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Piero Strozzi: Marshal of France and Spirited Condottiere

Italian CondottieriPiero Strozzi: Marshal of France and Spirited Condottiere

Marshal of France and sworn enemy of the Duke of Florence, Cosimo de' Medici. Opposed to any compromise. One of the most spirited condottieri of his time. Valued more as a soldier than as a captain, due to his lack of caution and propensity to leave too much to chance. More suited to defense than to open field battle. Well-educated and highly skilled in military architecture. His spirited nature was highly esteemed by French sources.

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

The military career of Piero Strozzi, a key figure in Renaissance Florence known for his tactical expertise and leadership.

Piero Strozzi, from Florence. Lord of Belleville, Epenay, Bressuire in Poitou. Father of Filippo Strozzi, brother of Leone Strozzi, and nephew of Piero de’ Medici. Marshal of France. Knight of the Order of Saint Michael.

Born: 1510
Death: 1558, June

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
………..EmiliaHe is noted as the field master of a duel that took place in Bologna on the forecourt of San Petronio between Ascanio della Cornia and the Count of Carpegna.
Mar.Tuscany, Romagna, Lazio, FranceHe is imprisoned in Florence because he is suspected of participating in the nocturnal killing of Giuliano Salviati, a confidant of the Duke of Florence, (his relative) for having made advances towards his sister Luisa. He is interrogated in the Palazzo della Signoria; Piero Strozzi defends himself fiercely against the charges of guilt; he is released under pressure from Pope Clement VII, a friend of his father Filippo, who at that time was considered the richest man in Italy. He asks for permission from Duke Alessandro de’ Medici. First, he goes to Romagna, then to Rome, and finally to France.
1534Increasingly hated by Alessandro de’ Medici, he is declared a rebel along with his father Filippo. Together with other Florentine exiles, he aligns himself with Cardinal Ippolito de’ Medici, a rival and competitor of Duke Alessandro for the lordship of Florence.
1535Lombardy, Lazio, FranceThe papal governor of Modena, Battista Sforza, becomes aware of a conspiracy organized against him by the Duke of Florence. Twenty assassins, led by a certain Petruccio, are arrested and executed. Piero Strozzi is promptly informed of the plot; Petruccio is handed over to him, and he takes the latter to Rome. He meets with Cardinal Ippolito de’ Medici at Itri, where he advocates for the cause of the Florentine exiles. He returns to France; appointed as a gentleman of the chamber, he is given the command of a regiment of infantry. In vain, his father Filippo opposes his choice of side.
JuneFranceEmpire1000 infantrymenEmiliaHe joins forces with Guido Rangoni and Cesare Fregoso at Mirandola. He assembles 1000 infantrymen.
Sept.PiedmontHe supports Guido Rangoni in Piedmont; reaches Racconigi; and takes part in the conquest of Chieri. It is on this occasion that he earns the reputation of a valiant soldier.
Feb.PiedmontHe confronts the Marquis Francesco di Saluzzo. Together with Cesare Fregoso, Annibale Gonzaga, and Giovanni di Torino, he unsuccessfully assaults Barge.
Apr. – MayExiledFlorence1000 infantrymenEmiliaAfter the assassination of Alessandro de’ Medici, the exiles attempt to capitalize on the situation. Piero Strozzi, against his father’s advice, secures 9,000 ducats, leaves Bologna after rallying 400 to 500 men (mostly inexperienced), 40 to 100 horses, and only 100 veteran infantrymen. He is joined by Ivo Biliotti, Niccolò Strozzi, Francesco dei Pazzi, Baccio Martelli, Girolamo Salviati, Benedetto Rinuccini, Iacopo Pucci, Antonio Berardi, Amerigo Antinori, Boccole Rinieri, Lorenzo dei Libri, Spagnoletto Niccolini, and Tommaso Alemanni. They head towards Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro) which, according to the promises of some exiles, should open its gates to them. He crosses the Apennines, passes through Meldola, Mercato Saraceno, Perticaia, Montefortino, Lamoli. Upon nearing Sansepolcro, he discovers that Otto da Montauto had preceded him. Disappointed, he turns towards the mountains. His soldiers, hungry and tired, attempt a surprise attack on the castle of Sestino: the assault is repelled with the loss of 60 men, including Niccolò Strozzi and Moretto Signorini. He retreats; at Belforte all’ Isauro, in the Duchy of Urbino, he dismisses his companions. Receiving money from friends, he wanders through the Marche, Umbria, and Tuscany, passing through Sant’Angelo in Vado, Castel Durante (Urbania), Fossombrone, Perugia, and Città della Pieve; he returns to Rome, still followed by spies from the Duke of Florence, Cosimo de’ Medici.
JulyExiledFlorenceEmilia, TuscanyWith the funds from his father (for one-third of the total cost), the King of France (another third), and the remaining part from the Florentine exiles, he gathers at Mirandola 4,000 infantry and 300 cavalry with Bernardo Salviati and Capino da Mantova. With such troops and other people secretly assembled in Bologna, he enters Tuscany again. He crosses the Apennines towards Pistoia, reaching Montemurlo in the hope that the faction of the Panciatichi led by Niccolò Bracciolini would join with the exiles. However, the latter informs Alessandro Vitelli of everything. Strozzi with Sandrino da Filicaia (600 infantry and 100 cavalry) advances to the walls of Prato. The city, defended by Pozzo and the commissioner Ippolito Buondelmonti, does not rise in favor of the French. Piero Strozzi has a skirmish with the opponents, who capture some of his horses. He returns near Montemurlo with a few hundred men, while the rest of the troops are distanced by four miles due to torrential rain. His father Filippo lodges in the same castle.
Aug.TuscanyAlessandro Vitelli attacks Montemurlo: Strozzi divides his few infantrymen to lay an ambush at dawn for a small squad of cavalry he had faced the day before; instead, he finds himself facing Rodolfo Baglioni at the head of the Florentines. Thrown to the ground, he is captured; not recognized, he manages to escape by swimming in a small river and retreats to Montale. In the hands of the victors fall 4 pieces of artillery brought from Bologna. Upon hearing that his son has been killed in combat or has been taken prisoner, his father Filippo gives up any attempt to escape.
Autumn500 infantrymenPiedmont, RomagnaHe supports Giulio Orsini in the defense of Alba. Forced to surrender following the attack by the imperial forces, he leaves Piedmont and goes to Romagna.
1539LazioIn Rome; he is warmly welcomed by Pope Paul III and all the Farnese family; he engages in long, inconclusive negotiations to purchase Fano or a Perugian castle in the Papal States. That year, he marries Laudomia de’ Medici, sister of Lorenzino, the man who killed Alessandro de’ Medici.
1541VenetoHe is forced to leave Venice with his brothers upon the discovery of a spy network in favor of France.
…………StrozziAustriaFriuliSummoned by the Venetian Beltramo Sacchia, he gathers troops in the territories of the Serene Republic and takes control of the port of Marano Lagunare at the expense of Emperor Ferdinand of Austria, under the pretext of unloading supplies. He occupies the location in the name of the King of France and orders the Austrian garrison to be put to the sword on the orders of Blaise de Monluc. Beltramo Sacchia escorts the German governor’s wife out of Marano Lagunare to collect a bounty that had been placed on her; Piero Strozzi begins the construction of a fort in the port. The Venetians send 2 galleys with Giulio da Montevecchio and many soldiers who chase away the workers and destroy the ships under construction with artillery. Disavowed even by the French, Strozzi negotiates with the Venetians for the surrender of the location; he threatens to also turn to the Turks.
…………FriuliHe sells Marano Lagunare to the Venetians for 35,000 ducats. They send their own garrison there under the command of Alessandro Bondulmer.
…………ApuliaHe concocts a plot to surprise Monopoli with Turkish galleys: this is thwarted by the Duke of Tuscany through an infiltrator who had joined his entourage; Don Pietro di Toledo, the Viceroy of Naples, is informed of it.
…………FranceEmpire200 light cavalryFranceHe gathers the Florentine exiles at his own expense and leads them to the French camp (200 mounted arquebusiers) to join the camp at Marolles-les-Braults, in Burgundy, in the service of King Francis I. With the company, which also includes Captain Bernardo, he fights in Burgundy near Cambrai. According to Brantôme, the Dauphine, his cousin Catherine de’ Medici, believes she could die of joy at seeing such a fine company serving the King of France at Strozzi‘s own expense.
Sept.LuxembourgHe distinguishes himself at the siege of Luxembourg, where he commands a battery; he then moves to the defense of Landrecies. He forces Ferrante Gonzaga to retreat. He occupies Guise and, still with his arquebusiers, while escorting a supply convoy, captures Francesco d’Este near the fortress.
…………LuxembourgHe takes part in the defense of Luxembourg alongside Giovanni Caracciolo. For his merits, the sovereign grants him the fief of Belleville and entrusts him with the command of five infantry ensigns.
…………Veneto, LazioDisguised, he crosses the Duchy of Milan with messages from Francis I; he arrives in Venice and meets with Cardinal Ippolito d’Este; he visits the Pope in Rome.
Apr.FranceEmpireEmilia, LombardyHe tasks Nicola Orsini with marching towards Mirandola with 2,000 infantry recruited in the Roman countryside; Strozzi hires another 7,000, part in the Papal States and part in Lombardy, drawing from his wealth 70,000 scudi. He quarrels with Piermaria dei Rossi, general captain of the Italian infantry in the pay of the French, who remains inactive in his fiefs due to lack of money. After the battle of Ceresole Alba, he plunders Luzzara and crosses the Po at Casalmaggiore; he stations in the Cremonese area, crosses the Adda on a pontoon bridge at Castiglione, overcoming the resistance of two cavalry companies of Girolamo Silva; he strengthens his position at the mouths of the Lambro in the hope that the territory will rebel in favor of the French.
MayLombardy, EmiliaWhen he realizes the futility of any hope for rebellion and the surveillance organized by Marquis of Vasto Alfonso d’Avalos, he leaves Chignolo Po, recrosses the river, and retreats to Piacenza where Pier Luigi Farnese provides boats and supplies provisions to his troops. Harassed by Rodolfo Baglioni and Cesare da Napoli, who bother his rear guard, he joins forces at Castel San Giovanni with the militias that the Count of Pitigliano has led to him from Piedmont.
JuneEmilia, PiedmontFor eight days, the problems of provisioning become more acute. Through Rottofreno, Castel San Giovanni, the Valle del Tidone, and Varzi, he heads towards the mountains of the Tortona area with the goal of linking up with the French at Alessandria and Felizzano. He breaks the blockade opposed by 500 infantry on the banks of the Scrivia with 4 pieces of artillery (200 enemies killed) and descends along the river towards Serravalle Scrivia where he is supposed to meet the cavalry of Tays. Between Serravalle Scrivia and Novi Ligure, he is attacked by 10,000 Imperials commanded by Prince of Salerno Ferrante da San Severino, Prince of Sulmona Filippo di Lannoy, Rodolfo Baglioni, and Cesare da Napoli. Piero Strozzi‘s soldiers find themselves trapped and squeezed between the mountain and the river. His infantry fight so boldly that they initially have the advantage. Emerging from the vineyards where they had positioned themselves, they pursue the opponents into the open countryside only to find themselves without the support of the cavalry, which was unable to keep pace. Here, they are attacked by enemy cavalry led by Sforza Pallavicini, Rodolfo Baglioni, and Sforza Sforza; the enemy infantry also arrives, and it’s a defeat. For Piero Strozzi, the blame for the defeat is attributed to Nicola Orsini and Duke of Bourbon Francesco d’Enghien who did not provide the necessary support from nearby Monferrato. There’s also another version of the clash which sees Nicola Orsini‘s cavalry immediately put to flight by the Spaniards and the resistance of Piero Strozzi‘s infantry on the spot: in the end, 3,000 Italian infantrymen can retreat in order with the loss of part of their standards (85) and all their baggage; many are taken prisoner (including Giorgio da Martinengo) and a thousand of Piero Strozzi‘s men are killed (including Ulisse Orsini and Captain Cazzaloca). The Neapolitan exiles (Duke of Somma, Count of Capaccio) who have been captured and could have been executed, are set free by Ferrante da San Severino; the same fate awaits the Florentine exiles fighting with Strozzi (Marco da Empoli, Caroccio Strozzi, Bati Rospigliosi, and Ivo Biliotti), all released after the payment of a ransom. Piero Strozzi retreats with 400 infantry to Monferrato in areas controlled by the French; he decides to assemble another corps of Italians. With Monsignor of San Celso and an escort of 60 horses bearing the imperial banners (the red cross of the Marquis of Vasto), he crosses enemy lines, reaches Piacenza (where he is always welcomed by the Duke of Parma) and the lands of Amoratto Scotti in Sarmato and Carpaneto.
JulyEmilia, Liguria, PiedmontHe gathers militias in Vignola and other castles of the Modena area; he goes to Rome where he obtains a loan of 50,000 ducats from cardinals friendly to France. He returns to Mirandola to pay the soldiers who, with the help of Galeotto della Mirandola, have again gathered in that location (8,000 infantry and 200 cavalry, practically the same ones who had already followed him to Chignolo Po and Serravalle Scrivia). He takes the route of the Apennines, touches Borgo Val di Taro, and via the Val Polcevera heads towards Genoa without entering the territories; he evades an attempt to blockade by the opponents who, with Rodolfo Baglioni and Cesare da Napoli, continue to harass his rear guard. He falls into an ambush set by 200 cavalry and many infantry, is taken prisoner, and is immediately freed by the rest of his men following closely behind (capturing 200 horses). With this victory, he moves unhindered through Piedmont; through a long march over the mountains, he reaches Alba, evading the surveillance of Giovanni di Vega. The Duke of Somma passes through Rivoli and heads to the Canavese area; now Strozzi and Cornelio Bentivoglio arrive in Rivoli. Upon the payment of 500 scudi, the French troops lodge in Alpignano, Collegno, Pianezza, and Grugliasco where they stay for many days due to heavy rains.
Aug.Piedmont, FranceThe Duke of Enghien and Bolleri, governor of Cherasco, provide him with some artillery pieces to attack Alba. Together with the Duke of Somma, he assaults the place, which is defended by Capino da Mantova with 100/120 infantry. The latter, after a few days of siege, surrenders without difficulty to the French. Piero Strozzi then moves against Trinità, land of Giorgio Costa, known as Monsignore della Trinità and governor of Fossano on behalf of the Duke of Savoy: he also obtains the surrender of this castle after a brief artillery fire. He targets Villanova Mondovì and begins to bombard this location as well. The operations are conducted in his absence by Bentivoglio and Bolleri; some cannons break; an assault on the walls is repelled by the opponents. He goes to Savoy and attacks the castle of Carraio. He returns to Turin; Count Amoratto Scotti and Francesco Cicogna visit him asking for money for the infantry’s pay. A truce of one month is signed between the parties (Marquis of Vasto and Duke of Enghien); Piero Strozzi‘s men lodge in the Saluzzo area in Piasco and Costola while he goes to court in search of money. With the Peace of Crépy, signed in the same month, Piero Strozzi‘s men disband.
…………FranceEnglandFranceHe moves to Brittany to defend Ardres, arms a galley given to him by his brother Leone, and engages in privateering against the English.
SummerFranceEmpire, EnglandFranceHe embarks from Marseille on his galley and joins the French fleet of Jean de Taix. He clashes with the English in the waters of Provence; forces the Strait of Gibraltar and reaches Normandy by sea. Landing there with his troops, he faces the English and Imperials at the head of 8,000 Italian infantry. He comes to the aid of Saint-Cyren-Talmondais, entering it with 300 cavalry, each carrying a bag of gunpowder. The action turns out to be merely demonstrative. In mid-August, Annebault re-embarks the troops for Le Havre.
…………France, GermanyHe gets into a dispute with Piermaria dei Rossi; insults are exchanged by both parties, along with challenge notices. The rival refuses to fight due to recent wounds sustained in battle. King Francis I then sends Piero Strozzi on a mission to Germany to observe the ongoing conflict between the Protestant League and the Imperials. Recognized by the Protestant princes, he is assigned a guard of 500 infantrymen by them.
Sept.GermanyHe is dispatched to the Smalcaldic League camp at Donauwörth to confront the Imperials. He proposes to lend out in his name half a million crowns that the King of France has loaned him; he finds no merchant willing to guarantee this. He is soon disavowed by the same sovereign due to the defeats suffered by the Protestants on the battlefield.
Oct. – Nov.EmiliaIn Mirandola, he challenges Piermaria dei Rossi to a duel from this location. The latter, in November, does not accept the provocation; he also does not fail to renew his insults, reminding Piero Strozzi of the defeats suffered at Montemurlo and Serravalle Scrivia, as well as his rebellion against Cosimo de’ Medici which cost the beheading of many Florentine gentlemen. Piero Strozzi accuses his rival of pusillanimity and cowardice. He goes to Venice and returns to Mirandola where he gathers new troops.
…………LazioPiero Strozzi stays in Rome, always very well regarded by Pope Paul III and the Farnese family.
Apr.FranceEmpireGeneral Captain of the Italian infantryPiedmontThe new King of France, Henry II (Enrico II), grants him the collar of the Order of Saint Michael; Piero Strozzi is sent to Turin in command of the Italian infantry, while the command of the Landsknechts is entrusted to the Duke of Nevers, and to Sampiero Corso that of the Corsican infantry.
Feb.PiedmontTogether with Giovanni Caracciolo and Termes, he is tasked with capturing Marquis Francesco of Saluzzo, deemed too close to the imperial party. He suddenly attacks him at Revello, captures him, and takes possession of the marquisate.
Mar.PiedmontHe has Captains Antonio Mastini, known as “il Gramigna,” and Ludovico da Spilamberto hanged at Revello for embezzlement previously committed in the Marquisate of Saluzzo. The first victim had been an assassin for Cornelio Bentivoglio, on whose behalf he had previously killed Monsignor Filippo Ghislieri in Bologna. This individual is officially executed for having sodomized a young friar. Piero Strozzi is accused of wanting to silence the Bolognese murder to please his friend Bentivoglio. At the same time, along with Giovanni Caracciolo, he imprisons Gabriel of Saluzzo, the Bishop of Aire (in Gascony) and brother of Marquis Giovanni Ludovico, in the castle of Pinerolo because he too had abandoned the French cause for the imperial one.
JuneFranceEnglandGeneral captainFrance, ScotlandHe reaches France with 1,000 veteran infantrymen; he assumes command of an expedition to be conducted in Scotland with the Italian infantry, another 6,000 men comprising Grisons and Germans, 400 light cavalry, and 50 lances. He embarks at Nantes, stops at Brest to load artillery and supplies; at the end of the month, he sets sail from that location with his men, who are transported to Scotland by 22 galleys, 20 ships, and 60 vessels. At Petillit, soldiers, artillery, and ammunition are unloaded in just six hours; Piero Strozzi, along with the royal lieutenant of Aésse, besieges Adigton, near Edinburgh, defended by 3,000 English, Spanish, and Italian infantrymen. Wounded in an assault by a harquebus ball to the thigh, he must abandon the campaign to return to France for treatment. The mission fails miserably due to discord among the French and Scottish captains.
WinterFranceDuring the winter months in France to heal from the wound.
SummerFranceHe is in Paris for the celebrations held in honor of the king; he wishes to participate in a joust. In one encounter, a lance from di Spier pierces his arm. Despite not having recovered from the aftermath of this new incident, he does not hesitate to move to Boulogne-sur-Mer to continue opposing the English.
1550FranceIn Lyon.
JuneFranceEmpire, ChurchCaptain General of the infantryEmilia, LombardyHe is tasked with rescuing Orazio Farnese in Parma, who is besieged by the imperial forces of Ferrante Gonzaga and the papal troops. He gathers, along with Bentivoglio, 4,000 to 6,000 infantry and 500 to 600 cavalry at Mirandola. He enters the Bolognese territory, plundering it, and occupies Sant’Agata Bolognese; through continuous sorties, he keeps the supply route to Parma open. He moves to Sant’Ambrogio and requests provisions from the Este; he raids a large amount of livestock at Gazzo, reaches Mirandola, and also harasses parts of the Modenese with such fury that he is threatened with excommunication by Pope Julius III. He returns to the Bolognese area and, equipped with some small pieces of artillery, bombards the gate of Crevalcore and the nearby tower. The efforts prove counterproductive (with a loss of 80 men, dead and wounded); this prompts him to return to the fortified camp of Sant’Antonio at Mirandola.
JulyEmiliaFollowing the siege of Colorno by Ferrante Gonzaga and Alvaro de Sande, he gathers 8 to 10 banners of infantry (about 1500 foot soldiers) and 200 cavalry and with them reaches Concordia; he then moves into the Reggio Emilia area where he learns of the fall of the fortress into the hands of the adversaries. He decides to head for Parma via the mountain route: with a march of 45 miles, he manages to enter it, catching Gian Giacomo de’ Medici and Gonzaga off guard, who were still stationed under Colorno to block his passage. During the same days, he avenges the capture of Supier by attacking the enemy camp at night: he retreats to Parma after inflicting numerous losses on the opponents.
Aug.EmiliaHe leaves Parma and surprises two companies of Spanish infantry at Montecchio Emilia, who had just arrived from Piedmont: 100 to 150 infantrymen are killed.
Sept.EmiliaHe moves between Reggio Emilia and Rubiera; from there, he reaches Ferrara to meet with some French and gather troops for the defense of Parma.
…………EmiliaFerrante Gonzaga must return to Piedmont due to the attack in that region by Brissac; Piero Strozzi takes advantage of the confusion in the enemy camp, attacks the rear guard, and puts 700 to 800 men to flight. Together with Duke Orazio Farnese, he reaches Montecchio Emilia, Brescello, Soragna, Fontanellato, Roccabianca, and Fontanella to examine the state of their fortifications. In November, he is recalled to France.
Aug.FranceHe moves to defend Metz against the Spanish alongside the Duke of Guise, Alfonso d’Este, and Duke of Castro Orazio Farnese. The Duke of Guise immediately sends him to the king to request supplies of provisions, artillery, ammunition, and sappers.
Sept.FranceHe continues to be tasked with urging reinforcements; he returns to Metz and positions himself in defense of the city between the German Gate and the bastion of the Mozelle Gate.
Oct.FranceThe imperial army arrives under the command of the Duke of Alba and Gian Giacomo de’ Medici (40,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry, and fifty pieces of artillery). Piero Strozzi supports a sortie of the harquebusiers; he positions himself to defend the walls from his trenches to the mills of Scille.
Nov.FranceHe clashes several times with Gian Giacomo de’ Medici, especially when the latter moves the imperial camp to the Abbey of Saint-Clément and Saint-Arnoul. He positions himself in the ditch in front of the Champenèse Gate with 40 pikemen, 150 harquebusiers, and twenty light cavalry to cover the work of the Italian sappers who are preparing a mine; the adversaries approach and are surprised by his counterattack.
Dec.FranceHe participates in a new sortie against the imperial forces; he surprises a contingent near the Hell Tower. The enemies are put to rout. At the end of the operations, the losses of the Spanish are estimated at just under a tenth for the infantry and four percent for the cavalry.
Jan.FranceThe imperial forces abandon the siege of Metz. The name of Piero Strozzi becomes very popular in France.
Feb. – Mar.TuscanyHe meets Cardinal Ippolito d’Este in Siena. The Duke of Florence, Cosimo de’ Medici, declares war on the Republic of Siena.
Apr. – MayFrance, Veneto, Tuscany, FranceHe leaves France; stops in Venice, Parma, and Ferrara to try to forge anti-imperial alliances; on his return, he stops in Modena; he meets Ottavio Farnese in Parma. He also goes to Pitigliano, where he gathers troops to bring to the defense of Siena. In early May, he returns to France without having achieved any positive results, except for a loan of 50,000 scudi granted by Duke Ercole d’Este, backed by guarantees from his brother Roberto and Albizzo del Bene.
JulyIn Rome, the Knight of Malta, Fra Paolo del Rosso, is arrested and taken to Florence on charges of preparing an assassination attempt against Cosimo de’ Medici at the instigation of Piero Strozzi himself.
Dec.LazioIn Rome.
Jan.FranceEmpire, FlorenceLieutenant GeneralLazio, TuscanyDue to the discord that divides Cardinal Ippolito d’Este from the Sienese authorities, he is sent to Tuscany with his brother Leone to fight in the War of Siena. He assumes command in place of Termes with the title of Lieutenant General. For this occasion, the king gifts his men 20 green banners that proclaim liberty with a verse from Dante. He sails from Marseille with 2 galleys, meets Termes in Corsica, and lands at Civitavecchia. He meets with Pope Julius III in Rome and secures an extension of the armistice period for Parma and Mirandola; he then moves to the Sienese area: he hurries to strengthen the defenses of the capital and other major locations. In Siena, he lodges in the palace of Ambrogio Spannocchi next to the Dogana. He demands obedience from all captains as he is responsible for the state’s welfare. This causes a rift with Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, who demands equal authority. Cosimo de’ Medici places a bounty of 10,000 ducats on his head and instructs a broken lance, Captain Orlandini, to organize his assassination with the sending of fake deserters (Camillo da Cesena and two accomplices). Piero Strozzi first leaves the city to inspect the fortifications of the surrounding area still controlled by the Sienese. He is at Monteriggioni. Mid-month, he leaves Siena again; General Commissioner there remains Enea Piccolomini delle Papesse. He passes through Val di Chiana; touches Lucignano d’Arbia, Chiusi, and Monticchiello; then in Maremma; at Porto Ercole, he constructs new bastions. He is in that location when Gian Giacomo de’ Medici suddenly assaults Siena, taking advantage of the carnival festivities, with an attack at the Camollia Gate conducted with 4,000 infantry and 300 light cavalry. Upon hearing the news, he orders the destruction of all Florentine properties in the territory (damage worth 100,000 scudi). He entrusts the command of the troops operating in Maremma to the Duke of Somma (residing in Grosseto) and of Montagnuola to Mario Sforza (based in Massa Marittima). He then returns to Siena at night with a rapid march, thwarting Medici’s action. He subsequently goes to Montalcino and attempts a diversionary action by sending Enea Piccolomini to conquer Pienza. At the end of the month, he returns to Siena. His first act is to have Camillo da Cesena and his accomplices beheaded. Meanwhile, his disputes with the cardinal continue, who is forbidden from involving himself in issues related to city defense. He summons Aurelio Fregoso to Siena and organizes the population for defense. Two Neapolitan soldiers from the Chiaramonte company are hanged at the Torrazzo, discovered negotiating the city’s entry in favor of the imperial forces, while two others manage to flee.
Feb.TuscanyHe meets in Montalcino with the Sienese ambassador Ambrogio Nuti: he is urged to do everything possible to save the population of Siena, especially the women and children, in case assistance from France is delayed or peace negotiations fail.
Mar.TuscanyHe operates in Val di Chiana and Valiano; he sets up an ambush at Chiusi against 3,000 Medici infantry and 400 cavalry led by Ascanio della Cornia and Rodolfo Baglioni. There is a double deal managed by his captain Santuccio da Cutigliano, to whom he sends troops in dribs and drabs; Cornelio Bentivoglio leaves Montalcino to lie in wait. Ascanio della Cornia is captured along with 1,500 men, and Rodolfo Baglioni dies in combat.
Apr.TuscanyIn his Siena residence (Palazzo della Dogana), he hosts the prisoner Ascanio della Cornia. Not all prisoners are treated equally, however. The Sienese demand the immediate handover of Bagaglia from Monte San Savino, captured in the same ambush at Chiusi. Bagaglia is a man-at-arms known for having committed thefts and murders in the Sienese domains, not only under the service of della Cornia, but also previously while in the pay of the French. Bagaglia is on his deathbed due to two harquebus shots to the thighs. Nevertheless, his body is dragged up the stairs to be hanged from the windows of the Strozzi palace. Andrea di Torrita meets the same fate, with a sign hung from his feet declaring him an enemy of his homeland.
Piero Strozzi participates in the defense of Siena with 13 captains and 3,000 infantry; he constructs a fort outside the Porta di San Marco. He sends out 1,500 infantry for a sortie between the Camollia Gate and the Ovile Gate, where they have a significant skirmish with the imperial forces in Val di Malizia: his losses, between dead and wounded, do not exceed 150 men. The bombardment of Siena by the opponents begins.
MayTuscanyGian Giacomo de’ Medici implements a scorched earth policy around Siena, captures neighboring castles one by one, and pursues smugglers of provisions by executing peasants caught in such activities. Thus, four peasants and two soldiers captured in the palace of Vignano are hanged at the Palazzo del Diavolo. This provokes the ire of Piero Strozzi who, in retaliation, hangs four Spaniards previously captured; he also threatens Gian Giacomo de’ Medici that, should he continue this type of policy, he would hang the captured captains in Val di Chiana, starting with Ascanio della Cornia and Ercole della Penna. When Medici erects a couple of gallows at the fort in front of Porta Camollia, Strozzi responds by constructing a similar number in the citadel.
He continues to strengthen the city’s fortifications; he constructs an underground casemate outside Castellaccia near the Torrazzo di Mezzo at night, and also fortifies the Ognissanti Monastery and the Convent of the Angels. He places Gioacchino Guasconi and Saporoso Matteucci in charge of their defense.
JuneTuscanyGian Giacomo de’ Medici continues to wage war without adhering to traditional rules; Piero Strozzi sends 26 Spanish prisoners to the galleys. He escorts Cardinal Ippolito d’Este from Siena to Buonconvento; he orders all bakers to produce, in addition to the usual quantities of bread, also 12 staia of biscuit for each soldier. Mid-month, he exits Siena at night through the Porta di Fonte Branda with 3,000/4,000 infantry, 300 light cavalry, and 100 mounted harquebusiers. The departure is so silent that Medici only realizes it when Strozzi has reached Casole d’Elsa. He takes the road to Pisa; moves between San Gimignano and Volterra; sacks Castelfalfi; proceeds to Pontedera and Cascina where he kills the defenders for the treacherous capture of Teofilo Calcagnini and Tito Tagliaferri; reaches Bientina, fords the Arno at Montecchio, and seizes Altopascio; he acquires the fortress of Montecarlo from Nastagio da Fabriano for money and leaves Gioacchino Guasconi with 300 Italian infantry to guard it. He moves into the Lucchese territory and advances through the Cerbaia woods: the Lucchese grant him passage and supply him with provisions. He occupies Ponte a Moriano on the Serchio, moves into Val di Nievole with 10,000 men (including 2,000 Grisons and 300 cavalry).
He engages in an initial skirmish at Serravalle where 100 soldiers from both sides are killed; many are also wounded. He enters Pescia and can only stay there for a day due to a chronic lack of basic necessities; occupies Montecatini Alto after initially sending Cornelio Bentivoglio to that location; Alessandro da Terni is left to defend the town. He enters Buggiano and Montevettolini.
JulyTuscanyPiero Strozzi hesitates whether to aim for Pistoia, where Gian Giacomo de’ Medici has retreated, or to attack Florence from the direction of Val di Chiana, losing 8 days. Informed of the arrival of new Medici reinforcements from Lombardy (4,000 Italian infantry, 2,000 Germans, and 400 cavalry commanded by Giovanni di Luna), he recrosses the Arno at Montecchio on a pontoon bridge. Medici resumes pressing him with 10,000 infantry and 800 cavalry; Strozzi is still short of supplies and surrounded by enemies. He is reached in the forest of San Vivaldo by the imperial forces, manages to reach Casole d’Elsa despite Gian Giacomo de’ Medici and Giovanni di Luna being only a harquebus shot away, and his men are tired from marching. He turns towards Maremma to seize the wheat needed to sustain his army; the lack of water forces him to move to the hills near the Arbia River.
During the same days, the French fleet, which is to arrive at Viareggio to supply the Sienese with provisions, experiences a significant delay of over 40 days; his brother Leone, waiting for these ships with 3 galleys, is mortally wounded at Scarlino. Days later, Blaise de Monluc lands, sent by the King of France to assume command of the Siena garrison. This captain enters the capital with 10 French companies and Giorgio di Ruckrod’s Germans. Piero Strozzi reaches Porto Ercole, heads to Montalcino, and also returns to Siena via the Porta Romana; he immediately exits through the Porta Ovile and recaptures Serre, Pezzola, Campiglia, Calò in Val di Chiana. Medici refuses to engage and withdraws to fortified positions; Strozzi approaches Marciano della Chiana, defended by 1,000 infantry, and sacks it during negotiations for surrender under conditions.
He spends a few days in Val di Chiana; still pressed by necessity, he plans to pass through Valiano to burst into Arezzo or the Cortona area. He spreads panic in Laterina; reaches Monte San Savino and assaults the castle of Foiano della Chiana, where 150 of his men die in the attack. The defenders surrender and Carlotto Orsini is killed; 10,000 sacks of new grain are found in the castle. Some defenders set fire to the castle’s stores, and in the blaze, 50 Frenchmen die: all inhabitants and soldiers (500) are killed, except for women and small children. Gian Giacomo de’ Medici persists in his apparent inactivity and receives from the Neapolitan 300 lances and other reinforcements brought by Camillo Colonna (3,000 infantry). Strozzi learns that he has been named Marshal of France; he stations around Marciano and engages in numerous skirmishes, often emerging as the loser: in one clash, over 1,000 men die in the two armies, and 200 wounded are taken to Lucignano d’Arbia.
Aug.TuscanyPiero Strozzi must quell a revolt that has erupted in some companies due to a lack of provisions. He retreats during the day to the Scannagallo stream (Lucignano d’Arbia) due to water shortage. Here, he is attacked by enemy companies (2,000 Spaniards, 4,000 Germans, and 6,000/7,000 Italians with 1,200 cavalry); he immediately alerts his men behind a ditch. He has at his disposal a force equivalent to that of the opponents (Italian infantry, Grisons, Gascons, and 2,000 Landsknechts from the Bande Nere). The imperial cavalry engages the French cavalry; the lieutenant of the Count of Mirandola, Ludovico Borgonovo, nicknamed Bighetto dal Campana, flees and takes the rest of the cavalry with him. Gian Giacomo de’ Medici has, in fact, bribed a French standard-bearer with 12 flasks of tin full of gold scudi.
In the cavalry rout, only 5 companies remain by Piero Strozzi‘s side, commanded by Giovanni Gagliardo, Serignac, Barone dei Rabatti, Giovanni Bentivoglio, and Conelio Zobbia. The French infantry is overwhelmed by the combined action of the imperial cavalry and infantry. On the French side, there are 4,000 dead among the Grisons, Germans, and French, including Captain Valleron; among the imperial forces, 200 are killed and 150 wounded. There is also a large number of prisoners (8,000 men); carriages and 2 pieces of artillery are lost; 100 flags are taken to Florence and dragged down the streets.
Piero Strozzi behaves as usual during the day; he dismounts, joins his men, and receives two harquebus shots to the knee and shoulder. He is taken to Lucignano d’Arbia and treated at the convent of San Francesco; he reaches Montalcino with Bentivoglio, leaving Antonio dalla Rocchetta and the Count of Montalto to guard Lucignano d’Arbia. He is blamed for the defeat due to the daylight movement.
A curiosity cherished by cabal enthusiasts notes the coincidence that ties August 2nd to the life of Piero Strozzi: on this date, in 1530, Francesco Ferrucci is defeated at Gavinana, which leads to the fall of Florence; on the same day seven years later, Florentine exiles led by Filippo and Piero Strozzi are defeated at Montemurlo; finally, on the same day, Piero Strozzi is beaten at Marciano della Chiana.
Sept.TuscanyHaving recovered, Piero Strozzi has the Count of Montalto executed for having cowardly surrendered the castle of Lucignano d’Arbia; also beheaded are the lieutenant of the Count of Mirandola and the French standard-bearer, both captured in the Papal States. The latter (on whom Piero Strozzi had placed a bounty of 4,000 scudi) is hanged in Montalcino. He moves towards Siena and, together with the Archbishop of the city, approaches the capital with 8 banners of infantry, about 2,000 men, and 200 cavalry: the vanguard is destroyed in an ambush at the Tressa bridge; 2,000 harquebusiers exit Siena to flank the opponents.
Piero Strozzi manages to re-enter the city with the rearguard and part of the supplies. He orders all non-essential mouths from Siena, including friars and nuns: some of these die of starvation in the ditches, while others are killed by the imperial forces.
Oct.TuscanyThe promised reinforcements from Brissac in Piedmont do not arrive. Piero Strozzi definitively abandons Siena and leaves the defense of the city to Blaise de Monluc and Cornelio Bentivoglio with 3,000 infantry, many of whom are part of the Landsknecht corps. He exits the city with his usual cunning through Porta Romana, Porta Tusi, and Porta Ovile; he leads the troops between Volpino and Fonte Becci and reaches Montalcino without encountering any obstacles. From Pisa, the surgeon Giacomo da Perugia arrives to treat his wounds.
Nov. – Dec.TuscanyPiero Strozzi imprisons the Duke of Somma, suspected of planning to hand over Grosseto to the opponents; he continually moves between Porto Ercole and Grosseto. In December, he is located in Montalcino. At the same time, he increasingly clashes with Cardinal Ippolito d’Este, who is tasked by the king with overseeing French interests in Italy. The prelate portrays him at court and in Siena as an ambitious figure pursuing his own policy in Tuscany, increasingly divergent from the true interests of Henry II and his allies. Piero Strozzi is well aware that the available funds are insufficient and that the defenders need large quantities of provisions, as well as a shipment of weapons and mercenaries, to face and defeat an enemy army currently numbering 30,000 men. A severe famine then torments Italy, hence the impossibility of securing adequate supplies on the peninsula.
In Siena, Blaise de Monluc has at his disposal no more than 5,000 infantry and a few hundred cavalry. Piero Strozzi is proposed the maritime dispatch of a contingent of Grisons and Gascon infantry (1,500 men) and the recruitment of Italian troops: he firmly rejects both for the insufficiency of the aid and the further strain on the consumption of the few remaining provisions. Instead, he requests that Brissac move from Piedmont with his militias. He is accused at court of wanting to leave Siena to its fate in order to personally seize other fortresses. Realizing the danger of these criticisms, he vehemently protests his loyalty towards Cardinal Ippolito d’Este.
Mar. – Apr.TuscanyPiero Strozzi takes refuge in Porto Ercole, where he constructs four forts on the tops of the mountains, plus another on a small island in front of the town; he places Alessandro da Terni in Fort Strozzi, a German in the Vulture Fort, the Frenchman La Chapelle in Porto Ercole, Antonio Maria Francese with 100 Italian infantry and 150 Gascons in the Fort of Sant’Ippolito; he himself settles in the one facing the sea, called Fort Galera.
MayTuscanyIn defense of Montalcino and the Val d’Orcia, he welcomes Blaise de Monluc and Cornelio Bentivoglio at Buonconvento. Following the surrender of the capital, they have abandoned Siena: to the French captain, he lends 500 ducats, borrowed from a Jew, to enable his return to his country. At the end of the month, he leaves Soubise as lieutenant in Montalcino and moves to defend Porto Ercole.
JuneTuscany, Lazio, FranceGian Giacomo de’ Medici, with the aid of 2 galleys from Andrea Doria and another 4 from Marco Centurione, begins to bombard from land the various forts that make up the defensive system of Porto Ercole, and the port from the sea. The first forts fall into the hands of the opponents; they also receive significant reinforcements led by the Count of Caiazzo and Ottobono Fieschi. Conversely, the arrival of the allied Turkish fleet is far off. Piero Strozzi realizes that resistance can only last a few days; therefore, he leaves Porto Ercole at night with his brothers-in-law Flaminio Orsini and Giuliano de’ Medici, Montauto da Montauto, Lazzaro Manzai, and a few others, and embarks on the galley of the exile Baccio Martelli; he sets sail for Civitavecchia; after easily evading the surveillance of the enemy fleet, he moves to Montalto di Castro to enlist new troops. During his absence, the fort watched by La Chapelle surrenders; the other garrisons yield at discretion. Medici and Andrea Doria capture the Florentine and Genoese exiles, who are executed; the soldiers, however, are sent to the oars.
Piero Strozzi goes to Rome, is received by the Pope and the pro-French cardinals; he is hosted by Cardinal Carafa at the Palazzo di San Pietro. Shortly thereafter, he embarks at Civitavecchia and reaches Antibes.
…………FrancePiero Strozzi retreats to a private life in Antibes, pursued by general disdain. After fifteen days of waiting, he is received by the king; he is particularly accused of his flight from Porto Ercole. He falls ill due to the reception he receives.
May – JulyChurchEmpireFrance, LazioPiero Strozzi must defend himself from the machinations of the Duke of Florence, and at the same time, he falls into poverty; Queen Catherine de’ Medici sends him to Rome to assist the Papal forces in their struggle against the imperial forces. He reaches Lazio with 4 galleys of his own. Cardinal Carlo Carafa receives him with many expressions of goodwill: in Rome, Strozzi, despite being chronically ill, follows the reorganization of the Papal army, supervises the fortification works in Lazio, and those still controlled by the French in the Sienese territory.
Aug.MarcheIn Macerata.
Sept.LazioHe falls ill with tertian fever in Civitavecchia. He has himself taken to Rome to be treated in a vineyard he owns in Prati. War councils now take place in his bedroom. He laments that the situation in terms of money, ammunition, and men is much worse than what had been outlined to him in France.
Nov.LazioHe occupies the village of Magliana, halfway between Rome and Ostia. From this location, he brings numerous militias into the port city of Ostia. With the rest of the troops (3,000 infantry and 400 light cavalry), he positions himself on the right bank of the lesser branch of the Tiber (where today’s Fiumicino Airport is located) to prevent the Duke of Alba from targeting the Capital. He attacks Battistino Moretto at Nettuno; he is repelled. He constructs a pontoon bridge over the Tiber; numerous skirmishes with the imperial forces ensue.
Jan.LazioAt the beginning of the month, a truce agreed between the Duke of Alba and the Papal forces expires. Having received reinforcements from France led by the Duke of Guise, Francesco di Lorraine, Piero Strozzi once again leaves Rome with 6,000 infantry, 800 cavalry, and 6 field artillery pieces; he recaptures Ostia in a single day. The Spanish garrison retreats into the fortress, which has not yet been repaired from the damage they themselves inflicted the previous November. With his 6 cannons in position, he quickly obtains their surrender. He then assaults the Bovacciana tower, positioned to defend Fiumicino, at the mouth of the Tiber; here too, the garrison (400 infantry) immediately surrenders under terms.
In two days, he razes the redoubt and returns to Rome with the artillery. He moves towards Tivoli with the Duke of Paliano, Giovanni Carafa. The local garrison takes refuge in the castle of Vicovaro. He attacks this fortress; following a violent bombardment, a breach is opened in the walls. His first assault is repelled with heavy losses. On the second day, the Spanish infantry decide to abandon the settlement and retreat into the castle. His men attack them as they try to save the spoils of their previous looting. A massacre ensues. The Gascons and Germans under his command cut down the Spaniards and locals. About seventy men are taken prisoner to be brought to Rome, where they risk being lynched by the furious population. Only the intervention of Pope Paul IV saves their lives by sending them back free to the Duke of Alba.
During the same days, following the defection at Civitavecchia of Giovanni Moretti, who stole one of his galleys, Strozzi urges Pietro Fouroux, who commands another of his galleys, to engage in privateering and to head to Malta, where Moretti‘s presence has been reported.
Feb.LazioDuring the same period, Giovanni Moretti, a corsair in the service of the Duke of Savoy, is imprisoned in Malta. Meanwhile, Piero Strozzi continues his offensive against the imperial militias; in a short time, he takes control of Genazzano, Valmontone, Tivoli, Grottaferrata, Marino, and Palestrina.
May – JulyAbruzzo, LazioHe meets up with the Duke of Guisa, who is stationary in Abruzzo at the siege of Civitella del Tronto. Recognizing the futility of the operations, he returns to the Roman Campagna.
Aug.LazioHe enters Tivoli with 400 cavalry and 10 banners of infantry; from there, he moves to aid Rome following threats made to the city by the Duke of Alba and Ascanio della Cornia.
…………Lazio, FranceHe is unable to attack Tuscany as he wishes; the imperial forces defeat the French at St. Quentin. Piero Strozzi is recalled to France along with the Duke of Guisa. He embarks at Civitavecchia with four companies of Gascon infantry.
Jan.FranceEngland100 lancesFranceHe is granted an annual stipend of 2,800 francs. He proposes to the Duke of Guisa to assault Calais. He captures the forts of Risban and Nieullay and attacks the city, which is surrounded by good walls, 3 bastions, a moat, and a solid castle: a canal is dug to drain the moat waters, large poles covered with glued paper are set up to provide cover for the harquebusiers from the defenders’ fire, and 30 pieces of artillery are placed in battery. The castle is captured at low tide, and Calais surrenders after a week of siege. Piero Strozzi then moves under Guines; with intense bombardment (400 shots) and four days of continuous assaults, the counterscarp of the castle, protected by two bastions, is taken; one bastion collapses, and the English governor Grey surrenders on terms. He pushes to Hunes, crossing marshes along a path on palisades. The opponents retreat without waiting for him.
He arrives in Metz; together with the Duke of Guisa, he gathers more than 20,000 men, tightens around Thionville; constructs a series of trenches near the city. This strategic positioning and series of aggressive maneuvers highlight Strozzi’s tactical acumen and contribute significantly to his military reputation during this period.
JuneFranceWhile supervising the positioning of some culverins, Piero Strozzi dies in Thionville from a harquebus shot to the head or chest. He is buried in Epernay. His portrait can be found in Florence, at the Palazzo Vecchio, created by Jacopino del Conte. A second portrait, painted by Cosimo dell’Altissimo and featuring the same armor but a different face, is located in Palazzo Pitti, also in Florence. A third portrait is housed in the Ducal Palace of Urbania.
Piero Strozzi authored his own commentaries and possessed a rich library, which he acquired from Cardinal Ridolfi, valued at 15,000 scudi. He was also a friend of the poet Gabriele Chiabrera


-“Generale di gran credito..Degno d’essere paragonato co’ più valorosi ed insigni Capitani del suo tempo; ma sfortunato nelle imprese di Toscana.” MURATORI

-“Era d’animo grande, arrisicato e appetente la gloria, ma borioso, testereccio e superbo fuor di misura.” VARCHI

-“Giovane sopra tutti quelli dell’età mia animoso, e risoluto a pigliar grandi e pericolosi consigli.” SEGNI

-“O Piero Strozzi, ‘ndu sono i tuoi bravoni?/ Al poggio delle Donne, in quei burroni./ O Piero Strozzi, ‘ndu sono i tuoi soldati?/ Al poggio delle Donne, in que’ fossati./ O Piero Strozzi, ‘ndu sono le tue genti?/ Al poggio delle Donne, a cor le lenti.” CANTO POPOLARE FIORENTINO

-“L’amico di Caterina (dei Medici), il tipico fuoriuscito fiorentino, l’implacabile nemico di Cosimo (dei Medici).” HAUSER-RENAUDET

-“Fermo nelle sue deliberazioni, men capace di consiglio, ardito più del dovere, e tanto più facile ad esporsi all’arbitrio della fortuna, quanto più gli si mostrava contraria.” NORES

-“L’animo suo era smisurato e cupidissimo di scancellare l’offesa fatta alla sua fama, pensava e nuove fazioni e benefizio del re e a danno dell’imperatore..Animoso e sagace, ma poco fortunato guerriero: insidiò col ferro e coi veleni la vita a Cosimo, e Cosimo coi medesimi mezzi insidiò la sua, ambo spregiatori del giusto e dell’onesto, ma lo Strozzi rotto e precipitoso, guastava i suoi disegni, il Medici cauto e signore di se medesimo gli coloriva.” BOTTA

-“Amato dal re e dalla regina assai perché sono germani..ed è reputato valorosissimo e di molta esperienza ancora.” ALBERI

-“Uno de’ più animosi, e infaticabili Capitani dell’età nostra, ma per quanto fu stimato, assai miglior soldato che Capitano.” BUGATI

-“Il estoit un fort honneste gentilhomme et brave soldat.” MONTLUC

-“Personnage de grande suffisance.” SALIGNAC

-“Era lo Strozzi d’animo altiero, e ardente, e dotato delle buone lettere; ma le più volte sfrenato, e contra i pericoli indomito affatto; percioche tentando tutte le cose aspre, e difficili, aspirava da acquistarsi fama d’altissima e smisurata lode. Essendo costui dunque desideroso di farsi valere, giudicava che tutta l’importanza del consiglio, che s’havea a negotiare e essequire, fosse posto nella prestezza.” GIOVIO

-“Capitano famosissimo.” GIUSTINIAN

-“Di chiarissima fama tra’ Capitani..Fu lo Strozzi di persona alta e di volto rubicondo; gli occhi e’ capelli hebbe castagnicci, la barba rossa.” ROSCIO

-“Valente generale..gentiluomo suo merito e la sua fama l’aveano inalzato sino al comando delle armate.” RINUCCINI

-“Huomo valoroso..Era di sua natura coraggioso molto.” ROSEO

-“Era in breve tempo divenuto capo di tutti i soldati fuoriusciti (di Firenze), co’ quali guerreggiando in Piemonte per la liberalità, et per il molto valor suo, avevain un momento acquistato straordinaria reputazione, e seguito.” CINI

-“Fuori il Guisa, non havevano i Francesi Capitano più valoroso e questo..Ciascuno gli dava vanto del più animoso, arrischiato e intendente guerriero che a’ suoi giorni fosse uscito d’Italia.” LETI

-“Abilissimo ma troppo audace condottiero.” SPRETI

-“Uomo d’animo risoluto, di bella statura, di buone forze e litterato..Uomo risoluto ed arrischiato.” MONTALVO

-“Pieno di coraggio e di ardire. L’esercizio continuato di prevenire le insidie del duca (Cosimo dei Medici) e di macchinarne altrettante contro di esso lo aveva reso il più sagace generale del secolo; con queste qualità si guadagnò il favore e la parzialità di Paolo IV il quale oltre all’aver dato il cappello al vescovo di Beziers suo fratello, nella guerra col duca d’Alba deferiva principalmente ai di lui consigli. La Francia perse un generale valoroso, intraprendente e ardito, e il suo soverchio ardire fu appunto quello che gli accelerò la morte; gl’intrighi di corte e l’invidia dei grandi lo avevano reso stanco di più servire a quella corona, e già avea mosso delle pratiche per passare ai servizi del re Filippo; il Montauto (Otto da Montauto) avea tentato di riconciliarlo con Cosimo, ma la memoria delle ingiurie, e l’odio troppo radicato nell’animo di questo principe impedirono tal mutazione di partito. Era dotato di maniere gentili, e possedeva le lettere e l’architettura militare di quel tempo. Se non avesse assunto il partito si far risorgere una repubblica estinta sotto il peso di tanta forza e di servire la corona di Francia in Italia.., le sue imprese avrebbero sortito un esito più fortunato, e la sua gloria non sarebbe inferiore a quella degli altri generali contemporanei.” GALLUZZI

-“Celebre capitano.” BOSI

-“Fu il primo a muovere le sue truppe con dotte combinazioni strategiche affidate ad uno smisurato valore, combattute quasi che sempre da una implacabile avversa fortuna. Gl’Italiani che amano conoscere le azioni de’ loro moderni guerrieri, difficilmente troveranno uomo privato più degno d’istoria; non v’è libro narrante i successi del XVI secolo che non contenga le lodi sue, non ne encomii l’ingegno ed il valore.” PROMIS

-“C’estoit un très-vaillant homme de guerre..On le tenoit plus propre à forcer, défendre, fortifier et assaillir des places, qu’à combattre en campagne: car y estoit malheureux, et aussi plus né à obeyr sous un grand général, que d’estre chef et général lui meme: ainsi que j’ay connu quelques-uns de ce naturel, témoin Metz, Calais, Guines, Thionville, et divers autres lieux. Car il estoit un très-gran ingénieur et fort labouriex, ainse que dit une veille chanson d’un adventurier français, qui fut faite durant le siège de Metz, dont un des couplets est tel:  “Momsieur de Guise estoit dedans,/ Avecque beaucoup de noblesse,/ De Vendosme les deux enfants,/ Et de Nemours, pleins de provesse,/ Et le seigneur Pierre Estorse,/ Qui nuit et jour est sur remparts,/ Faisant remparts de grande adresse,/ Et remparant de toutes parts.” BRANTOME

-“Homme de grand coeur, hazardeux, vaillant et bien instruit en bonnes lettres, et tel qui ne craignoit péril aucun, et qui désireux d’honneur ne se soucioit d’entreprendre des choses difficiles et hazardeuses,.” BELLEFOREST

-“Haveva volto l’animo in tutto al mestier dell’armi, essendo giovane nobile, gagliardo di forze e feroce d’animo..Capittano desto e di valore.” ADRIANI

-“Capitano insigne, sebbene troppo animoso amator di pericoli. I soldati francesi lo stimavano e lo obbedivano volentieri, perché presso di essi basta esser uomo prode. I grandi per invidia lo vedevano di mal occhio, ma pel suo ardire lo temevano..L’Italia dopo la caduta di Siena, nulla aveva più a sperare da lui ne’ fatti nazionali ultimo eroe.” LITTA

-“Del cui valore e imprese ci bisognerebbe formare una storia espressa per raccontare tutte le battaglie, assedii e azzioni che fece.” GAMURRINI

-“Capitano e huomo di tanto valore, quanto ne fanno fede le guerre maneggiate da lui ne’ tempi nostri, ancor che se gli opponesse qualche infelicità.” RUSCELLI

-“Piero era un temperamento aspro, duro, volitivo e soverchiatore, tutto d’un pezzo in fatto di coerenza morale, ed era altrettanto intrattabile ai compromessi.” CANTAGALLI

-“(Con francesco Ferrucci) Ultimi sostegni della libertà fiorentina e senese.” CANESTRINI

-“Capitano di chiaro nome, il quale travagliato haveva nelle guerre de suoi tempi, con maggiore prosperità di là da monti che in Italia.” BENCI SPINELLO

-“Perpetuo nemico de’ Medici.” CIATTI

-“Di persona fu grande e ben fatto, di volto bello e piacevole e da gran maestà accompagnato. Fu molte volte innamorato di donne e di una ultimamente di piccola condizione: alla quale molta roba lasciò. Per questo soleva andare molto attillattamente vestito: e perciò che gli pareva di avere il capo piccolo a proporzione del resto della persona portava sempre capelli assai, e questi erano raccinti; e le gambe con artificio studiava di fare apparire più formate..portando calzari alti in piede per parere maggiore. Agile e destro era di natura oltre modo, e si esercitava di continuo in guisa che molto si dilettò di giuochi e d’esercizi militari e cavallereschi..Grande e bel parlatore fu, e molto si compiacque di suo discorso, sì come arguto e motteggiatore etiandio..Fu copioso e abbondante di partiti; risoluto, animoso e paziente. Da questo nacque che, quantunque così infelice fusse nelle sue imprese, nondimeno non si abbandonò giammai: ma essendo tante volte vinto e disfatto, tuttavia prestamente si rifece. Fu veloce e diligente nell’eseguire le cose, deliberato e arrisicato più di ogni altro, perciò che desideroso fu oltre modo di  gloria.” ALBIZZI

-“Si acquistò fama di ardito navigatore e di eccellente condottiero per mare, quanto s’era dimostrato per terra..Era Piero, grande e ben fatto della persona, di piacevole aspetto, di portamento maestoso; di pelo nero e ricciuto; di color sanguigno; di carattere franco e aperto; dava biasimo o lode scopertamente a chi gli pareva degno; destro nel trattar gli affari pubblici, copioso di pronti ripieghi; amatore di audaci e risoluti partiti; forte e costante nel seguire le imprese deliberate; nelle avversità imperterrito; quante volte fu vinto, altrettante volte ritornò in campo; si aveva nello stesso tempo la novità della disfatta, e della sua tornata più forte di prima in sui campi.. Nel discorrere era animato, eloquente e conciso..Inclinato al bel sesso anzi che no, amò più donne..Alla corte era solito vestire con molta eleganza; dimostravasi gentile e cortese cavaliere. In campo era tutto semplicità e rigidezza nel vestito e nel cibo. Portava assai capelli, parendogli aver piccolo il capo, a proporzione del resto della persona; le gambe, come si legge si Augusto, si studiava di far apparire ben formate..Ei non era men amatore delle armi che delle lettere, e seppe unire molto bene gli studi della pace e della guerra.” TRUCCHI

-“La disciplina militare di Piero, il coraggio di Alessandro, la pazienza di Annibale, la virtù di Scipione e la vigilanza di Cesare si videro unite in Piero Strozzi; in tutto vi fu uguale a quelli; la fortuna gli fu spesso contraria, ma dessa non l’ha mai potuto vincere in vita; ora che è morto è stata vinta da lui; egli ha fatto ancor più; ha vinto l’invidia, dalla quale fu perseguitato come dalla fortuna. Così, come visse, morì questo gran capitano.” Da un epitaffio del Du Bellay riportato dal TRUCCHI

-“Ah! che con nobil arte/ Ben colse in guerreggiar palma di Marte./ Ma dell’alta vittoria/ Dell’ardir, della fede/ Non trovò poi la gloria,/ Né la real mercede;/ Vinto cadde ei vincendo,/ Qual falcon, che scendendo/ Con preda incontra il fulmine tremendo.” CHIABRERA

-“Le plus hardi et le moins sujet à prendre ses precautions des capitaines Italiens qui servaient la France.” VARILLAS

-“…di saper saggio e gentile.” Dal “Lamento della magnifica città di Siena” in  GUERRE IN OTTAVA RIMA

-“El signor Pietro Strozzi similmente/ De i Fanti a pié, (il re di Francia) dà il general governo/ ch’esser degno conosce, et eccellente/ grado del valor suo chiaro, et interno,/ El ben gli è noto, et fa ch’animo, et niente/ Ha di bene operar la state, e ‘l verno/ Per fargli beneficio, et che sol gode/ D’acquistar per lui stato, et per la lode.” LEGGIADRI

-“Io son quel Piero Strozzi Fiorentino/ Non già figliuol d’un sig. dozzinale,/ ma d’un primario e nobil cittadino./ Mia forza, magna virtù è stata tale/ Che ho reso maraviglia a tutto il mondo./ Son stato colonnello, e generale/ Volsi con l’animo uno alto, e profondo/ Farmi ribello di sì magno duca (Cosimo dei Medici).” Da “La rotta di Piero Strozzi” in GUERRE IN OTTAVA RIMA

-Alla battaglia di Marciano “Piero hora in qua e ‘n là per riparare/ Corse, ma tanto far più non potria/ Che se da un canto el campo fe fermare/ Dall’altro vede ch’ognun fugge via.” Da “La rotta della Chiana” in GUERRE IN OTTAVA RIMA

-“Con numero infinito di persone,/ dimostra ogniun, tanto è nel viso ardente:/ Quanto è gagliardo, & forte su l’arcione/ tanto ogn’un d’essi havea fronte secura/ Ch’ariguardargli sol metton paura/…/(Alla battaglia di Marciano)Scorre pel campo Pier ne ha mai riposo:/però che vede ogni suo gonfalone/caduto in terra, et fra se sta doglioso/che morte scorge un numero di persone/la und’era chiama Aurelio Fregoso:/et gli da nuova gente, et vuol ch’ei vada/ dove par che maggior bisogno accada.” L. PIERI

-“He had chosen the profession of arms, which as it then existed in Italy, where every leader of repute had himself ready to sell his sword and her allegiance to the best bidder…Piero Strozzi hoped to carve his way to honours and eminence by selling himself and his sword to France, and identifying himself entirely with French interests and aims. He pursued this end with consistency, pertinacity, and bravery, and accordingly succeeded in attaining it.” TROLLOPE

-“Di chiarissima fama tra i Capitani..Fu lo Strozzi di persona alta, e di volto rubicondo: gli occhi, e’ capelli hebbe castagnicci: e la barba rossa.” CAPRIOLO

-Alla sua morte a Thionville. “Et comme l’endemain il fust mort, le sieur Adrian (Adriano Baglioni) er le comte Téophile (Teofilo Calcagnini) me dirent que j’avois perdu le meilleur amy que j’avois en ce monde; ce que je creuz bien et le crois encore.” MONLUC

-“Antico emulo, nemico implacabile e ribelle del Duca. Costui, molte guerre del Re s’era acquistato fama di valoroso Capitano…Pochi Soldati si trovavano, che per la di lui superbia, e arroganza volentieri lo servissero.” G.A. PECCI

-“Era lo Strozzi uno dei più fieri nemici del Duca Cosimo de’ Medici, in quanto che riguardava quel Principe come l’Oppressore di una Repubblica che esso aveva assunto l’arduo partito di far nuovamente insorgere; e militando sotto le Insegne Francesi si era acquistata la reputazione di uno dei più valorosi ed intraprendenti, che contava a quell’epoca la Francia tra i suoi Generali. Dotato di animo grande e di gentili maniere, gran letterato e versatissimo nell’Architettura militare de’ suoi tempi.” LIVI 

-“Secondo la tendenziosa versione di François de Scépaux maresciallo di Vieilleville – Strozzi sarebbe morto bestemmiando, dopo aver fatto una professione di ateismo. Altre fonti, fra cui l’inedita “Storia generale” di Giovan Girolamo de’ Rossi, confermano i suoi sentimenti antireligiosi. La sua ricca collezione di medaglie, anticaglie e libri fu in parte acquisita da Caterina de’ Medici, in parte dispersa, come testimoniò l’umanista Iacopo Corbinelli. Uno dei pezzi più pregiati era una traduzione in greco dei “Commentari” di Cesare compilata e commentata da Strozzi, testo che fu stampato anonimamente nel 1606 a Francoforte. La sua fama di capitano valoroso ma sfortunato fu celebrata anche in componimenti poetici, come il raro “Lamento di Pietro Strozzi sopra la rotta che hebbe nelle Chiane d’Arezzo” (Bologna 1601). Il suo nome compare nel secondo dialogo di Antonio Brucioli nei “Dialogi della naturale philosophia humana” (Venezia 1537), sul tema “Dell’anima”, e nella dedica dei “Mondi” di Anton Francesco Doro (Venezia 1552). Numerose le menzioni in lettere di Aretino. Il suo oroscopo fu pubblicato da Luca Gaurico nel “Tractatus astrologicus” (Venezia 1552, e commentato strumentalmente da Gabriele Simoni alla luce della sconfitta senese.” SIMONETTA

-“Uomo a cui in quel secolo non fu certamente uguale, avendo animo grande, forza, ardire, pratica delle cose moderne, scienza delle antiche, liberalità ed eloquenza, e di tal virtù che potrebbe la vita sua senza alcun dubbio servir di norma a qualunque gran Capitano e Cavaliere ne’ secoli avvenire.” MECATTI

-Il “Masso di Piero Strozzi”, un punto panoramico nei pressi  di Montemurlo “La tradizione orale racconta che Pietro Strozzi, nei giorni concitati della battaglia, si recasse al Masso attraverso un passaggio segreto che dalla Rocca conduceva fin qui, per scrutare l’orizzonte e avvertire i ribelli dell’arrivo delle truppe medicee di Cosimo I…Altre fonti, invece, indicano la titolazione a Pietro Strozzi del masso di vedetta allo spirito libertario e di rinascita della classe intellettuale protagonista del Risorgimento, che ebbe in quest’area protagonisti di primo piano quali Antonio Vannucci al Montale e Giovanni Battista Niccolini a Montemurlo.”>archivio10

-“Con la sua guerra di movimento Piero Strozzi stava dando del filo da torcere ai fiorentini e molti suoi reparti, guidati da bravi capitani (ne ricordiamo alcuni: i francesi Valleron e Fourquevaulx, il capo dei lanzichenecchi Jiohan Torech, il capitano tedesco George Reckenrot..), facevano continue scorrerie, colpendo qua e là e raccogliendo, fra l’altro, rifornimenti per l’affamata Siena.” BATINI


-F. Trucchi. Vita e gesta di Piero Strozzi.

Feature image: Wikimedia

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