allow more than 300 people including wounded infantry, women, and children to leave, Della Rovere decides to move closer to Milan with Guido Rangoni. He positions himself at Segrate and encamps between the Abbey of Casoretto and Lambrate in front of Porta Renza and Porta Tosa. He occupies Monza, where there are 100 Neapolitan infantry in the fortress; he delays any action to assault the enemy trenches until Francesco Sforza surrenders and takes refuge in Lodi. At Melegnano, he is also joined by 1,160 Landsknechts led by Michael Gaismair.
Aug.LombardySend Malatesta Baglioni and Camillo Orsini to conquer Cremona with 5,000 infantry and 300 light cavalry. He moves to Soncino and the camp at Lambrate. He actively works towards a reconciliation between Guido Rangoni and Giovanni de’ Medici; he falls ill. As soon as he recovers, he personally follows the siege of Cremona with 50 lances and his infantry colonel.
Sept.LombardyHe besieges Cremona, attempting to capture the city not so much through infantry assaults (as previously tried by Malatesta Baglioni) but with the work of 2,000 sappers, a true artillery park, and a strict interception of provisions intended for the city. He concentrates efforts against a single bastion at the Porta di San Luca, anticipating by a century the strategy of Vauban. He demands surrender through a trumpeter and prepares the militias for a general attack: the defenders surrender at the end of the month. The German infantry may return to Germany, the Spanish to the Kingdom of Naples, and all are committed not to take up arms again for a period of four months; artillery and munitions remain in the city. With the victory, he quells a brawl between Italian and Swiss infantry; he meets with Federico Gonzaga from Bozzolo, who comes from Crema and heads to Castel Goffredo where his wife resides.
Oct.LombardyAt the camp at Lambrate, he acts to appease Giovanni de’ Medici, who is angered by the delay in pay; he meets with Piero Pesaro and the prosecutor Alvise Pisani; he presses for Federico Gonzaga from Bozzolo to be given command of all the infantry. He again intervenes in the ongoing tensions between the Italians and Swiss, and has Bernardino da Roma detained for some time. He always adheres to his cautious line; he does not send the 4,000 infantry requested by Andrea Doria and Navarro to Genoa, despite the fact that his forces are being reinforced by 500 French lances and 6,000 infantry (2,000 Grisons) led by Michelantonio di Saluzzo.
Nov.LombardyAt Pioltello, he builds a pontoon bridge across the Adda to attack Trezzo sull’Adda. Upon hearing of the arrival of 13,000 / 14,000 German infantry (the Landsknechts) led by Georg Frundsberg, he abandons any plan to send troops to Genoa; under pressure from the Venetians, he directs numerous troops towards Brescia, Bergamo, the Veronese, and the Vicentine areas to block their march. In agreement with Giovanni de’ Medici, he leaves the Marquis of Saluzzo at Vaprio d’Adda with 10,000 infantry (5,000 Swiss, 2,000 Grisons, 3,000 French), 400 Venetian lances, and 500 French lances to monitor the Spaniards in Milan; Francesco Maria della Rovere instead with the men of the Black Bands (12,000 infantry, 600 lances, and many light cavalry) decides to counter the Landsknechts. He departs from Gorgonzola; his march is delayed due to transport difficulties associated with the artillery tow; he passes through Treviglio, Soncino, Pralboino, Castellucchio; he arrives late at Borgoforte to meet with Medici and blames Piero Pesaro for this delay. However, he refuses to cross the Po, asserting that he must have specific consent from the Senate; he moves to Mantua to visit Medici, who was mortally wounded at Governolo in a clash with opponents.
Dec.Lombardy, VenetoIn Mantua for the funeral of Giovanni de’ Medici. He then travels to Venice; in the Collegio, with the aid of the testimony of Giovanni Naldi, he criticizes the actions against the Landsknechts taken by Camillo Orsini and Cesare Fregoso; conversely, he is reprimanded by the Duke of Milan for his withdrawal from Milan and the abandonment of Monza. He is ordered not to cross the Po and to return to the camp at Vaprio d’Adda. He stops at Borgoforte to punish some soldiers who had engaged in looting in the Mantuan area; he moves to Pontevico and aims for Treviglio and Soncino. At this location, he has a meeting with Malatesta Baglioni and Ugo Pepoli as a representative of the Marquis of Saluzzo: he tries to convince the French allies to remain in Lombardy rather than move to Emilia, as requested for the Papal States by Guicciardini, and to simultaneously harass the enemies. With Pietro Francesco da Viterbo, he stops between Crema and Bergamo; visits Orzinuovi and decides to transform the village near the Oglio into a modern fortress. He then proceeds to Bergamo where he lodges in the village of Sant’Antonio. He orders the construction of 4 earthen bastions supervised by Pietro Francesco da Viterbo (one bastion at the house of Colombina, one in the Borgo Santa Caterina, a third in Borgo Palazzo, and a fourth under Monte delle Brugne). Houses are demolished and trees cut within a mile radius from the city walls. The main objective of the fortification plan prepared by della Rovere is the defense of the city’s productive area.
1527
Jan.LombardyHe continues in his requests to justify his inactivity: 1,000 sappers, gunpowder, regular payment of wages, 4,000 Landsknechts to replace the Italian and Swiss infantry. In Venice, for this reason, he is accused by Alvise Pisani of dismissing the old captains in the service of the Serenissima for others of his own trust and, in particular, of neglecting Babone Naldi. He goes to Lodi upon hearing of a treaty held by two squad leaders to deliver the city to the Imperial forces. His hesitations continue, now due to the security of his states: the Council of the Wise finally authorizes him to cross the Po while Pope Clement VII places the Duchy of Urbino under his protection. Spaniards and Landsknechts following the Constable of Bourbon move into the Val di Nure; they arrive at Borgo San Donnino (Fidenza) where they find themselves without money, provisions, or munitions: the Venetians grant della Rovere full discretion. He reaches Pontevico with 600 lances, 8,000 infantry, 500 light cavalry, and fourteen cannons; he heads to Chiari; mid-month he touches Casalmaggiore to build a bridge over the Po; in this place, he holds a council of war with the Marquis of Saluzzo, Guicciardini, and the general provider Domenico Contarini. It is established that the Papal and French forces should precede the enemies, providing for the defense of the cities and fortresses approached by the opponents in turn; the Venetians, instead, were to follow them in order to cut off their supply routes. Della Rovere moves to Mantua; he is recalled by the Council of Ten, returns to the camp satisfied with some of his requests.
Feb.Emilia, LombardyHe is in Parma, conquers Busseto; blocked by an attack of gout, he returns to Casalmaggiore; at Gazzuolo to receive treatment. Chased by the reproaches of Guicciardini and the Pope, he reaches Modena: the Spaniards and Landsknechts have the opportunity to act almost undisturbed on the road to Bologna.
Mar.Emilia, LombardyHe requests the enlistment of new troops (4,000 Swiss and 2,000 Germans); he reassures the Venetians by focusing not so much on a military victory as on the difficulties that are afflicting their opponents. His men halt at the Secchia; he reaches Luzzara and by mid-month arrives at San Faustino where he links up with Malatesta Baglioni; he sends Giovanni Naldi and Farfarello to reconquer Busseto; still convalescent, he visits Fabbrico and Valverde where he stays for several days. With the establishment of an eight-month truce between the Pope and the Viceroy of Naples, he crosses the Po at the bridge of Sorbolo and returns to Casalmaggiore.
Apr.Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia, TuscanyHe leaves this location only when the Imperial forces move from Corticella towards Tuscany; he loses further time sending 2,000 infantry to the Marche to guard his states; at the same time, the Florentines return San Leo and Maiolo to him to encourage greater diligence. From Melara, he moves to Bergantino. He crosses the Po at Bondeno: Babone Naldi and Ercole Poeta remain to guard this bridge. At Cento; via Sasso Marconi, he crosses the Apennines; tails the Constable of Bourbon up to Barberino di Mugello; with the Marquis of Saluzzo, he diverts the march of the Imperials from Florence. He meets with Medici representatives at Olmo Castello; the capital revolts without resistance from the garrison of Pier Onofri da Montedoglio. Della Rovere bursts into Florence and lays siege to the Palazzo della Signoria; Federico Gonzaga from Bozzolo peacefully resolves the sedition: more precious time is lost. The Imperials are no longer caught between two hostile armies; the road to Rome is open to them. Della Rovere sends Guido Rangoni and Roberto da San Severino ahead while he proceeds with his usual slowness. Under his command are 7,000 Italian infantry (including those sent to Urbino), 1,800 Landsknechts, 2,000 Swiss recently dismissed by the Pope and coming from Rome, 200 lances, and 500 light cavalry (60 lances and 200 mounted crossbowmen are part of his company). The Council of the Wise extends his contract for another two years.
MayTuscany, Lazio, UmbriaBold arrived in Montevarchi and Cortona, where he learns of the conquest of Rome by landskencht and Spaniards and the siege of the pope in Castel Sant’Angelo. He moves to Umbria and sacks Città della Pieve, which refuses to accommodate the Swiss: 600/800 people are killed on the occasion. From Orvieto, he sends Federico Gonzaga from Bozzolo and Ugo Pepoli to Rome to assist the pontiff. In a war council held at Isola Farnese, he presents the project of placing his camp in Rome at the Cross of Monte Mario; the prudent theses proposed by Guido Rangoni and Luigi Gonzaga still prevail. The men he has at his disposal are few and demotivated; he asks the Serenissima to provide infantry, sappers, and artillery pieces in such large numbers as to discourage any offensive temptation. He moves to Ponte San Giovanni and issues a decree against theft under penalty of hanging.
June – JulyTuscany, UmbriaHe takes refuge in Tuscany; he stops in Città della Pieve due to the plague that reigns in his camp; Pietro da Longhena and Antonio Ferramolini leave the camp without his permission in order to return to the Venetian states: his reactions are harsh in this regard. At Ponte Nuovo, he has to intervene for the first time to calm the spirits of Michael Gaismair‘s landsknechts.
Aug.UmbriaHe stops in Deruta and asks for provisions from the Perugians; the countryside is plundered by his men. Despite numerous war councils on the matter, he does not confront the enemies; instead, he helps Orazio and Malatesta Baglioni to seize full control of Perugia at the expense of their relative Gentile. He sends some infantrymen to Torre d’Andrea to capture Galeotto Baglioni, brother of Sforza and Braccio; after a brief siege, Galeotto surrenders to terms and reaches the league’s camp to meet him; Orazio Baglioni learns of his arrival and kills him. Della Rovere then sends Contuccio da Correggio to Perugia to stop Orazio Baglioni in his private vendettas; nonetheless, dishonorable rumors spread about his behavior, even when he has a courtier of Cardinal Giulio Passerini of Cortona hanged for mocking verses against him. A captain of the Grisons is killed at the Ponte San Giovanni camp by a landsknecht of Michael Gaismair; the latter shows little eagerness to punish the culprits; 3000 Swiss soldiers prepare for revenge. Della Rovere restrains them; he visits the German captain and makes it clear that not only the Swiss but also Italian and French infantrymen would have attacked the 800 landsknechts under his command if justice had not been served. The culprits flee except for one who is detained; the Swiss are not satisfied. Della Rovere orders 3000 infantrymen in service of the Venetians and Florentines to stand down and calms the situation; finally, he has 2 French infantrymen hanged, along with 10 companions, who murdered 4 Venetian men-at-arms in their tent while playing cards. Giovanni Maria da Varano dies in Camerino; he claims the estate for his family and sends 600 infantrymen to the city, but they are preceded by Sciarra Colonna.
Sept.Umbria300 cavalry and 500 Imperial infantry barricade themselves in the Abbey of San Pietro in Valle near Trevi. He decides to assault them at night with Federico Gonzaga from Bozzolo leading 1000 infantry and numerous cavalry: the Imperials repel some attacks. Lucantonio Cuppano convinces Piermaria dei Rossi, Alessandro Vitelli, and Braccio Baglioni to surrender on terms; the other captains are forced to surrender at discretion. In Orvieto, he quarrels once again with Guicciardini; he blames the papal official for the campaign’s poor outcome, especially regarding the shortcomings in supplying the troops. Under his command during this period are 8000 infantry, 200 lances, and 400 light cavalry.
Oct.Umbria, LazioHe is near Foligno; he leaves the camp with the Marquess of Saluzzo and Federico Gonzaga from Bozzolo to plunder 700 Imperial light cavalry at Monterotondo: the element of surprise is lacking, and the initiative fades. In Narni, where he considers establishing winter quarters, he heads towards Montefalco; the inhabitants attempt to resist. The Bande Nere enter the city and, against the orders of the Florentine commissioner Leonardo Martelli, sack it. Only the house of Lucantonio Cuppano and those of his relatives are spared from plundering; Martelli, for his part, manages to save 200 women of good family.
Nov.UmbriaHe moves around Terni and Todi.
Dic.UmbriaWith Federico Gonzaga from Bozzolo, Michelantonio di Saluzzo, and the general provost Alvise Pisani, he has a meeting in Orvieto with Clement VII, who has just been liberated by the Imperials: he receives a firm invitation to withdraw with the troops from the Papal States.
1528
Feb.UmbriaHe leaves Todi and arrives at Sant’Eraclio: he is commanded to join forces with Lautrec; he refuses, as he has done before, to obey the orders of the French captain. In Spoleto.
Mar.Marche, VenetoHe reaches Pesaro, Ravenna, Chioggia, Padua, and Venice. In Fusina, he is welcomed by sixteen nobles; he goes to the College; he also meets with the Council of Ten. The landsknechts threaten Vicenza: he reaches the location with Antonio da Castello and gathers a good number of infantry to confront the advance of the Duke of Brunswick.
Apr.Veneto, LombardyHe goes to Verona and Bergamo.
MayLombardy, VenetoHe goes to Salò and Brescia (lodging in San Barnaba) to complete the inspection of the defensive works on the western front. In Bergamo, and in Caravaggio, he holds a war council with the Duke of Milan, the general provost Tommaso Moro, the general collateral Giovanni Andrea di Prato, and Giano Fregoso to define the plan to counter 15,000 infantry and 1200 German cavalry. He resolves to defend Bergamo and Vicenza; to maintain a garrison at the Cassano d’Adda camp to repel any sorties from Milan; the rest of the troops must move to the Veronese to respond in case of direct attacks on Verona, Vicenza, and Brescia. In Brescia and Verona.
JuneVenetoHe leaves Verona with 2500 infantry, light cavalry, and numerous artillery pieces to press the adversaries; he moves to Peschiera del Garda, Brescia (guest of Girolamo da Martinengo), and Bergamo. In the Kingdom of Naples, Lautrec has the duchy of Sora returned to him. From Brescia, he swiftly advances to Palazzolo sull’Oglio and surprises 500 infantry and numerous cavalry: he captures 300 horses and 200 infantry with Emilio Marescotti. He besieges the fortress where Sforza Marescotti is holed up with 300 infantry: the arrival of the Duke of Brunswick forces him to withdraw with most of the transportable supplies; the rest are destroyed. He holds a new war council in Brescia with Tommaso Moro and Giano Fregoso; he moves to Crema when Lodi is invested by the adversaries; at the same time, he tasks Annibale Picenardi with controlling the territory from the Po to Alessandria; Roberto da San Severino is tasked with a similar action along the course of the Adda to Cremona; he advises Teodoro da Trivulzio to take a defensive stance in Genoa awaiting the expected reinforcements from France.
July200 lances, 200 light cavalryLombardyWith Giano Fregoso, he requests to have at least 10,000 men, including landsknechts and Swiss mercenaries; only with such troops and the 6000 Italian infantry already under his command does he feel capable of ensuring victory despite the numerical superiority of the adversaries. He is joined in Brescia by Francesco Beltrame, sent by Saint-Pol to inform him of the imminent arrival of the allies. At the end of the month, the Duke of Brunswick returns to Germany.
Aug.LombardyHe leaves Brescia with Tommaso Moro to meet the French; he passes through Orzinuovi and Monticelli d’Oglio, meets with Saint-Pol, and pays the soldiers in Orzinuovi, joining his troops with the allies. He leads an army of 17,000 infantry, 1200 lances, and 2500 light cavalry (of the Venetians, 8000 infantry, 700 lances, and 1800 light cavalry). Antonio di Leyva withdraws all Imperial garrisons to Milan and fortifies only Pavia and Sant’Angelo Lodigiano. Della Rovere moves to Lodi and Abbadia Cerreto, where he holds a war council with Saint-Pol and 12 French captains. The decision is made to cross the Adda and camp at Torretta. In San Zenone al Lambro, with the killing of Giovanni Naldi near Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, he personally leads the attack to avenge his death.
Sept.LombardyHe captures Sant’Angelo Lodigiano and obtains the surrender of San Colombano al Lambro; he moves to Locate di Triulzi. He tasks Antonio da Castello and Annibale Picenardi with assessing the possibility of attacking Milan towards Cascina Scanascio: the outcome is negative. It is decided to strike Pavia, defended by 2200 infantry (2000 landsknechts and Italians, 200 Spaniards) and 200 cavalry. He sends Mercurio Bua towards the Certosa di Pavia with 3000 infantry and begins the bombardment of the city from the castle side. The artillery fire lasts for three days: Pavia is conquered with a general assault in which he personally participates with a pike in hand. Among the Imperials, 500/600 infantry are killed, many others are captured; among the Venetians, there are 50 dead and as many wounded; Pavia is sacked. Della Rovere besieges the castle where Pietro da Birago has holed up with 800 men and obtains their surrender at discretion within a few days: 80 Italian infantry, 60 Spaniards, and 10 landsknechts abandon the fortress with Captain Aponte.
Oct.Lombardy, Emilia, LiguriaThe pay is delayed, and the Grisons infantry mutinies in Pavia; he confronts the captains with weapons in hand. The provost Tommaso Moro manages to calm the situation. He meets with Roberto da San Severino and Mercurio Bua in Sannazzaro de’ Burgondi with Saint-Pol, the latter returning from an unfortunate expedition in the Genoese. He leaves Pavia with Sigismondo Malatesta and Claudio Rangoni with 800 infantry, heads to the Piacenza area, and enters Liguria to aid Savona: the city surrenders before his arrival, and intervention proves unnecessary. The French, Venetians, and Sforzas decide to attack Milan and camp together on the eastern side of the city; he uses his usual delaying tactics by constantly raising new difficulties. The Venetians halt at Cassano d’Adda, the Sforzas at Pavia, and the French at Abbiategrasso: the objective is to cut off Milan’s supply sources from three sides. He is attacked in Cassano d’Adda by Antonio di Leyva, with whom he has numerous clashes.
Nov.LombardyHe is in San Colombano al Lambro, San Martino in Strada, and Crema; meanwhile, the allies are operating in the area around Alessandria.
Dec.Lombardy, Veneto, MarcheHe goes to Brescia to pay homage to the new city captain, Cristoforo Moro. He reaches Padua and goes to Venice, where he is lodged in the palace of the general provost Paolo Nani at San Trovaso. In the College, he advises against attacking Milan, proposing instead to remain still throughout the winter, verify in spring whether it is appropriate to attack Monza or Milan, recruit landsknechts, and requests permission to return to his states.
1529
Jan. – Feb.Marche, Romagna,  Veneto, LombardyFrom Pesaro, he arrives in Ravenna where he is welcomed by the provost Alvise Barbaro. Then, he goes to Chioggia and Venice, where he stays in San Polo at Cà Corner. He is received in the College with Sigismondo Malatesta and Taddeo della Volpe, makes a stop in Padua, and returns to Brescia, where he is forced into inactivity due to frequent attacks of gout.
Mar.Lombardy, Emilia, Romagna, MarcheIn Rovato, the Council of the Sages reinstates him as captain general for three years of service and two years of retirement, increases his salary from 40,000 to 50,000 ducats per year, raises his command from 250 to 300 lances, and from 100 to 200 mounted crossbowmen; his son Guidobaldo is granted an annual provision of 1000 ducats with a command of 75 lances or 150 light cavalry. During the same period, his lands are threatened by the Prince of Orange; without permission from the Serenissima, he leaves Rovato with 40 horses, crosses the Po at Borgoforte, and reaches Pesaro via Sant’Alberto and Bertinoro: the Venetians send him 300 light cavalry and 3000 infantry as reinforcements.
Apr.Marche, VenetoHe leaves Pesaro with only the signature of a three-year contract, which includes conditions similar to those enjoyed by Niccolò Orsini and Bartolomeo d’Alviano in the past: his command is increased to 400 lances. In Chioggia.
MayVeneto, LombardyIn Venice, he attends the College; then he goes to Padua, Ghedi, and the camp at Pozzuolo Martesana, where he has to deal with a mutiny of the men-at-arms. He reaches Crema and joins forces with Provost Paolo Nani and Governor General Giano Fregoso. He meets in Belgioioso with Saint-Pol to devise a strategy to conquer Milan. It is decided to attack the city from two sides; however, he only has 6000 infantry instead of the 11,000 he claims are necessary for a successful operation. In Melegnano.
JuneLombardyA new war council follows in Binasco, where it is found that there are not enough forces for a mass attack; it is decided instead to capture Milan through starvation. At the same time, disorders erupt in the Venetian camp due to the chronic delay in payment; the plethora of inconclusive war councils continues, in Lodi with the Duke of Milan and in Locate Triulzi with Saint-Pol. The French camp at Abbiategrasso, and the Venetians strengthen their position at Melegnano.
JulyLombardyWith the heavy defeat of Saint-Pol at Landriano, he withdraws to Cassano d’Adda; he refuses to come to the aid of Annibale Picenardi attacked in Pavia. He sends Annibale Fregoso to defend Brescia and seeks some minor skirmishes; he leaves the camp with 600 arquebusiers, 200 pikemen, and 200 light cavalry to surprise attack the enemy cavalry; when his presence is spotted by the opponents, he immediately warns Paolo Nani, who is in Cassano d’Adda, to reinforce the camp defenses. The Imperials retreat after suffering numerous losses (50 dead and 40 wounded horses, and the capture of 5/6 captains). The advance of Antonio di Leyva is thus halted: it does not drive the Venetians and Sforzas away from Cassano d’Adda, nor is it able to effectively counter their raids in the Milanese region.
Aug.LombardyFrom Trento, 12,000 German infantry and 1500 Burgundian cavalry with twenty-six artillery pieces descend into Lombardy. Della Rovere moves to Bergamo with Paolo Nani; when the Imperials shift their camp from Inzago to Vaprio d’Adda, he sends 700 infantry to Bergamo under the command of Gigante Corso and Bernardino da Montauto. The landsknechts cause serious damage to the territory of Peschiera del Garda; Della Rovere remains composed and adopts his usual strategy, always inclined towards caution; he strengthens the defensive lines towards Bergamo and Crema and closely shadows the adversaries. He meets with Duke Francesco Sforza in Lodi.
Sept.LombardyHe goes to Maguzzano to monitor the movements of the Imperials. He is reported to be in Gavardo and Brescia (lodging in San Barnaba); he falls ill and is cared for by Girolamo da Gubbio.
Oct.300 lances, 200 light cavalryLombardyHe sends Cesare Fregoso with 3000 infantry to defend Verona.
Dec.Veneto, EmiliaThe conflict comes to an end. He requests permission to return to his lands. He visits Verona and Vicenza to inspect the fortification works, and then goes to Bologna to follow the peace negotiations. He receives a warm welcome from both Pope Clement VII and Emperor Charles V. Of his horses, 500 are lodged in the Veronese, 700 in Brescia, 200 in Bergamo, and 300 in Vicenza.
1530
Jan.VenetoHe expresses support for the dismissal of Roberto da San Severino: he goes to Venice to the College and rejoices with the Doge for the peace. He is again hosted at Cà Corner.
Feb.EmiliaIn Bologna for the coronation of Charles V in the Church of San Petronio: in his capacity as Prefect of Rome, he has the task of preceding him with the drawn sword.
Mar.MarcheThe Venetians do not grant him permission to switch to the payrolls of the Imperials.
Apr.MarcheHe receives Pope Clement VII in Urbino. He falls ill shortly afterward.
MayVeneto, FriuliHis actions in the recent conflict are praised in the Collegio dei Pregadi by former Provost General Paolo Nani. Francesco Maria della Rovere proposes the construction of a fortress in Orzinuovi, the works for which will begin the following year based on his design, and new defensive works in Rovigo. He travels to Friuli for a task commissioned by the Council of Ten, which involves studying the defense of the eastern borders in case of a Turkish attack. He writes the report in Udine.
1531
Apr.He is a creditor towards the Serenissima for 34,000 ducats. His annual allowance amounts to 10,000 ducats; additionally, he enjoys another 2,500 ducats for his plate.
1532
Jan.MarcheHe hosts Ascanio Colonna in Pesaro. He declines the collaboration proposal made by the Pope regarding a study assignment aimed at strengthening the defenses of Ancona from threats by the Turks. Venice is indeed at peace with the Ottomans, and he does not want to provide pretext for a war with his presence. His credit towards the republic rises to 40,000 ducats.
Apr. – MayMarche, VenetoFrom Pesaro, he travels to Venice. He disembarks in Chioggia and is welcomed at Santa Marta by many nobles. He boards the bucentaur at Rialto and is accommodated near the monastery of San Giorgio. Expenses of up to 300 ducats are planned in his honor. He presents himself in the Collegio where he is received by the Doge, then visits Murano. After receiving 10,000 ducats, he reaches Padua via the river, passing through Vicenza and Thiene (hosted by the da Porto family).
June300 lances, 200 light cavalryLombardy, VenetoAt Desenzano del Garda and Verona, he visits the fortresses and receives valuable gifts everywhere he goes. In Montorio Veronese, he attends the review of the men-at-arms held by Cristoforo Capello and at the Campo di Marte in Verona, he witnesses the review of 2400/3000 selected from the countryside. In Brescia and Ghedi, he attends the review of his men-at-arms and those of his son Guidobaldo; in the palace formerly owned by Niccolò Orsini, he hosts Alfonso d’Avalos and Piermaria dei Rossi, who have come to visit him on this occasion. In their honor, he organizes a lance and light cavalry exercise simulating a combat.
JulyLombardyIn Bergamo, he attends the review of 1400 ordinances from the countryside. He then proceeds to Orzinuovi, where, to reduce the costs of the fortress under construction according to the designs of Antonio da Castello, he orders some modifications regarding its purely pentagonal layout. Between October and November of the following year, 5000 ducats will be spent to finance the works related to 5 earthworks necessary to prepare a rampart and lower the stronghold. Subsequently, della Rovere is reported in Brescia, a guest of Gerardo da Martinengo. The Council of the Wise urges him to move to Treviso and Friuli to also inspect the defenses of Aquileia and Monfalcone.
Aug. – Sept.Lombardy, FriuliHe visits Pozzolengo and Montichiari, then swiftly progresses to Peschiera del Garda (dining with Ferrante Gonzaga), Ferrara (guest of Alfonso d’Este), Venice (in Collegio), Treviso with Cristoforo Capello, Udine, Cividale del Friuli, Artegna, and Spilimbergo. In Venice, he is handed 10,000 ducats out of the requested 40,000.
Oct.VenetoHe inspects the defensive works of Vicenza, Padova, and Treviso. In the latter, he has a conversation with Babone Naldi.
Nov.VenetoHe meets in Venice with Cardinal Ippolito dei Medici and the Dukes of Ferrara and Mantua, with whom he sets off towards Montecchio Precalcino to pay homage to the emperor upon his return from Austria and the war against the Turks.
Dec.LombardyHe meets again with Emperor Charles V at Borgoforte before returning to Brescia.
1533
…………He establishes in his territories the so-called Legione Feltria.
Mar. – MayEmilia, Lombardy, VenetoHe is in Bologna to donate two Turkish couriers to the emperor. Then, he visits Mantua and Verona upon hearing the news of 7,000 Landsknechts in the service of Charles V marching towards Germany. He returns to Mantua, then goes to Venice to confirm the news of regaining control of the Duchy of Sora. Following this, he conducts new inspections in Padua, Vicenza, Verona, and Legnago for the reviews of the local militias.
1534
Mar.The Venetians renew his commission for another three years of service and two years of reserve duty.
…………MarcheHe arranges the marriage of his son Guidobaldo to Giulia da Varano in order to incorporate the Duchy of Camerino into his holdings. The immediate negative reaction of Pope Paul III follows.
AutumnUrbinoChurchMarcheHe provides Camerino with provisions and troops when the city is threatened by the papal forces: he sends Costantino Boccali with 300 light cavalry, Battista da Messina, Lucantonio Cuppano, and Antenore Leonardo da Pesaro for its defense. He himself positions at Sassoferrato, where he halts the advance of Giovambattista Savelli.
1535
Apr.VenetoIn Venice, his aim is to prepare the troops of the Serenissima Republic, which are to intervene in support of the Imperial forces against the French in the defense of Milan.
…………CampaniaIn Naples to inspect the city’s fortifications, a request conveyed to him by Charles V.
1536
MayVenetoIn Venice.
1537
…………France, Croatia, GreeceHe travels to Aix-en-Provence to meet with Charles V to defend his claims on Camerino. Then he moves to Apulia and from there goes to Dalmatia to inspect the local Venetian fortresses. He persuades the Serenissima to intervene alongside the Imperial forces against the Turks, overcoming the resistance put up by Doge Andrea Gritti. With the end of the Turkish siege of Corfu, he tasks Antonio da Castello with reviewing its defensive works, suggesting the demolition of nearby buildings and the leveling of Mount Castrate.
Dec.VenetoThe Senate of Venice grants him a palace in the Santa Fosca district, valued at 10,000 ducats, as a gift.
1538
Feb.VenetoHe requests to be appointed as the Captain General of the league against the Turks, which is expected to command an army of 50,000 infantry (20,000 Landsknechts, 15,000 Italians, and 15,000 Spaniards) and 4,500 cavalry.
MayFriuli, CroatiaHe inspects the fortresses along the Isonzo River in Friuli and extends his inspection to Istria, overseeing the roads leading to Gorizia and Ljubljana with Giulio Savorgnano. The purpose of this reconnaissance is to identify the most strategic points to prevent a potential attack by Sultan Suleiman of the Ottoman Empire. Upon returning, he makes a stop in Udine, where he is hosted at San Pietro Martire.
Oct.Veneto, MarcheFrancesco Maria della Rovere met with a tragic end as he was about to depart to fight against Sultan Suleiman’s Turks. He was poisoned by his barber in Venice and subsequently transported to Pesaro, where he passed away at the end of the month. He was laid to rest in Urbino, in the Church of Santa Chiara. A monument to honor him was designed by Genga and completed by Domenico Ammannati.
Leonardo da Pesaro delivered the funeral oration in Venice. In tribute to his memory, the Venetian Senate ordered a bronze equestrian statue, later realized in marble by his nephew Francesco Maria in 1624, which was placed in the courtyard of his palace. Allegedly, some condottieri, including Luigi Gonzaga and Cesare Fregoso, were implicated as the instigators of his assassination.
During his lifetime, Francesco Maria della Rovere expanded the Ducal Palace in Pesaro and cultivated relationships with notable figures such as Ulisse Aldovrandi and Pietro Aretino, to whom the first volume of Aretino’s letters was dedicated. At his court, he hosted Baldassarre Castiglione and the military architect Giambattista Commandino. Niccolò Tartaglia, a mathematician from Brescia, remembered him in his treatise “Scienza Nuova” on the motion of projectiles.
Francesco Maria della Rovere authored “Discorsi Militari,” in which he referenced renowned military architects such as Antonio da Sangallo the Younger, Pietro Francesco da Viterbo, and Michele Sanmicheli. His statue in the courtyard of the Ducal Palace in Venice commemorates his legacy. He was also immortalized in portraits by renowned artists like Titian (in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence), Raphael (“Young Man with an Apple”), Bartolomeo Veneto (in the Accademia Carrara in Bergamo), and possibly Carpaccio in a painting depicting him as a youthful knight.

Sources

-“Non mancavano al duca d’Urbino guerriere doti, né fors’anco valore personale; ma avendo egli preso a imitare Prospero Colonna, ne aveva esagerato il metodo. Egli poneva tutta la scienza militare nel saper accamparsi in luoghi inattaccabili, e nello schivar sempre di venir a battaglia per quanto le sue forze fossero più poderose di quelle del nemico.. ed ostinandosi a non volere arrischiare nulla, all’ultimo riducevasi in stato di perder ogni cosa.” SISMONDI

-“Ma poi che fu fatto capitan generale dell’esercito de’ Venetiani, secondo che richiedevano i tempi, e i costumi di quella prudentissima Signoria, incominciò a temprare l’antico ardore del suo bellicoso ingegno con una util misura di giusta e accorta gravità, parendo a lui che le valorosissime e invitte fanterie delle nationi straniere fossero più tosto da esser sostenute trattenendo e temporeggiando, che provocate con le battaglie..Et però il duca Francesco Maria riputava assai valorosamente et utilmente servire la Signoria, s’egli non perdeva nulla, et s’egli non s’arrischiava punto al pericolo della battaglia, dov’el potesse esser vinto, se non sicurissimo modo d’accamparsi, et con iscaramuccie, scherniva la furia del nemico, se di continuo gli stancava havendo egli bisogno di vittovaglia, e di denari, credendosi che quando fosse stato il bisogno, egli era per dover venire e giornata. Con questi artificj dunque, contra il parere d’alcuni, i quali temeriamente pensavano che la forza delle nationi straniere si potesse abbattere e vincere, con grand’honor di lui si salvò tutta Italia ..Si può credere che con honorato temperamento egli mescolasse insieme la forza e l’espedito vigore del sangue paterno, e la valorosa prudenza di guerra, e la disciplina della bellicosa casa da Monte Feltro ordinata con ottime leggi per acquistarsi grandissimo honore nella militia.” GIOVIO

-“Hercol la mazza, e la spada ti diede/ Marte, e lo scudo da Bellona havesti,/ Et Giove ti dié i folgori celesti/ Onde il mondo per te stupir si vede.” Da un sonetto di A.F. Rinieri raccolto dal GIOVIO

-“Profecto multiplex virtus tua in tot sese partes fundit, ut nullus sit in quovis genere locus, quem illa non occuparit..Ut Italiae militiae jure parens habitus sis.” FOGLIETTA

-“Mars ensem, clavem Alcides, dedit Aegida Pallas,/ Et tibi caelestum tela trisulca pater/ Fulmina seu metuenda manu, sive excutis ore.” Da un sonetto di A. F. Rinieri raccolto dal FOGLIETTA

-“Viziato dalle carezze della fortuna e dalle tenerezze dei congiunti, il rampollo dei Della Rovere diventerà una di quelle tipiche figure di signorotto rinascimentale che sgomentano per l’enorme capacità di efferatezza. Ma Giulio II lo vedrà sempre con occhi innamorati; continuerà a colmarlo di favori e, all’ occorrenza, gli perdonerà tutto: anche la selvaggia uccisione di un principe della Chiesa, che per giunta sarà il cardinale Alidosi, uno degli uomini a lui più cari. E nel 1510, dopo la morte di Giovanni Sforza, staccherà dal dominio territoriale della Santa Sede la signoria di Pesaro per farne dono al nipote. Di tanto affetto sarà ripagato con un tentativo di tradimento; ma ancora nel letto di morte esprimerà il desiderio che a Francesco Maria venga lasciato in perpetuo il vicariato di Pesaro.” FUSERO

-“Questi.. rappresentava l’Italia de’ suoi giorni, snervata dalla lunga disusanza delle armi, e mancante più presto di fede in sé stessa che di virtù militare.” DE LEVA

“Prudente capitano, pede plumbeo..Prudente, pratico di la guerra, di poche parole e risoluto et con pronte ragione, di core grande nel bisogno, homo iusto senza deletarse de altro niente che di guerra o cose dipendente da guerra, siché è un degno capitanio, et per dir le sue parole, naque capitano in le fasse, e dimostra grande amor a questo Stado..Questo signor Duca è picolo, poca presentia..E’ homo di guerra; ha colere, ma è foco di paia (paglia) et amà da li soldati.” SANUDO

-“Dimostrava il Duca sommo desiderio di fare cose grande per servitio della Republica, e haveva inalato l’animo alla speranza, d’immortal laude per virtù di guerra, e veramente grandissima era la confidenza, che haveva il Senato nella virtù e nella fede di lui..Era nel duca molta isperienza della militia, particolare e isquisita cognitione dello Stato, e di tutte le cose della Republica, vigilanza grande nei gravi negotij, destrezza in tutte le suo operationi, animo sicuro, reale, e ben affetto verso l’honore del nome Italiano, e particolarmente verso la grandezza della Republica: rimase però sempre a molti non leggieri sospetti, che nel soccorso di Roma fusse il Duca proceduto poco sinceramente per suoi particolari interessi, e dissegni, essendo poco ben affetto verso la casa de’Medici.” PARUTA

-“Qui estoit homme de guerre.” DU BELLAY

-“Homo in verità ne la arte militar excellentissimo et valentissimo.” CRONACHE BRESCIANE INEDITE-MERCANDA

-“Huomo di grandissimo ingegno e di grandissima giustitia ornato.. Fu humanissimamente da tutti questi popoli (Pesaro e Urbino) ricevuto. Et così pacificamente, e giustamente governò quelli che, mancando lui di questa vita..,non meno fu pianto da essi, quanto se ‘l fosse stato loro padre, fratello, e figliuolo.” ALBERTI

-“Riuscì Principe d’altissimo spirito, nel governo de’ Popoli giusto e mansueto, in guerra coraggioso & esperto.” LOSCHI

-“Fu huomo che in vita sua non stimò cosa più che la reputatione dell’armi; e con gli sudditi suoi.. teneva luogo più da padre che da signore; e nel dinaio fu così puoco acurato ch’apena le monete conoscea nel oro nella valuta sua; fu il suo maggior piacere il ragionar di guerra, e molto del fabricare hebbe diletto..Fu giusto, prudentissimo, coraggioso, riservato e eloquentissimo, huom che senza macchia alcuna sempre visse.” GUAZZO

-“Passò tanto inanzi per le vie della gloria, che per li suoi fatti illustri acquistò nome famoso fra’ Capitani.. Era Francesco Maria di mediocre statura e di volto bianco; gli occhi havea neri e così la barba e i capelli.” ROSCIO

-“Costui riputato al suo tempo per giuditio e per scientia dell’ arte  militare, principalissimo cavaliero dell’età sua, provò tutte le guerre de tempi nostri con molta sua laude..Fu prudentissimo e gravissimo Capitano; e degno di essere paragonato a qual si voglia de gli antichi: percioché venuto ne gli anni maturi, cominciò a temperar l’anticho ardore del suo bellicoso ingegno, con una util mistura di giusta e accorta gravità, parendo a lui che le valorosissime e invitte fanterie delle nationi straniere, fossero più tosto da esser sostenute, trattenendo e temporeggiando: che provocate con le battaglie.”  SANSOVINO

-“Fu Francesco Maria di animo grande e indomabile nelle sventure. Subito e precipitoso nell’ira, era nel primo impeto di quella capace di qualunque misfatto, ma con pari facilità si placava, ed allora il suo animo era disposto a generosità. Allevato tra le armi, crebbe in fama di capitano valentissimo, abbenché non vi siano strepitose vittorie da registrare di lui: severissimo col soldato, voleva da lui pienamente osservata la militare disciplina. Perfezionò l’arte della guerra, inventando nuove armi di offesa e difesa: e ponendo mente all’allargato uso delle artiglierie, si accorse che i fanti cominciavano ad essere più utili dei cavalli. E perciò ammodernò le antiche regole, e si volse a meglio ordinarli e agguerrirli, ne perfezionò gli ordini, li addestrò all’officio di guastatori e al maneggio della zappa e della pala, e prendendo il buono da tutte le truppe straniere ch’ebbe luogo di vedere in Italia, istituì l’ordinanza loro in modo da farne un corpo stretto e impenetrabile. Fu pure gran maestro nell’arte di prendere gli alloggiamenti e di farli inespugnabili: e nelle fortificazioni introdusse un sistema più conforme a resistere agli accresciuti modi di offesa. Fu comune opinione che a lui si debba l’invenzione del baluardo; ma il Promis non è proclive ad accordargli un tal vanto. Dei risultati della sua esperienza e delle militari sue invenzioni ci volle lasciare ricordo in un’opera, certamente non pregevole per ordine e per stile, che fu pubblicata da Domenico Mammarelli in Ferrara nel 1583, col titolo di “Discorsi militari dell’eccellentissimo signore Francesco Maria I Della Rovere duca di Urbino, nei quali si discorrono molti avantaggi e disavantaggi della guerra, utilissimi ad ogni soldato”. Nel governo fu giusto e amorevole, e punitore severo del violato onore delle donne: e ben poteva farlo, perché ebbe fama di uomo casto e temperato. I sudditi lo piansero amaramente: e questo è il più bello elogio che si possa fare di un principe..Uno de’ più accreditati principi e guerrieri de’ suoi giorni.” LITTA

-“Occupava i primi posti della riputatione, perché haveva scorsi tutti quei del valore e dell’isperienza.” VIANOLI

-“Huomo tanto stimato in pace e in guerra.” ROSEO

-“Grande ne fu la fortezza, e si mostrò ad ogni disgrazia indomabile. Due volte perdé lo stato per l’ambizione di una famiglia ingratissima; due volte lo riacquistò; e la sua lunga guerra con Leone X fu amministrata in modo da onorarne un gran capitano. Fu subito e precipitoso nell’ira.. Allevato fra le armi.. crebbe in fama di capitano valentissimo e sapientissimo da paragonarsi con molti degli antichi, inventando alcune armi da offesa e da difesa; e a ragione lui chiama il Guidiccione “viva fiamma di Marte”. E l’arte della guerra, che già prendeva altra forma per l’uso allargato dell’artiglierie, profondamente studiò; e ben vedendo che i fanti incominciavano ad essere più utili de’ cavalli, ammodernò le antiche discipline, e si rivolse a meglio ordinarli e agguerrirli..Fu ancora gran maestro nell’arte di prendere e fortificare gli alloggiamenti e nel rendere sicure le marce..; terrapienò le mura e i ripari, togliendo le artiglierie dalle case matte, e adoperandole nelle piazze e cannoniere scoperte. Nelle lettere non era molto addentro..Non ostante, assai dilettavasi delle istorie..Fu Francesco piccolo di corpo, di grata e virile fisionomia, di occhi vivacissimi, di molta affabilità, e grazioso e spiritoso nel conversare..Fu principe amorevole e giusto, e punitore severo delle bestemmie e del violato onore delle donne.” UGOLINI

-“Anima non fu mai cotanto accesa/ di zelo militar, di vigor puro,/ né più spregiante ogni tremenda impresa./…/ Schifò il repentino degli assalti,/ prese il fugace de le occasioni,/ fé lenti passi de i nemici salti.” P. ARETINO

-“Il restauratore della milizia italiana.” GALLUZZI

-“Non tardò a rivelarsi assolutamente inadatto (al ruolo di capitano generale della lega), per naturale tendenza agli indugi o per costante sopravalutazione delle forze avversarie, al compito.” ERCOLE

-“Uomo illustre del pari per militare sperienza..Personaggio questi a’ suoi tempi chiarissimo per esperienza militare e per le proprie gesta, ed avuto in massima riputazione appresso i Veneziani mercé i suoi meriti singolari e la distinta sua fedeltà. Questi per 15 anni prestò cospicui servigj in guerra ed in pace alla repub., di cui conosceva tanto a puntino le forze terrestri e marittime, le piazze, le fortezze, i territorj che, frequentemente, quando, i padri (i senatori) trattavano di importantissime cose, lo faceano alle consulte intervenire.” A. MOROSINI

-“Diedesi intieramente all’arte militare nella quale divenne celebre imitando singolarmente Prospero Colonna nella scienza delle mosse e gli altri generali imperiali nella perfidia ed atrocità delle private vendette..Egli era nell’architettura militare assai versato, ed abbenché non sia vero che abbia inventati i moderni baluardi, era però consultato dagl’ingegneri, ed il Castriotto confessa di avere da lui imparato a conoscere molte delle imperfezioni inerenti alla nuova fortificazione.. Ingegnere di guerra, nella qual professione ebbe mente e pratica quanto qualunque altro valente..Fu lodato Francesco Maria per esser stato primo ad adoprar la zappa e la pala nelle espugnazioni: primo a terrapienar le mura, primo ad introdurre la moderna fortificazione fiancheggiata, coperta e mutuamente difesa: aggiungo..che a lui si debba l’aver tolte le artiglierie dalle casematte e collocarle nelle piazze e cannoniere scoperte: come pure, che nelle mura di Pesaro siansi, per opera sua e prima che altrove, veduti impiegati i cavalieri non solo per proteggere le ritirate, quanto per difender le cortine, le faccie dei bastioni e batter la campagna: insomma che a lui debbasi la sostanza della moderna architettura militare..Ei fu, ragguagliati i tempi, grandissimo ingegnere e nelle cose sue ebbe concetti vasti e sicuri. ” PROMIS

-“Oltreché abilissimo condottiero, il Della Rovere protesse le arti, il commercio e le belle lettere, al punto che la città di Urbino, sotto di lui, divenne una delle più ricche e fiorenti d’Italia.” PAOLINI

-“Distintissimo capitano del secolo XVI.. Egli aveva fatto uno studio profondo nell’arte della guerra ed aveva introdotto importanti migliorie nell’organizzazione della fanteria e nell’ arte della fortificazione.” BOSI

-“Huomo di grande autorità et di gran consiglio.” ULLOA

-“Fu Francesco Maria piccolo di corpo, con volto grato e virile, e specialmente coll’occhio vivacissimo; fu sommamente affabile e di dolcissima conversazione, ritenendo però sempre una certa non so quale amabilissima gravità e singolar grazia: ebbe natura collerica, ma con molta prudenza sapeva temperarla mitigando sovente, anche in occasioni importantissime, di disgusti i suoi sdegni. Amò generalmente i belli ingegni, ma specialmente i soldati, e fu inventore di molte sorti d’armi offensive e diffensive.” REPOSATI

-“Fu prencipe veramente, nel quale unitesi con maraviglioso progresso le virtù naturali e le acquistate, meritò ben degnamente, che quella età honorata singolarmente da lui fosse a dì nostri, e sia per essere appresso a posteri con gloriosa invidia ricordata e celebrata perpetuamente..Acquistò con una attenta e continua osservatione molti avvertimenti per l’istinto suo naturale alle cose militari, e seppe servirsene maravigliosamente. Di maniera che incontrandosi in tempo appunto, che cessando in gran parte l’uso così frequente e numeroso della cavalleria, e cominciando a stimarsi e valersi della fanteria più che non si faceva per l’adietro; egli per quanto comportò la diversità delle armi e delle offese de’ nostri tempi, introdusse disciplina tale nella militia, modernando gli essempi antichi, che rese le fanterie utilissime in ogni occasione, e spetialmente le Italiane. Perché trovandovi attitudine e prontezza grande, insegnò a soldati primieramente ad adoprare la zappa e la pala per maneggiare il terreno in ogni bisogno, e poi istituì tra loro ordinanza tale che assaltati e assalitori facevano corpo solido come gli Svizzeri, e gli Alemanni; e andavano a gli assalti non meno spediti de gli Spagnuoli..Fu anco felicissimo ne gli alloggiamenti, cosa stimata da lui principalissima nell’arte della guerra..insegnò realmente il modo del fortificare e assicurare ogni alloggiamento. Havendo in ciò principalmente un’esattissima circospettione nella elettione del sito, riconoscendolo per lo più in persona; e veramente ricercandone e confrontando, in modo le relationi co ‘l bisogno suo. Medesimamente nel moversi e nel marciare caminò sempre con prudentissimo vantaggio considerando ed esaminando minutissimamete tutti i luoghi per dove si conduceva, sì per l’uso de’ viveri e delle necessità dell’essercito, come per levare l’opportunità a nemici dell’assalirlo..Fu il primo che per la espugnatione delle fortezze cominciasse ad adoperare la zappa e la pala; e il primo medesimamente che introducesse in quel modo universale della fortificatione che usiamo hoggidì con fianchi e cortine; terrapienando e assicurando le mura e i ripari per le offese particolarmente delle artiglierie.” LEONI

-“Virum solertem et impigrum.” ARLUNO

-“Il quale si dice che era uno signore da ben et homo de gran iustitia et amatore del suo populo.” RAINIERI

-“Non aveva mai fretta.” BRANDI

-“Who became a symbol of sluggisliness and hyper-caution..pede plumbeo.” HALE

-“Esimio capitano di quei tempi.” C. CAPASSO

-“In fama di primo condottiero italiano del tempo.” DE BENVENUTI

-“El quale era uno grando homo de ingegnio alle cose dela guerra per terra in Italia.” DE’ BIANCHI

-“Nel cui servitio (dei veneziani) durò tutti gli anni della sua vita, e con sì felice fortuna e virtù sua, che fuor d’ogni contrasto s’acquistò con gli effetti e co i veri meriti nei presenti, e ne i posteri nome de’ primi maggiori Capitani, c’havesse quell’età, nella qual certamente furono maggior’ huomini di guerra, e maggiori occasioni, e effetti, che in molte e molt’altre delle passate.” RUSCELLI

-“Indomito ed eccellente capitano..Famosissimo nell’armi.” COLUCCI

-“Viribus egregiis, ingenioque potens.” Da un poema di F. Panfili ripreso dal COLUCCI

-“Assai valente Capitano.” CECCONI

-“Sempre inetto e sempre troppo fermo nel suo sistema di temporeggiare che tutto gli faceva perdere.” SANDONNINI

-“L’imperizia e la lentezza fecero del duca di Urbino la caricatura di Fabio il Temporeggiatore.” GREGOROVIUS

-“A noi sembra ch’egli fosse capitano non più che mediocre..Uomo rotto all’ira, inclinatissimo alla vendetta, non aborrente dal sangue.” MARCOLINI

-“Un Quinto Fabio maximo d’ingegno/ uno Alexandro in  arme & un Pompeo/ un Cesaro, un Camillo anzi più degno/ de loro e in guerra questo semideo/ del quale io canto ben che fossi indegno/ io sia nel dir di quello opera d’orpheo/ o ver d’Homero e non del mio sì vile/ in fino e basso in verso e rudo stile/ Quello è quel duca invicto e glorioso/ che di fama e splendor al cielo ascende/ quel principe ne l’arme victorioso/ del quale il nome per tutto s’extende/ quel Francescho Maria divo e famoso/ in cui virtute e cortesia risplende/ eterno honor d’Ausonia e poi di quella/ anriqua e gran città Savona bella.” CANDELFINO

-“La sua strategia e la sua tattica, allora di per sé inadeguate, non sono state altro che espressione delle limitate possibilità della Repubblica..Professionista..dell’arte della guerra, propende ad un uso allargato dell’artiglieria, registra il ridursi del ruolo della cavalleria, privilegia la fanteria che vuole equipaggiata, disciplinata, ben schierata, sì da essere ora cuneo penetrante ora muraglia impenetrabile. A suo avviso dovrebbe essere altamente specializzata, capace oltre che di combattere d’adoperare la zappa e la pala, di farsi, così, anche corpo di guastatori. Non stratega dalle fulminee intenzioni, Francesco Maria, ma, piuttosto, propenso a valutare la guerra come organizzazione, come ordine, come sistema riscontrabile nel marciare, nel campeggiare.” BENZONI

-“Francesco Maria della Rovere si rivelò un meschino, denunciando in maniera netta l’abisso che lo divideva dal geniale Valentino, col quale si era idealmente misurato all’inizio della carriera, tra intrighi di corte e delitti.” RENDINA

-“Avendo preso per modello Prospero Colonna, portava all’eccesso il suo metodo di temporeggiare in un tempo in cui era necessario di agire con vigoria.” CASALIS

-“Per li suoi illustri fatti in guerra, acquistò nome dignissimo di Capitano..Era Francesco Maria di mediocre statura: e di volto bianco: gli occhi havea neri e così la barba, e i capelli.” CAPRIOLO

-“Era di grandissimo concetto, e teneva il primo luoco tra i guerrieri del suo tempo; perché non solo haveva con sommo calore, maneggiato le guerre in casa propria; ma haveva essercitato la carica di Capitan Generale de Venetiani; con l’Essercito de quali si era portato, per tutta l’Italia, e specialmente in Toscana, e a Roma, per opporsi a Borbone, laonde questo Prencipe fu d’eterna memoria, che però gli fu dalla benignità del Senato Venetiano eretta una Statua Marmorea, nel Cortile del superbissimo Palazzo della Signoria, in Venetia.” LAZARI

-“Per la sua troppa prudente condotta il duca d’Urbino era.. fatto bersaglio di violentissimi attacchi. Nel carteggio dell’arch. Gonzaga.. troviamo trascritti voluminosi cartelli di sfida tra i fratelli Alberico e Lodovico Barbiano da Belgioioso, e Federico da Bozzolo: quelli denigratori, questi paladino di Francesco Maria della Rovere.” LUZIO 

-Con Bartolomeo d’Alviano “The Venetians had begun modernizing their fortifications in the terraferma in the late fifteenth century, but the programma was extended and accelerated after the shock of the defeat at Agnadello in 1509. Rwo of their commanders, Bartolomeo d’Alviano and Francesco Maria della Rovere, had great influence over the planning and design of the works.” MALLETT-SHAW

-Nei suoi rapporti con il papa Giulio II. “Despite his good fortune, Francesco Maria grew up to be ungrateful, discontended and disloyal. While Guidobaldo was alive, he was put under his tutelage, and spent much of his time with him in Urbin. He was betrothed to Eleonora, daughter of Francesco Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, and Isabella d’Este, sister of Alfonso d’Este, Duke of Ferrara. The boy was being groomed to take his place among the second-rank ruling families of Italy, but he learned his lesson too well. He identified himself with the interests of his adoptive family, and of his wife’s family, rather than with those of the pope.” SHAW

-“In 1532..his capacity as captain general of the Venetian forced, pronounced before his masters in Venice a series od “discorsi” that summarized what could be considered the Italian military common sense of the time. According to the duke of Urbino, the Swiss and Germans on one side, and the Spaniards and Italians on the other, occupied two different tactical niches. As far as infantry was concerned, the duke considered any good Italian footsoldier equal to any good Spanish one, but added that neither “natione” could do anything decisive without the firmness and shock force of Landsknecht or Swiss troops.” ARFAIOLI

-“Fu egli eccellente Capitano..Più di lui agguerrito non hebbe quel secolo.. Fu la di lui morte sentita con grand’affanno da’ Fedeli, con quanta allegrezza fu festeggiata da’ barbari, da tutti ugualmente honorato per prode.” Dall’orazione funebre di LEONARDO DA PESARO

-“Egli fu imperturbabile sì ne’ prosperi, come sinistri eventi: né li si poté conoscere ove fosse stato più grande o nella seconda, o rea fortuna: di natura piacevole, amato da’ Soldati, adorato da’ Sudditi, verso i primi liberale, a’ secondi indulgente. Non stimò nelle guerre altro acquisto che gloria.” DE’ MONTI

-All’assedio di Padova “Di Urbino il Duca con sue voglie accesy/ Quivi se ritrova con bella adunanza.” CORDO

-Alla conquista di Bologna “Era disposto il prophetin (prefettino) al tutto/ haver honor ala mortal impresa/ o rimaner sul pian morto, e distrutto/ però con cor ardito, e mente accesa/ vedendosi a tal passo esser condutto/ poco curando ogni mortal offesa/ fece ale mura le scale attaccare/ e sopra quelle assai, di suoi montare.” DEGLI AGOSTINI

-“Il manoscritto dei “Discorsi militari” del duca d’Urbino fu tesaurizzato come un bene ereditario di famiglia e letto dal figlio Guidobaldo. L’opera fu infine stampata a Ferrara nel 1583.” ILARI

-“Abile uomo d’armi ed esperto di fortificazioni.” VIGLINO DAVICO- LUSSU

-“La perdita di sì grand’Uomo fu generalmente compianta da ognuno.” ANTOLINI

-Per ricordarlo, nel palazzo dell’Imperiale, nei pressi di Pesaro, è posto il seguente epitaffio “Francisco Mariae duci Metaurensium/ A bellis redeunti, Leonora uxor/ Animi ejus causa villam exaedificavit/ Pro sole, pro pulvere, pro vigiliis,/ Pro laboribus, ut militare negotium/ Quiete interposita clariorem laudem/ Fructusque uberioris pariat.”

-Epigrafe posta sul suo monumento a Palazzo Ducale a Venezia “Francisco Mariae I Urbini Duci/ Reip. Copiarum Imperatori Pisauri/ Erecta a Francisco Maria II/ Posteritatis Orbitate Venetae Pietati/ Commandata/ S.C. MDCXXV.”

-Epigrafe inscritta sulla sua tomba “D.O.M./ Francisco Mariae duci amplissimis belli/ Pacisque muneribus perfuncto./ Dum paternas urbes per vim ter ablatas/ ter per virtutem recipit, receptis/ Aequissime moderatur, dum a pontificibus,/ A Florentinis, a Venetis exercitibus/ Praeficitur, deinceps et gerendi in Turcas/ Belli dum princeps et administrator/ Assumitur, sed ante diem sublato/ Leonora uxor fidissima/ Et optima meritissimo/ Posuit et sibi.”

SPECIFIC BIOGRAPHIES

-G.B. Leoni. Vita di Francesco Maria della Rovere, quarto duca di Urbino.

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Roberto Damiani
Roberto Damiani
Roberto Damiani è l'autore del sito Condottieri di ventura.