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Biographical notes on War Captains and Mercenary Leaders operating in Italy between 1330 and 1550

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Jacopo dal Verme: Valor and Virtue in Medieval Italy

Italian CondottieriJacopo dal Verme: Valor and Virtue in Medieval Italy

One of the glories of the Italian militia for his notable contribution to the innovation in the military organization of his time. A prudent and courageous gentleman; always faithful to his patrons. An implacable enemy of Facino Cane and the lord of Padua Francesco Novello da Carrara, whose death he brings about with his instructions. A friend of humanists. His end is shrouded in legend. There is no existing portrait of him.

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

Jacopo Dal Verme: Military Visionary and Enigmatic Condottiero.

Jacopo Dal Verme, son of Luchino Dal Verme and Jacopa de’ Malvicini, was a renowned condottiere of his era. Starting his military career in 1366, he initially served Alberico da Barbiano and then Cansignorio della Scala, fighting against the Bonacolsi of Mantova and supporting Bernabò Visconti against the Guelf league. Hired by the Visconti of Milan in 1369, he played a pivotal role in the Visconti’s territorial expansion, particularly in Piedmont and Monferrato. Recognized for his military prowess, he was appointed by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in various roles, including the diplomatic mission to Avignon and as a general captain. Despite initial alliances, he eventually abandoned the Scaligeri, aligning permanently with the Visconti, contributing significantly to capturing Milan and expanding the Visconti dominion, including notable battles in Monferrato and against Bologna. His services culminated with the conquest of Bologna in 1402. However, his relationship with the Visconti deteriorated, leading him to serve the Republic of Venice until his death in 1409. Dal Verme was buried beside his father in the church of Sant’Eufemia in Verona.

Jacopo dal Verme of Verona, Guelph. Lord of Nogarole Rocca, Sanguinetto, Sustinenza, Asparetto, Bobbio, Zavattarello, Canevino, Rocca d’Olgisio, Suzzano, Rivergaro, Busseto, Monguzzo, Cornate d’Adda, Lurago d’Erba, Carpiano, Castelmarte, Lambrugo, Cremnago, Castelnovo di Sotto, Pianello Val Tidone, Pecorara, Marzonago, Ruino, Torre degli Alberi, Poviglio, Trebecco, Fortunago, Caprile, Borgonovo Val Tidone, Romagnese, Pieve d’Incino, Gardone Val Trompia, Belveglio. Son of Luchino dal Verme, father of Luigi dal Verme and Peterlino dal Verme, cousin of Taddeo dal Verme, Filippino dal Verme and Ugolino dal Verme, son-in-law of Gaspare degli Ubaldini.

Born: 1350
Death: 1409, February

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
……………Venice
1364
May – JuneThe execution of Giovanni Visconti and Martino da Rimini, captains formerly in the service of Bernabò Visconti, ordered by his father Luchino during the expedition aimed at quelling the revolt in Candia (Crete), provokes a strong reaction from the Lord of Milan. It’s ordered to detain in prison the wife and children of Luchino, among whom Jacopo, along with his uncle Bartolomeo, is involved. The intervention of the Doge of Venice, Lorenzo Celsi, is immediate. He points out to Visconti that the root of the issue is the attempted mutiny by the two condottieri. At the end of the month, Jacopo is released from the prison of Trezzo sull’Adda; thus, he can reach Venice with the aim of participating in the celebrations given in honor of his father. On this occasion, he takes part in a joust, crossing weapons with the King of Cyprus, Pietro di Lusignano.
……………Serves in the companies of Alberico da Barbiano.
1366VeronaIn the service of the Lord of Verona, Cansignorio della Scala.
1367TurkeyIn Constantinople on the occasion of the death of his father, Luchino.
1368
Apr.Verona, MilanMantovaLombardy, EmiliaObtains his first command from the Scaligeri (Cansignorio della Scala), despite the ban in force against his family. Leading the troops, he leaves Verona in the rain with 1500 infantry and 300 cavalry; he bursts into the enclosure of Mantua with the Visconti militias of Ruggero Cane (1000 infantry and 600 cavalry). He plunders the territory, moves to Guastalla, where he gathers many galleons to destroy the bridge over the Po at Borgoforte. He besieges Mantua.
……………Lombardy, VenetoReturns to the Mantuan territory to plunder it again with the troops of Bernabò Visconti. With the arrival of the militias of Emperor Charles of Bohemia coming to the aid of the Gonzagas, he returns to Verona with the spoils.
JulyVenetoThe fighting ceases due to the signing of a peace treaty.
1369
Feb.MilanComp. venturaPiedmontSent to recover Alba with Giovanni Caimi, he confronts the company of Edward Despenser: captured mid-month in the Battle of Castagnito (or by treachery according to some sources), he is only released upon the payment of a large ransom.
1370
Feb.SaluzzoCount of SavoyPiedmontHe is knighted by Marquis Federico di Saluzzo. He opposes the troops of Count Amedeo di Savoia and is once again taken prisoner.
……………FranceOn a diplomatic mission to Avignon.
1372
JuneMilanLeagueEmiliaHe fights in the service of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. He is tasked with capturing Castel San Giovanni, defended by Dondaccio da Piacenza; his efforts prove futile, so he settles for destroying the crops of the surrounding area.
July – Aug.PiedmontHe seizes a castle in the Asti area with Rainaldo de Bucendo. Along with Ambrogio Visconti, Ruggero Cane, John Hawkwood (Giovanni Acuto), Francesco d’Este, Viscount Payen, and Ugolino di Saluzzo, he assaults Otto der Tarantiner (Ottone di Brunswick) in Asti, who controls the city on behalf of the Marquis of Monferrato. With Ruggero Cane, he hinders the advance of 500 Savoyard lances led by Gaspare di Montmajeur and Oddo di Villars; he has numerous clashes with Ottone di Brunswick. Again with Ruggero Cane (400 men-at-arms and 700 infantry), he prevents the entry into Asti of another 300 lances led by Guglielmo di Grandson, Luigi di Cossonay, and Gerardo di Grantmont: once again, a sortie by Ottone di Brunswick allows the Savoyards to enter the city. The Visconti forces retreat towards the Tanaro, where they can be better supplied. Count Amedeo di Savoia, who commands the opposing army, gathers his troops. His ranks are arranged in 3 bodies, the vanguard entrusted to Amblart de la Baume, Marshal of Savoy, and Bonifacio di Challant, includes Piedmontese and Germans. In the main body are the Count of Savoy, the King of Majorca, the Prince of Galilee, the Count Amedeo di Ginevra with the infantry, archers, halberdiers, and crossbowmen. The rearguard is commanded by the bastard of Vernay. Arriving in Asti, they join with Ottone di Brunswick and Guglielmo di Grandson. The Savoyards and forces from Monferrato settle on a height overlooking Versa, on the other side of the Tanaro river. Jacopo dal Verme divides his troops into 5 cohorts: in the front line Francesco d’Este with the crossbowmen and infantry, he commands the second, Payen the third, Ugonino di Saluzzo the fourth, and Ruggero Cane the rearguard. The battle takes place on the Tanaro and ends with darkness. The Visconti, who have suffered greater losses, fortify themselves on the heights of Versa. Among the captured Milanese are Ruggero Cane and the Englishman William Quarton. The following day, the Savoyard army enters Asti. Ottone di Brunswick and Guglielmo di Grandson, due to a scarcity of provisions, raid enemy territory. They cross the Tanaro and assault the castle of Belveglio belonging to Jacopo dal Verme. The Visconti commander, instead, moves to Malemort (?), on the Tanaro, where 50,000 ducats have arrived for the pay of the troops. Guglielmo di Grandson accidentally encounters dal Verme. The two captains face each other with lances lowered. The Savoyard is thrown from his saddle. His squire, Jacques de Fort, manages to knock down the latter’s mount with a blow from a mace. Pancerot de Serraval comes to the rescue and Jacopo dal Verme is captured for the third time. After being released, he moves to the siege of Casale Monferrato.
1373
SpringLombardyHe is forced to retreat towards Cremona due to the actions of Amerigo del Pomerio, Enguerrand de Coucy, and Giovanni Acuto, who now serves with the adversaries.
………….He operates in the Piacenza area. He quells a revolt that erupted in Val di Tidone against the Visconti’s interests.
1374PiedmontHe confronts the Savoyards in the Biella area.
1376
Aug.FranceThe Visconti send him to Avignon to meet with Pope Gregory XI along with ambassadors Antoniolo Lucini, Tommaso di Groppello, and Vassallino Bossi. An agreement is reached, which is ratified by Gian Galeazzo Visconti in December at the Castle of Pavia.
1377
………….MilanFieschiPiedmontHe energetically defends Biella from an attack carried out by 100 Genoese crossbowmen hired by the Fieschi family, with the aim of freeing Bishop Giovanni Fieschi, who has been captured and imprisoned by the citizens.
Mar.VenetoThe properties confiscated from his father Luchino during the Frignano della Scala revolt are returned to him by the Scaligeri. He is granted the significant fiefdom of Sanguinetto, a place of strategic importance for controlling the access to Verona from the southeast.
1378
MayVeronaMilan, VeniceVenetoHe returns to the Veronese region and fights for Bartolomeo della Scala against Bernabò Visconti and his condottieri Giovanni Acuto and Lutz von Landau (Lucio Lando). These individuals conduct fierce raids between Bussolengo and Povegliano Veronese.
……………VenetoWhile he is attempting to contain the movements of the Milanese with strategic maneuvers around Verona, a formidable contingent of Venetian troops led by Giacomo Cavalli penetrates into the Veronese region through the Polesine. His skill prompts the opposing condottiero to withdraw from the territory. Bartolomeo and Antonio della Scala reward him with the fiefs of Sanguinetto and Asparetto.
Aug.General captainLombardyHe is in Pavia for the signing of the peace treaty between the Visconti and the Count of Savoy. Gian Galeazzo Visconti appoints him as the Capitano Generale and his advisor.
Oct.He is granted control over Pianello Val Tidone, Borgonovo Val Tidone, Rocca d’Olgisio, and Vigano (later ceded in 1394 by Jacopo dal Verme to the Taverna brothers, with Antonio Porro as a witness to this act, which would be repeated in January 1383). In the same month, he obtains citizenship in Piacenza.
Dec.MilanMonferratoPiedmont
1379
Jan.PiedmontHe is in Santhià for the negotiation of a truce with Otto der Tarantiner.
1380
Jan.PiedmontIn Vercelli, he is present for the signing of a new truce with Ottone di Brunswick. The agreement is signed in the Sant’Agata square, with the presence of the Marquises Teodoro and Guglielmo di Monferrato. He is entrusted with the task of overseeing the fortifications of Sartirana.
Aug.He expands his holdings in the Piacenza region with the investiture of the Val Pecorara (Pecorara, Marzonago, Pozzo, Suzzano, Busseto, Cogoleto, Caprile). The Count of Virtù also confirms his ownership of the castle of Monguzzo (along with its associated territories Cornate d’Adda, Lurago d’Erba, Carpiano, Castelmarte, Lambrugo, Cremnago) and grants him Pieve d’Incino.
1383
Jan.LombardyHe is invested with Romagnese. At the ceremony, which takes place in Pavia, Bonifacio di Cocconato and Antonio Porro are in attendance.
Mar. – Nov.EmiliaThe Bishop of Bobbio, Roberto Lanfranchi, after ratifying the transfer of Romagnese in exchange for an annual fee of 50 imperial lire, also invests him with the castle of Lazarello, along with the villages of Costalta, Casella, and Moraschi in Val Tidone, and Ruino near Romagnese. The following day, Visconti confirms a donation made by Galeazzo Visconti to his father, Luchino, consisting of 150 perches located in Pieve d’Incino and an additional 98 perches in Castelmarte. In September, the Bishop of Piacenza grants him the right to collect tithes in Rocca d’Olgisio and Pecorara. In November, the Bishop of Bobbio, in emphyteusis and for the sum of 113 imperial lire, grants him Zavattarello.
1385
MayLombardy, EmiliaAlongside Ottone da Mandello, Giovanni Malaspina, Guglielmo Bevilacqua, and Antonio Porro, he escorts Gian Galeazzo Visconti from the castle of Pavia to Milan. They spend the night in Binasco, where 500 lances are stationed, and continue their journey to Milan. Two miles from Porta Ticinese, near the Sant’Ambrogio hospital, they encounter Count of Virtù Rodolfo and Ludovico Visconti. During their stroll, the two sons of Bernabò are escorted with all due honors by the troops commanded by dal Verme and other condottieri. The procession proceeds outside the city walls towards the castle of Porta Giovia. At the Sant’Ambrogio postern, Bernabò Visconti meets them, riding a mule and accompanied by one or two servants. Uncle and nephew embrace and kiss, and the Count of Virtù gives the agreed signal. Dal Verme strikes Bernabò, Ottone da Mandello releases Milan’s lord from the reins of the quadruped, and Guglielmo Bevilacqua cuts his belt. In the capture, Berardino da Lonate is also present.
Bernabò Visconti is immediately disarmed, and the command staff is taken from his hands. He is captured along with his two sons. All of them are first taken to the castle of Porta Giovia and then transported to the castle of Trezzo sull’Adda. After six days, dal Verme takes possession of Cremona. He then proceeds to Parma with Niccolò Terzi and keeps the city loyal to the new ruler against Carlo Visconti. After a few days, he also gains control of the castle of Brescello and enters Reggio Emilia, of which he is appointed podestà, with a considerable force of men-at-arms.
Oct.He receives Viganò and Rocca d’Olgisio as fiefs from Visconti.
1386
……………EmiliaHe is granted citizenship in Parma and resides near San Giorgio in the city. He also acquires from Antonio da Correggio, the lord of Cavriago, the latter’s share of Castelnovo di Sotto.
AutumnHe advises the Lord of Verona, Antonio della Scala, to hire Lucio Lando and his company to engage in combat against the Carraresi.
1387
Jan.Comp. venturaBologna800 cavalryEmiliaHe follows Lucio Lando in a campaign against the Bolognese.
Feb.Comp. ventura, VeronaForlì, PadovaRomagna, VenetoWith the defeat of the company at Castrocaro Terme in the face of the Ordelaffi, he abandons Lando along with his 800 Italian horsemen and heads to Ravenna. From there, he reaches Verona, refusing any agreement with the German captain. He returns to the service of the Scaligeri to confront the Carraresi.
Apr.Lombardy, VenetoHe travels to Pavia for negotiations concerning the marriage of Valentina Visconti, the daughter of Gian Galeazzo, to Duke Luigi di Turenna (later d’Orleans). Later, he is in Verona.
SummerHe is sent by Antonio della Scala to the Emperor Venceslao of Bohemia to offer him the lordship of Verona in exchange for the title of imperial vicar of the city. The Emperor confirms his investiture of Sanguinetto, and to it, the addition of Sustinenza.
…………MilanHe quickly becomes estranged from Antonio della Scala, and as a result, he chooses to return to the service of Gian Galeazzo Visconti.
Oct.MilanVeronaVenetoHe enters Verona with other exiles from the city, including Guglielmo Bevilacqua and Spinetta Malaspina.
Nov.Tuscany, VenetoHe reaches Florence and is involved in the failure of an anti-Visconti league project. Immediately after, he goes to Venice with Niccolò Spinelli in preparation for the Venetian war against the Carraresi.
1388
Mar.VenetoIn Padua, he is accompanied by Guglielmo Bevilacqua and Beltramo dei Rossi in an effort to persuade Francesco da Carrara to voluntarily renounce his ambitions on Vicenza. He also convinces the Venetians to wage war against the Carraresi. However, during the same period, the Florentines refuse to recognize his feudal rights over the castles in Tuscany that were brought to him as a dowry by his wife, Cia degli Ubaldini.
JulyMilanPaduaGeneral captainVenetoHe launches an attack in the Paduan region against Francesco Novello da Carrara, leading 6000 men and aided by a river flotilla commanded by Giacomo Dolfin. This campaign results in the surrender of Bassano del Grappa.
Aug.VenetoOn behalf of the Lord of Milan, he invests Niccolò d’Este, the Marquess of Ferrara, with Este. The marshal of the opposing camp, Albertino da Peraga (with whom he maintains contact), keeps him informed about all the movements of the Carraresi. He advances towards Curtarolo after detaching Ugolotto Biancardo. His path takes him through Cittadella, where he crosses the Sant’Eufemia ditch without encountering resistance and reaches Limena. Initially defeated by Conte da Carrara, he regains the initiative and secures this castle through negotiation. He crosses the Brenta and the Tergola, setting up camp in Peraga. He orders the assault on the castles of Mirano (defended by Andrea da Curtarolo) and Stigliano (Jacopo da Scaltanigo). He diverts the water of Brentelle and carries out numerous successful raids near Padua, thanks to valuable information received from Albertino da Peraga.
Sept.VenetoThe Carraresi cut the banks of the Musone, forcing dal Verme to temporarily suspend his operations. He then turns his attention to Arino but gets blocked on the Brenta because Conte da Carrara manages to cross the river and fortify himself in Castelcarro, located in the territory of Piove di Sacco.
Oct.LombardyHe is summoned to Milan to join the Ducal Council. He resumes the campaign against the Carraresi. When contacted by Francesco da Carrara for a private agreement, he responds to the Lord of Padua by suggesting that he should negotiate directly with the Venetians.
Nov. – dec.VenetoHe crosses the defenses along the Brenta at the castle of Stra, where Arcuano Buzzaccarini abandons all resistance, including the boat bridge and the Lovara Ditch bridge. In this manner, dal Verme takes possession of the castle of Stra and is able to plunder the entire pievato. Francesco Novello da Carrara surrenders at his discretion, as well as in the hands of the Ducal Council advisors Giovanni Malaspina and Giovanni degli Ubaldini, with the capitulation taking place in Codevigo. Dal Verme makes various promises to the former Lord of Padua. Disorder erupts in the city, with the people engaging in looting encouraged by him. Using this as a pretext, the condottiero brings in 100 lances (instead of the 25 horses stipulated in the surrender terms) along with Biancardo and 200 infantrymen under the command of Facino da San Nazaro. He strengthens surveillance at the Saracinesca Gate and moves to Vigodarzere. He confirms the surrender terms of Francesco da Carrara, who is besieged in the castle of Treviso, and sends Biancardo and Spinello dei Tolomei with 400 lances to ensure the execution of the signed agreements. He delivers the city to the Serenissima in December. For his merits, the Venetians admit him to the nobility of the republic and grant him a palace in San Polo, which was previously owned by Francesco da Carrara.
1389In February, he is invested by the Bishop of Bobbio with Zavattarello and its adjacent territories (Carovino and Trebecco) at the expense of Ubertino dei Landi, who for many years has not paid the due census to the diocese for the investiture. He obligates himself to pay Bishop Roberto 113 imperial lire annually and to provide one sturgeon upon delivery. Pope Boniface IX will later confirm the transfers made in his favor by the bishop.
1390
May – JuneMilanFlorence, BolognaGeneral captainEmiliaHe roams around Piumazzo with 1800 lances and 6000 infantrymen. He faces 1000 lances and 3000 infantrymen from Florence and Bologna who camp near his lodgings in Castelfranco Emilia. He returns to Modena, where he stays until the following June. When his opponents withdraw, he reappears in the Bolognese region, causing significant damage in terms of capturing prisoners and raiding livestock.
Upon learning that the castle of Crevalcore is poorly defended, he prepares numerous bombards and war machines and sends 300 lances to capture it. However, Giovanni da Barbiano anticipates his intentions, reinforces the defenders without the Visconti’s knowledge, and sets up many men-at-arms in ambush. The Bolognese forces put the armies of dal Verme to flight, capturing 400 horses. In a subsequent counterattack, the defenders seize twenty bombards and the baggage, setting all the wooden towers on fire.
Jacopo dal Verme receives new reinforcements, advances to Zola Predosa and the Lavino bridge, and is challenged to battle by Acuto and Giovanni da Barbiano. He then moves to Confortino and engages in a two-hour battle with Acuto and Giovanni da Barbiano, during which Facino Cane is captured. He must return to the territory of Parma and Reggio after just five days. In the same period, Francesco Novello da Carrara regains control of Padua with a bold maneuver.
JulyVenetoHe is sent to aid the defenders of the castle of Padua, which is under siege by the Carraresi. He reaches Montegalda, but his advance is halted by the forces of Roberto da Baviera, who have established their camp at San Martino della Vanezza. Forced to retreat, he moves to Verona to suppress the uprising of the population. He enters the city with 100 lances and sacks it, resulting in the death of 1500 inhabitants.
Aug.He receives Suzzano, Busseto, Cogoleto, and Caprile as fiefs from Gian Galeazzo Visconti, and he is also granted Milanese citizenship.
1391
Feb.LombardyHe acquires the citizenship of Pavia and resides in the parish of Santa Maria in Pertica within the city.
JuneLombardyHe opposes the Florentines led by Acuto with an army of fewer lances (1800 against 3000) but superior in terms of infantry (10,000 men). Alongside Biancardo, he closely shadows the enemy army without engaging in direct combat, focusing on cutting off their supply routes. He suffers defeat with Facino Cane at Bergamo, at the furnaces outside Porta Cologno. Among the Milanese forces, 80 men-at-arms and many crossbowmen are killed, and 200 horses drown while attempting to cross a river on a bridge.
July – Aug.Lombardy, PiedmontAcuto challenges him to battle and sends him a bloodied glove as a provocation. Initially, dal Verme accepts but later changes his mind, inspired by a repositioning of the enemy camp. He disengages from the adversaries to rush to the defense of Alessandria, which is threatened by Giovanni d’Armagnac, brought there by the Florentines. Simultaneously, he aims to prevent the junction of the two opposing armies.
He reaches Alessandria with 2000 lances and 4000 crossbowmen to control the two mandatory crossings of the Tanaro and the Bormida. Armagnac sets up his camp in Castellazzo. Jacopo dal Verme awaits reinforcements led by Ceccolo Broglia, Brandolino Brandolini, and Calcino Tornielli. At the end of the month, Armagnac, confident of a quick victory, is lured with 1000 cavalrymen under the walls of Alessandria, aiming to drive back a detachment of Visconti horsemen that ventured out for reconnaissance. The Frenchman insults the defenders, and dal Verme pushes 500 cavalrymen to assault them. They are repelled inside the city with significant losses.
After a few hours, the main French army withdraws a few miles away. dal Verme then orders 300 lances to sally out from another gate to attack the enemy from behind while he engages them with the rest of the cavalry. It is nearly noon, and the French are weary from the earlier skirmish. Armagnac has his men dismount from their horses. Small clashes begin with the goal of separating the French from where they left their mounts. In a short time, the French find themselves surrounded by the 300 lances, without their horses. After another two hours, they are routed. Armagnac falls from his horse and is found unconscious, without his helmet, by Benzio Bussazzi and Filippo da Pisa by the side of a stream. He is taken prisoner. Bussazzi escorts him, on the brink of death, to Alessandria, while dal Verme grants safe passage to his physician who joins him in the enemy camp. Armagnac, thirsty, asks for wine and dies a few hours later, either due to a cerebral congestion or a cardiac collapse. Some later rumors suggest poison, but it contradicts Visconti’s interest in having Armagnac alive. Many prisoners among the fugitives are captured, and many are killed in the streets of Savoy, Dauphiné, up to the Rhône. Among the captives are the Florentine commissioners Giovanni Ricci and Rinaldo Gianfigliazzi, who will be ransomed at a high cost.
After the victory, Gian Galeazzo Visconti orders three days of celebrations throughout the state. dal Verme donates his share of the loot in the purchase of several houses in the same city, which he has demolished to build the church of San Giacomo della Vittoria as a sign of gratitude to the saint of the day. He quickly returns to Lombardy and pursues Acuto, who, upon hearing of Armagnac’s defeat, has entrenched himself in the territory of Cremona in Paterno. The English captain sets an ambush for a portion of dal Verme’s men, luring them into a tactical withdrawal in a grove where Corrado Lando lies in wait with 500 chosen lances. In the battle, 400 horses are captured, and another 400 are killed or drown in a nearby river.
dal Verme does not react and continues to tail his opponent in retreat. He crosses the Oglio, the Mincio, and the Adige rivers, breaking the banks of the latter, flooding the fields. The camp of the opponents is also flooded, resulting in many infantrymen perishing. dal Verme is so confident of victory that, to taunt the English condottiero, he sends Acuto a cage containing a fox. In response, the enemy commander breaks one of the cage bars and sets the fox free, saying, “I see that the animal is not sad; it means it will find its way.” The Englishman abandons baggage and provisions, finding refuge in Montagnana in the Paduan territory, fully operational. The Visconti forces are forced to give up the pursuit. In August, Gian Galeazzo Visconti invests him with Trebecco.
Sept.Liguria, TuscanyDisappointed in his expectations, dal Verme turns his attention to Tuscany, once again encountering Acuto. He marches towards Sarzana with 2500 lances and 3000 men, including infantry and crossbowmen. He crosses the Arno River and reaches the Magra River, heading towards Siena, which is threatened by 1000 lances and 2000 infantry and crossbowmen, both Italian and German, led by Luigi da Capua. Leaving Acuto on his flanks, dal Verme advances, passing Pontedera, and takes position in Cascina while awaiting reinforcements.
At Casole d’Elsa, he conducts a review of his troops, which now consist of 3300 lances and 5000 infantry. Many Sienese and Pisan troops have joined his forces. He retraces his steps to Poggibonsi and systematically devastates the territory between Vico d’Arbia and Certaldo, capturing Canneto. Crossing the Arno at Fucecchio, he passes Pietra Marina and halts at Poggio a Caiano. Acuto fortifies himself in Tizzano, near his camp, bolstered by reinforcements led by Giovanni da Barbiano and Luigi da Capua.
dal Verme decides to assault the people of Pistoia, who have provided support to the Florentines in terms of men and money. He approaches the walls of Pistoia and continuously provokes the inhabitants to battle. He devastates the surrounding countryside and notices that the Florentine army continues to reinforce itself. Therefore, he skirts the mountains and captures the castle of Casoli. At a certain point, he deems it opportune to withdraw towards Lucca, also because supplies for his troops are becoming insufficient. He breaks camp under the cover of night and heads towards Uzzano.
Acuto still pursues him and breaks dal Verme’s rearguard (500 lances and infantry) on the Nievole River, capturing Taddeo dal Verme, who leads it. dal Verme abandons the field at Montecarlo in the middle of the night and, after some skirmishes, is forced to leave the Val di Nievole. He retreats to the Val di Serchio, passing through Ripafratta, losing many infantrymen while crossing the mountains.
During this time, the English captain Acuto challenges him, asking him to replace a full-scale battle with a closed-field clash between two groups of horsemen from their respective armies. dal Verme refuses, just as he had previously declined a similar challenge from Acuto in a previous encounter several years earlier. He rejects the call to battle three times and even has the trumpeter who delivered the challenge imprisoned for a night.
Oct.Tuscanydal Verme leaves Ripafratta, fords the Arno River, and sets up camp in Cascina, while Acuto remains stationed in Castelfiorentino. His goal is to capture Santa Maria a Monte, and he besieges the fortress for four hours. However, fearing a possible attack from the Florentines at his rear, he decides to abandon the operation. He crosses the Arno once more, halts between Cascina and Pisa, in the Val di Serchio, and later between Sarzana and Avenza.
Nov.TuscanyHe returns to the Val di Serchio, fords the Arno River, and enters the Val di Calci.
Dec.TuscanyGiovanni Beltoft must escort a convoy of five hundred mules carrying grain and other goods with 200 lances and 500 infantrymen. The English condottiero (mercenary leader) joins forces with Ugo di Monforte and his 600 horsemen. Jacopo dal Verme, leading 2000 cavalry, launches an attack on the Florentines at Cascina, alongside Jacopo d’Appiano. Beltoft, however, flees the scene, while Ugo di Monforte confronts the Visconti forces and is taken prisoner. Additionally, two hundred mules, along with their cargo, fall into the hands of the Visconti (the loot is estimated at 15,000 florins). This campaign comes to an end in those same days due to pressure from the Doge of Genoa, Antoniotto Adorno.
1392IsraelIn mid-April, Sanguinetto is also granted as a fief by the Lord of Milan. The peace of Genoa provides him with the opportunity to join a group of pilgrims bound for the Holy Land, among whom is the Earl of Derby, the future English King Henry IV. He boards a galley in Venice in mid-August.
1393
…………VenetoHe is appointed as the captain of Vicenza.
Dec.VenetoIn Venice, within the city, he engages in a verbal confrontation with Francesco Novello da Carrara; the Venetians intervene to mediate and calm the tempers of the two adversaries.
1394
Dec.LombardyIn Pavia, he is present for the signing of the marriage contract between Elisabetta Visconti, the daughter of Bernabò Visconti, and Duke Johann of Bavaria. The ceremony is attended by notable figures such as Nicola Pallavicini, Antonio Porro, Bertrando dei Rossi, the Bevilacqua, Andreazzo Cavalcabò, and Francesco Barbavara.
1395
Dec.LombardyAgain in Pavia, he is present for the confirmation of an alliance with the Duke of Orleans. Subsequently, he travels to Milan to participate in the official ceremony during which the Visconti receives the ducal investiture.
1396FranceOn a diplomatic mission in Paris, at the court of the King of France.
1397
Jan.MilanFlorenceTuscanyHe joins forces with Alberico da Barbiano during his foray into Tuscany.
Mar. – Apr.MilanMantovaGeneral captainLombardyHe marches against Francesco Gonzaga with 8000 horsemen and numerous infantrymen. In the early stages, he gains some advantages, occupying Melara and Marcaria. However, when reinforcements from Carlo Malatesta and Andrea Malatesta arrive at Gonzaga’s side in April, he is defeated in the vicinity of Mantua, suffering the loss of 34 galleons on the Po River.
JulyLombardyHe assaults Borgoforte, defended by Count da Carrara, and sets fire to the bridge over the Po River, defeating the combined forces led by Carlo Malatesta on land and Francesco Bembo on the river. The Milanese position themselves upstream of the bridge, filling numerous rafts with bundles, pitch, and sulfur. When the wind starts blowing in the direction of the bridge, they release them to drift downstream. The flames engulf the bridge, killing over 500 men out of 1000, as Malatesta had earlier prohibited them from leaving their position.
Jacopo dal Verme conquers Borgoforte and later constructs a pontoon bridge there by the end of the month. He tightens the siege of Mantua, and Count da Carrara enters the city, while Malatesta withdraws to Stellata. The Visconti fleet ravages the Po River, and the ducal forces plunder the territory up to the Porta Cerese of Mantua, amassing a vast amount of loot.
With the collaboration of Facino Cane and Corrado di Altinberg, he captures Luzzara and Suzzara through a treaty, as well as Marcaria and Solferino. He decides to besiege Governolo and surrounds the castle with bombards, mangonels, and other siege engines. A bridge is constructed, guarded by at least 50 ships. Bartolomeo Gonzaga, defending the location, has a large quantity of bundles brought through a secret passage on the embankments. These bundles are set on fire, and in the confusion, the Visconti forces are surprised between the walls and the moat. In the clash, 360 Milanese soldiers are killed, and another 200 are captured. The losses among the defenders are minimal, and they also destroy some of the ammunition and siege machinery.
Jacopo dal Verme suddenly receives an order to withdraw, contained in a forged letter purportedly from the Duke of Milan. He obeys and reaches Pavia. This delay postpones the final assault, allowing the expected reinforcements to arrive for Gonzaga. The Visconti orders the execution of his chancellor, Pasquino Capello, accusing him of authoring the false order. Later, it is revealed that the message was written by a forger on Gonzaga’s instructions.
Aug.Lombardy, EmiliaMalatesta arrives with fresh reinforcements and establishes his encampments near the Visconti camp. Jacopo dal Verme commands an army on paper consisting of 11,500 horsemen and 15,000 infantrymen, led by Cermisone da Parma. However, in reality, his forces are significantly reduced due to the outbreak of malaria that has decimated his ranks. He positions himself in the rear with 2,000 horsemen. The combined forces of the allies, on the other hand, amount to 1,360 lances and are supported by 150 galleons and 12 Venetian galleys.
The attack begins at dawn and continues until ten o’clock at night. When he sees the enemy fleet approaching, Jacopo dal Verme orders a retreat to the opposite bank before the pontoon bridge can be set on fire by the adversaries. There is a general scramble, exacerbated by the intervention of the allied ships that assist the pursuers. Many individuals drown in the Po River.
The condottiero reorganizes his troops on the shore and orders his fleet (consisting of 600 vessels) to provide assistance to the defenders still on the bridge. The two fleets engage in battle, and the bridge is set ablaze. Thirty-four bombards planted around Governolo and the baggage are captured by the enemy. 2,000 horses are taken prisoner, and 170 vessels, including galleons and other types of boats, mostly belonging to merchants accompanying the fleet, are seized by the ducal forces.
Twenty-eight carts are filled with the bodies of notable men, excluding the common soldiers who make up the majority of the infantry. Jacopo dal Verme withdraws with the cavalry to Guastalla, Dosolo, and Brescello, and from the Parmesan territory, he returns to Montichiari.
Sept.LombardyHe returns to the Mantua encampment at Montanara, where he orders the sappers to break the embankment of the moat, causing the surrounding fields to flood.
Oct.LombardyTogether with Alberico da Barbiano, he takes advantage of the hesitations and divisions among the various condottieri in the league. They move from Dosolo with 2,000 lances and target Borgoforte, driving out the garrison and seizing 2 galleys, a galeazza, and 24 galleons along with all their armament and crew. They enter the stronghold where the peasants have transported their belongings and livestock, resulting in invaluable plunder. They then proceed to Montanara and, with the sappers, divert the waters of the Mincio back into the moats, thereby lowering the level of Lake Mantua.
1398
MayLombardyDisguised as a Franciscan friar, he goes to Mantua and convinces Gonzaga to reconcile with the Duke of Milan. His diplomatic efforts come to a conclusion in May in Pavia when, along with Bishop Pietro Visconti of Novara and Carlo Malatesta, the representative of Pope Boniface IX, he negotiates a ten-year truce between the conflicting parties.
Sept.LombardyIn Pavia, he arranges for Andriolo de Arisiis to draft a proxy for the baptism of Gabriele, the youngest son of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. Meanwhile, Menghino Mascaroni draws up another proxy in favor of Jacopo dal Verme for the baptism of the other two sons of the Duke of Milan, Giovanni Maria and Filippo Maria.
1399EmiliaHe purchases Poviglio from the Church of Parma.
1400
JulyLombardyHe acquires Torre degli Alberi as a fief.
Sept.MilanLeagueLombardyHe sends troops to guard Belluno and Feltre and shifts his focus to the defense of Brescia. Upon hearing of the arrival of Roberto di Baviera coming to the aid of the allies, he directs Facino Cane with 200 horsemen and 300 packhorse drivers towards the mountains. He himself positions the rest of the militia on the plain.
Oct.LombardyTogether with Barbiano, Pandolfo Malatesta, Facino Cane, and Ottobono Terzi (4500 lances, all of Italian origin), he launches an attack on Nave, striking the enemy at the center of their ranks. The battle begins, during which more than 600 men-at-arms are either killed or captured.
…………MilanBolognaEmiliaHe advances against Giovanni Bentivoglio, the Lord of Bologna.
1402
MayEmiliaHe is in Cento, and with Barbiano (6000 horsemen), they raid the territory of San Giovanni in Persiceto, taking numerous prisoners and plundering a large quantity of livestock. With the assistance of Nanne Gozzadini, they set up camp three miles from the capital. However, as there is no uprising in favor of the exiles in Bologna, they are compelled to return.
JuneEmiliaHe maneuvers the Visconti army against the Bolognese forces to cut off any escape routes for the adversaries. This leads to the Battle of Casalecchio di Reno, where Bernardo della Serra is defeated and captured. Alongside Barbiano, he organizes the army into six columns. The first column is entrusted to Facino Cane and Ludovico Gabriotto Cantelli (2000 horsemen); the second to Francesco Gonzaga and Ludovico da Zagonara; the third is led by Antonio da Montefeltro and the Malatesta brothers, Carlo and Pandolfo; the fourth includes Anderlino Trotti, Ottobono Terzi, and Prencivalle della Mirandola (2000 horsemen); the fifth is reserved for Barbiano himself. He positions himself in the last column (4000 horsemen) with the banners of the Visconti.
The battle takes place in broad daylight and lasts just over an hour. The gates of San Donato, San Mammolo, and Saragozza are opened to his cavalry by supporters of the Gozzadini family, who incite the city to rise against the Bentivoglio. After obtaining control of Bologna on behalf of the Duke of Milan, he appoints Pandolfo Malatesta as the ducal lieutenant. Following the lynching of the former lord of the city by the populace, he enters Bologna at the head of his troops (12,000 horsemen and 5,000 infantry) and is appointed as its governor.
He abolishes the city’s statutes and magistracies and sends forty ambassadors to Milan to receive new chapters and agreements from the Duke.
JulyEmiliaHe departs from Bologna as he is summoned to Pavia.
Aug.Lombardy, EmiliaHe is called to join the Ducal Council, along with Barbiano, Carlo and Pandolfo Malatesta, the bishops of Pavia, Novara, Pisa, and Feltre, Gonzaga, Paolo Savelli, Giovanni Colonna, Antonio da Montefeltro, Baldassarre Spinola, Leonardo Doria, the Camerlengo Barbavara, the Chancellor Giovanni da Carnago, and the two advisers Pietro di Corte and Filippo dei Migli. He is also reaffirmed in his role as governor of Bologna.
Sept.Emilia, LombardyHe departs from Bologna with 40 citizens and travels to Milan to attend the funeral of Visconti, who had died of the plague in Melegnano. The funeral takes place in the city’s cathedral.
Dec.LombardyHe is reported to be in Milan at the ducal palace alongside Francesco Gonzaga and Paolo Savelli. He witnesses the ceremony in which the city’s representatives swear allegiance to the new Duke Giovanni Maria Visconti.
1403
JuneGeneral captainLombardy, EmiliaHe is called to be part of the ducal government alongside Antonio Visconti, Antonio Porro, Ambrogio Visconti, Cesare Visconti, and Francesco Visconti. He is elected as the Captain General. He dispatches his own envoys to Brescia and Cremona to ensure that both cities remain within the Milanese sphere of influence. He also suppresses a rebellion in Parma incited by the Rossi and the da Correggio family.
JulyEmiliaHe opposes the depiction of Pietro and Giacomo dei Rossi as traitors in the Palazzo dei Notai in Parma, to avoid further inflaming the sentiments of the citizens.
Aug.LombardyHe must travel to Lodi, Cremona, and Brescia to restore ducal authority there. With his departure, disorder resumes, accompanied by looting and killings.
Sept.MilanPaduaEmiliaHe is first in Parma and then in Bologna with Gonzaga, attempting to persuade Facino Cane to accept peace between the Milanese duchy and the Papal State. Following the return of Bologna to the Papal authorities, Jacopo dal Verme, leading 1000 infantry and 500 cavalry, moves towards Brescia. He is accompanied by Terzi and Galeazzo da Mantova. Together, these three condottieri advance against the Carrara forces to free the citadel of Brescia, whose defenders had surrendered with the condition that they would not receive reinforcements within eight days.
Arriving in Casalmaggiore with the Ghibellines from Brescia, he soon reaches the walls at Porta San Giovanni. His initial assault is repelled, but Terzi persists, shifting towards Porta Pile. With the support of the Ghibellines, they manage to enter the city and resupply the citadel with arms and provisions. Two days later, the Carrara forces depart from the city under the cover of night. In the same month, Jacopo dal Verme successfully negotiates a truce with the Guelphs.
Nov.MilanComoLombardyAlongside Pandolfo Malatesta and the Vitani (partisans of the da Carcano and Grassi families), he marches from Cantù towards Como, a city controlled by the Rusca family. Franchino Rusca confronts them at Pratomarcio, a vast plain near Montorfano. The people of Como are defeated, and Franchino Rusca flees from Como to seek refuge in the castle of San Pietro, near Balerno. The city is sacked for fifty days and undergoes one of the most severe devastations in its history.
1404
Jan.LombardyOn the orders of Duchess Caterina Visconti, the widow of Gian Galeazzo, he, along with Pandolfo Malatesta and Delfino di Brivio, arrests Antonio Visconti, Antonio and Galeazzo Porro, Giovanni and Galeazzo Aliprandi, and other members of the Ghibelline faction in the castle of Monza. All of them, except Antonio Visconti, are beheaded on the same evening in Milan at the Castle of Porta Giovia, in front of the chapel of San Donato. The following day, their bodies are displayed to the public at the Broletto Nuovo in Piazza dei Mercanti.
Feb.MilanPaduaVenetoThe swift proceedings seem to have the upper hand over the resistance of the Ghibelline faction. Thus, Jacopo dal Verme can join Facino Cane in Montegalda, who is currently threatening Padua. The condottiero travels to Venice with Bishop Enrico Scrovegni of Feltre to request 100,000 florins from the Serenissima. This sum had been guaranteed by the Republic on behalf of the Lord of Padua the previous year during the signing of a peace treaty.
Apr.VenetoHe is still in Venice, negotiating peace with the Carrara family. However, he receives requests for help from the residents of Vicenza who are threatened by Francesco Novello da Carrara. With promptness, he tries to convince the Venetians to intervene in defense of the people of Vicenza and recruits troops to support them.
MayMilanRuscaLombardyOttone Rusca, with the assistance of the Guelf Casati faction, occupies Porta Nuova in Milan. In response, Jacopo dal Verme, along with Bertolino di Zambuono and Antonio Visconti, orders the bells of the arengo to ring. This leads to 400 Guelfs marking themselves with a white cross, while the Ghibellins mark themselves with a red one. The latter, with the help of Giacomo dalla Croce, chase the former to Sant’Anastasia and force their adversaries to flee after several clashes lasting for eight hours.
June – Aug.VenicePaduaLombardy, EmiliaIn mid-month, along with Antonio Visconti, he is contacted by the Florentine ambassador Piero Strozzi to initiate peace negotiations between Florence and the Duchy of Milan. Meanwhile, Duchess Caterina Visconti must flee from Milan, leaving Jacopo dal Verme in charge of the custody of the Castle of Porta Giovia.
Annoyed by the climate of suspicion and intrigue prevailing in the duchy, the condottiero temporarily withdraws from the Milanese political scene to once again fight against the Carrara family, who are in the service of the Venetians. While on his way to join the troops, he is captured in Ferrara by Niccolò d’Este but is soon released.
At the end of August, three men in Verona are hanged for attempting to have Porta Palio left open for him and for wanting to deliver Sanguinetto to him.
Sept.VenetoHe receives assistance from Malatesta Malatesta, who provides him with 12,000 men, including infantry and cavalry. With this support, he can now enter the Veronese territory alongside the provveditore Gabriele Emo.
Oct.Emilia, VenetoHe arrives in Piacenza to save the city from the destructive fury of Terzi, who demands 40,000 florins to settle his outstanding wages. He provides him with the money and manages to appease him by promising the delivery of the city’s fortresses as collateral. He then returns to the Veneto and campaigns through the Veronese territory alongside Terzi.
Nov.VenetoContinuing alongside Terzi, he captures the Chiusa Castle, effectively blocking the northern supply routes to Verona. They also conquer Crovara (Groara) and the fortress of Rivoli. Jacopo dal Verme constructs a strong bastion between Bussolengo, Pescantina, and Castelrotto. They secure Nogarole Rocca and Isola della Scala and carry out a raid into the territory of Piove di Sacco.
Dec.Veneto, LombardyUpon learning of the defeat and capture of the Venetian Giacomo Suriano at Roncà, he moves away from the Bussolengo camp in Valpolicella. He quickly rides into the Mantuan territory alongside Gonzaga. After returning to Verona, he attacks and drives off Giacomo da Carrara, who had left the capital with 800 cavalry and 1000 infantry to establish a bastion in Montagnana. Jacopo dal Verme captures 300 horses and seizes all the baggage trains.
1405
Jan.VenetoWith Gonzaga, he negotiates with some sentinels guarding a section of the walls in San Zeno, Verona. The army approaches without being detected, and through a breach, 300 to 400 horsemen enter the city. They seize three small towers located above Porta Calzari. Some armed men descend from the walls into the city to engage in combat between the gate and the Trinità monastery. The earthen wall is breached in ten points.
Giacomo da Carrara confronts Jacopo dal Verme with determination and wounds Gonzaga with a lance strike. Cecco da San Severino, Ludovico degli Obizzi, and Paolo Lion arrive as reinforcements, along with the support of the residents, and reclaim the position. In the skirmish, Giovanni Galluzzi is captured, and nearly all of the Venetians, around 400 men, are killed.
Even during the winter, operations do not cease, and Jacopo dal Verme continues his actions in the plain. Through negotiations, he secures control of Fagnano, Erbè, Pontepossero, Moradega, Castellaro, Nogara, and once again, Isola della Scala.
Feb.VenetoHe is reported to be in San Bonifacio alongside Gonzaga. Through negotiations, he acquires Illasi, Montorio Veronese, and nearly all of Valpantena. He returns to San Bonifacio and orders the construction of a bastion in Albarè.
Apr.VenetoHe recovers the bastion of Mezzane, where the Carrara family had previously dismantled the local garrison.
JuneVenetoVerona revolts after two unsuccessful assaults, both repelled by Giacomo da Carrara. Jacopo dal Verme, reached by a delegation from the city led by Pietro Sacco, gathers his troops in San Michele Extra and enters the city through Porta Calzari alongside the provveditore Gabriele Emo. Giacomo da Carrara retreats with his men to the Castle of San Martino. Jacopo dal Verme enters Castelvecchio after the city’s surrender to the Venetians. In a short time, the entire Veronese territory, up to Legnago, falls under the control of the Serenissima. Mid-month, he also secures Feltre and Belluno. Finally, he heads to Anguillara Veneta, breaks the banks of the Brenta to flood the Paduan region.
JulyVenetoHe moves with 700 lances to the siege of Padua, alongside Savelli and Gonzaga, although he declines to command the troops. He encourages the Venetians to continue the war against the Carrara family until the end because Padua is not only suffering from a lack of provisions but also from the plague.
Oct.VenetoHe withdraws to Vicenza. Once again, he declines the captaincy of the troops after the death of Paolo Savelli.
Dec.VenetoThe Doge Michele Steno grants him the land of Nogarole Rocca.
1406
Jan.Veneto, LombardyIn Venice, he persuades the Senate with two compelling arguments to which the Venetians are sensitive (“a dead man no longer makes war” and “savings on maintenance expenses”) on the necessity of killing all the members of the da Carrara family who were taken prisoner. The Council of Ten decides accordingly. Francesco Novello and his sons Giacomo and Francesco Terzo are confined in a cage in the Doge’s Palace, where they are put on trial for treason, sabotage, and corruption. In the middle of the month, the former lord of Padua is killed in prison after being attacked by 20 assassins. Dragged by his arms and feet, he is repeatedly beaten with a stick before being strangled by Bernardo Priuli. Similar fates befall his two sons, while bounties are placed on two others. All three are denied the possibility of a dignified funeral. The following morning, an official statement declares that all the prisoners died of a severe cold. The Serenissima Republic grants dal Verme a house in calle Corner in San Polo, which formerly belonged to Giacomo da Carrara. With his son Luigi’s defection in 1437, the palace is confiscated, and in 1439, it is assigned to Gattamelata and, subsequently, to Gattamelata’s son Giovannantonio upon the former’s death. Finally, in mid-June 1456, it is given to Francesco Sforza. dal Verme returns to Milan to try to negotiate a truce between the Guelfs and Ghibellines but ends up alienating the latter, who gather at Cassano d’Adda Castle.
Feb.Lombardydal Verme takes over command of military operations, replacing the Guelfs, with the support of Archbishop Pietro da Candia of Milan. The situation becomes increasingly chaotic, both externally with the presence of new rebels, both Guelfs and Ghibellines, such as the da Vignate in Lodi, the Colleoni in Trezzo sull’Adda, the Cavalcabò in Cremona, the Benzoni in Crema, and most notably, Facino Cane, the Terzi, and Pandolfo Malatesta, who are building their own personal states with bases in Alessandria, Parma, and Brescia, respectively. Internally, dal Verme has to deal with the whims and ferocious temper of Giovanni Maria Visconti. In an attempt to resolve the problem, dal Verme brings Carlo Malatesta into the government.
Apr. – MayMilanColleoniGeneral captainLombardydal Verme leads 5,000 cavalry, a large number of infantry (including many experienced soldiers), and over 1,000 sappers into the Bergamo region. His forces are well-equipped with wooden carts suitable for constructing bastions and a bridge to cross the Adda River, as well as numerous artillery pieces. He assists the Suardi family in gaining control of Bergamo from the local Ghibellines and lays siege to Paolo Colleoni, along with his brothers Giovanni and Pietro, in Trezzo sull’Adda. One of his captains captures the castle of Brembate from the Colleoni family. Galeazzo da Mantova negotiates the surrender of Marne, which was held by Andriolo Avogadro, as well as Suisio and Chignolo d’Isola (the latter had been abandoned by the Guelfs). In May, dal Verme attempts to capture Medolago but is killed by a crossbow bolt fired by Galeazzo da Mantova under the walls of the town. He then leaves the battlefield to devastate the pastures in the Lodigiano region, leaving behind 100 cavalry and 500 infantry, many of whom are crossbowmen under the command of Valeriano da Thiene to continue the siege operations.
JuneMilanLodiLombardydal Verme decides to abandon the siege of Trezzo sull’Adda at the end of the month. The defenders manage to set fire to the attackers’ shelters during a sortie, prompting his withdrawal. He then relocates once again to the Lodigiano region.
Aug.LombardyIn a surprise attack near Vaprio d’Adda, dal Verme is ambushed by Francesco and Antonio Visconti while accompanying many merchants and the new podestà of Bergamo, Domenico Inviziati, from Bergamo to Milan. The adversaries inflict severe losses on the convoy, and he sustains a head injury but manages to escape. The Guelfs seek his assistance against Facino Cane, and dal Verme persuades Terzi to fight for the Duke. The Milanese Ghibellines sign a four-month truce.
Dec.EmiliaOn Christmas Day, dal Verme is in Parma for the baptism of Niccolò Carlo, the son of Terzi, as the truce comes to an end.
1407
Feb.GuelphesCane, GhibellinesLombardyHe reconciles the Guelf Gabrino Fondulo, now allied against the Ghibellines, with the Terzi. Meanwhile, the adversaries led by Antonio and Francesco Visconti, Facino Cane, and Gabriele Maria Visconti advance together towards Milan. Having reached the Certosa di Garegnano, they assert their dominance over the duke; dal Verme is stripped of his offices and declared a public enemy. He again turns to Terzi; this one gathers 7000 men, comprising soldiers and exiles, motivated by the prospect of pillaging Milan. The commander bursts into the Bergamo area; he conquers Comun Nuovo, forcefully enters Spirano, Lurano, and Brignano Gera d’Adda; he clashes with the opponents at Pognano in a battle that leaves many dead on both sides; his troop breaks into the castle of Levate, seizing numerous heads of cattle and various spoils. He enters Mariano al Brembo and Osio Sotto, abandoned by the inhabitants in fear of his men; he crosses the Adda at Trezzo sull’Adda, advances up to Vimercate; he receives reinforcements from Pandolfo Malatesta, the Gonzaga, the Colleoni, Fondulo, the Venetians, and Cardinal Baldassarre Cossa. He occupies Desio, Magenta, and Rosate. He confronts Facino Cane, who had left Milan with 3000 men-at-arms, at Morimondo/Binasco; the setting sun halts the combat, favoring the adversaries. A nighttime assault on Facino Cane‘s encampments, on the other hand, gives dal Verme and the Guelfs a great victory: the opponent barely escapes first to Pavia and then to Alessandria with the remnants of his army.
Mar. – JuneLombardy, EmiliaHe enters Pavia with Ottobono Terzi and is hosted by Filippo Maria Visconti; he visits Milan during Holy Week. After a discussion with Duke Giovanni Maria Visconti, he brings the cumbersome ally into the city. Jacopo dal Verme is appointed governor of the duchy and the county of Pavia. The Ghibellines are besieged in the castle of Porta Giovia. Terzi insists on exterminating the opponents; dal Verme opposes him on this point and persuades him to abandon his plans. In his “moderate” agenda, there is no room for the extreme revenges planned by Terzi and the more fervent Milanese Guelfs. In June, he is demanded by the latter a large sum of money: he manages to remove him from Milan with great difficulty by delivering 100,000 florins and 400 oxen. Also in that month, he reaches Piacenza with numerous troops to control the state’s borders from that frontier.
July – Sept.LombardyHe reforms the ducal council: however, he cannot trust anyone, not even his faction comrades, who are equally unleashed and brutal. Ottobono Terzi captures a convoy of merchants on the Po River because he was denied the salaries stipulated by his contract; in retaliation, Jacopo dal Verme attempts to bribe his troops. One of his emissaries, discovered in Parma while trying to accomplish this, is blinded and has his hands cut off. Terzi has dal Verme depicted in a corner of the town square, hung by one foot as a traitor.
…………LombardyHe surrenders to the facts and recalls Carlo Malatesta to Milan.
1409
Feb.VenetoHe returns to the service of the Venetians. His end is shrouded in legend; some believe he travels to the East and dies fighting against the Turks, as had already happened with his father; others say that death suddenly took him in Venice in mid-February, perhaps in his palace in San Polo or in his castle in Sanguinetto. He is buried in Verona beside his father in the church of the Hermits of Sant’Eufemia; the heart and entrails, however, are interred in Venice in the church of Santo Stefano. In his will, he bequeaths his Pavia palace to the Hermits of the church of San Pietro in Ciel d’Oro so that with the proceeds from the sale, the ark of Saint Augustine, a work by da Campione, may be moved from the sacristy of the church to a more suitable place. There is no portrait of Jacopo dal Verme. Citizen of Piacenza, Milan, Pavia; in Parma, he resides near the church of San Giorgio. Corresponds with Petrarch, as his father did. Antonio Loschi writes a panegyric in his honor; friend of the humanist Giovanni Manzini. The crest of Jacopo dal Verme, depicted on his tomb, features the head and neck of a green or blue dragon, next to a red arm holding a red cord around the neck of the dragon. Legend has it that a valiant ancestor of the family had killed a huge serpent that was causing damage and deaths in the Verona area, and that since then the dal Verme family had placed the serpent or dragon crest above their coat of arms. He marries Cia degli Ubaldini, daughter of Gaspare, and Francesca Brancaleoni, daughter of Francesco, lord of Castel Durante (Urbania), after obtaining a special dispensation from Pope Boniface IX‘s commissioner, Bishop Oddone Colonna.

Sources

-“Capitano che avrebbe sollevato molto più del Barbiano il proprio nome, se come lui fosse nato libero signore di terre e di castelli, e non già suddito di un gran principe, ai cui cenni era obbligato di conformare giorno e notte tutte le sue forze, i suoi disegni e la gloria sua..Fu una delle glorie della milizia italiana..Divenuto dei più famosi condottieri dell’età sua, contribuì potentemente al risveglio delle armi italiane.” CIPOLLA

-“Va considerato come insigne restauratore della milizia italiana.” PIERI

-“E’ chiaro che Jacopo non fu un personaggio vistoso e le sue campagne di guerra ce lo presentano piuttosto come un professionista serio e alieno da atti arrischiati…Continua la tradizione della famiglia e, come capitano, acquistò una fama persino maggiore di quella del padre…(Nella campagna contro Giovanni Acuto) le doti militari del dal Verme ebbero modo di esprimersi chiaramente: attraverso la ferrea disciplina che riusciva ad imporre, egli raggiungeva un pieno controllo dell’esercito e quindi riusciva a fargli effettuare rapide manovre; inoltre egli cercava di evitare grossi rischi, ma era sempre pronto a compiere, al momento giusto, una decisa azione di attacco. I panegirici che di lui scrisse Antonio Loschi, sia in questa occasione sia in seguito, non erano meri esercizi di retorica cortese ma, almeno in parte, derivano dalla genuina ammirazione dei contemporanei per le sue capacità militari… Il dal Verme fu un ricco proprietario terriero. Nel 1377 aveva recuperato le proprietà familiari site nel Veronese che erano state confiscate al padre nel 1354, al tempo dell’esilio. Queste proprietà, che avevano il loro centro nel castello di Sanguinetto, furono arricchite negli ultimi decenni del secolo XIV da donazioni scaligere e viscontee. Nel 1405 il dal Verme ottenne da Venezia il possesso a vita del castello di Nogarole, come ricompensa dei suoi servigi durante le guerre contro Padova. Oltre queste terre, egli possedeva il feudo di Monguzzo concessogli da Giangaleazzo nel 1380 ed alcuni feudi nel Piacentino. Dalla Chiesa di Bobbio ebbe anche un certo numero di feudi ecclessiastici e nel 1400 il castello di Fortunago.” MALLETT

-“E’ una delle più nobili figure che l’Italia vanti nei tempi delle Compagnie di ventura; gentiluomo, prudente, ardimentoso e giusto.” ARGEGNI

-“Huomo dell’arte militare peritissimo.” PILONI

-“Homo da honorare.” ALIPRANDI

-“Principal lume e splendore della famiglia; conciosia che questo huomo, di gran presenza e di eccellente ingegno, riuscì pieno di gloria e appresso ogniuno con illustre fama, non meno di virtù, che di fatti notabili.” SANSOVINO

-“Personaggio molto riputato.” PIGNA

-“Fu gran condottiero al servizio dei Visconti ed uno degli insigni restauratori della milizia italiana nel secolo XIV.” TABARRINI

-“Che a tutte le occasioni haveva gli occhi.” TARCAGNOTA

-“Capitano di gran conto per il valore del braccio e per l’incorrotto animo.” MAGENTA

-“Celebre capitano del 1300.” MENSI

-“Milite fortissimo..militem gloriosum.” REDUSIO

-“Uomo quanto di robustezza e di ardire altrettanto di senno e di accortezza fornito.” LANCETTI

-“Famoso condottiero.” G. GALLI

-“Capitano di carattere integro e di morali sentimenti.” AMBROGETTI

-“Illustre condottiero nato a Verona da famiglia ghibellina.” PAOLINI

-“Primarium fuisse hac aetate et principem nostrae civitatis.” BILLIA

-“Uno dei più celebri condottieri del secolo e degli insigni ristauratori della milizia italiana..Era d’animo deliberato e ne’ maneggi politici molto avveduto.” LITTA

-“Uno dei più celebri condottieri del suo tempo e dei più insigni restauratori della milizia italiana.” BOSI

-“Honore militie Jacobus del Verme coruscus, discipline militaris italiam decus, in excelsis ducis fastigio precipuus consultor et verus.” MARZAGAIA

-“Lume e splendore della famiglia.” CAMPI

-“Soldato di gran valore e nella disciplina militare sufficientissimo..Intimo e principale consigliere e generale dell’esercito del duca Giovan Galeazzo.” GHILINI

-“Inclyto ea tempestate.” PLATINA

-“Superò suo padre nella gloria militare.” SPRETI

-“His keen and intimate criticism of the forestieri (condottieri stranieri) was characteristic of a new generation of native condottieri, which emerged in the decade 1370-80. This group, with a largely Italian following, had served an instructive apprenticeship as lieutenants of the great foreign captains. It acquired a wide and intimate knowledge of the temper and techniques of the ultramontane leaders. It did not hesitate to borrow the heavy defensive armour and offensive spirit which in the past had lent weight and striking power to the foreigners’ attaque brusquée against the more lighting armed Italian cavalry.” BAYLEY

-“Eminente fra tutti.” VALERI

-“Prudente capitano.” GOZZADINI

-“Gran capitano.” MUZZI

-“Capitano di molta stima in quei tempi.” MAFFEI

-“Non meno illustre del padre.” SAGLIO

-“Il miglior condottiero italiano degli anni a cavallo tra il XIV e il XV secolo.” BARLUCCHI

-“La vita..non fu che una lunga, diuturna fatica; quel Capitano fu uno dei protagonisti principali delle guerre che si rinnovavano con crescente violenza in quella seconda metà del secolo XIV ..Portò innovazioni notevoli nell’ordinamento militare di quei tempi; seppe mantenere una ferrea disciplina fra le sue milizie, e si oppose contro l’intemperanza dei suoi uomini, impedendo loro di commettere atti crudeli contro i vinti e gli inermi..Le doti militari..culminarono in quella particolare audacia e intraprendenza in cui conduceva ogni sua azione, tanto che non si arrestò mai davanti ad alcun ostacolo..Fedele.” BIGNAMI

-“The shadowy but noble figure.” E.R. CHAMBERLIN

-Con Giovanni Acuto “Erano due Condottieri di gran nome.” PIGNOTTI

-“Si comporta con assoluta correttezza e fedeltà nei confronti dei suoi committenti.” BALESTRACCI

-Con Paolo Savelli, Pandolfo Malatesta e Giovanni Colonna “Capitani i più rinomati di quel tempo.” AMIANI

-Con Ottobono Terzi, Alberico da Barbiano, Galeazzo da Mantova, Facino Cane, Pandolfo Malatesta “peritissimos belli duces.” BRACCIOLINI

-Con Ottobono Terzi, Alberico da Barbiano, Francesco Gonzaga, Facino Cane, Pandolfo Malatesta “Condottieri di stima assai in questo tempo.” PORRO LAMBERTENGHI

-Con Ottobono Terzi e Niccolò da Tolentino “Capitani assai celebrati per valor guerriero.” V. DE CONTI

-“Prode e fedelissimo condottiero.” RICOTTI

-Alla battaglia di Castellazzo “E la gente di Francia mal’accorta/ Tratta con arte, ove la rete è tesa/ Col conte di Arminiaco, la cui scorta/ L’avea condotta all’infelice impresa/ Giaccia per tutta la Campagna morta.” Dall’Orlando Furioso di L. ARIOSTO

-Responsabile della morte di Francesco Novello da Carrara “Ma il Dal Verme entro cui dì e notte inspira/ Le furie sue più rabide l’inferno,/ Vi reca d’esse alfin la fiamma d’ira/ Per trasfonderla in quei ch’hanno il governo:/ Gl’induce a paventar fin che respira/ L’uom che nemico avranno sempiterno,/ Che altra volta abbattuto, fier risorse/ E di mobil fortuna esemplo porse.” GABARDI BROCCHI

-“A mercenary who was not also a diplomat. Jacopo Dal Verme served the Visconti as an envoy to Pope Gregory XI during the War of Eight saints and to his native city, Verona, in 1380.. The Skillful Italian condottiere” CAFERRO

-“Abile uomo di guerra.” SCARDIGLI

-“Fu animato da tale odio per Facino Cane suo rivale, da farne costruire una statua che ordinò fosse decapitata in una macabra messinscena…Limpida figura.” TANZINI

-“Valoroso capitano.” CASALIS

-“E fra tanto collegio d’onor parme/Messer dal Vermo al trionfante nome/Di sue franchezze die senza sforzarme.” Cambino Aretino riportato da FABRETTI

-“Onesto e valoroso.” A. VISCONTI

-“Jacopo, fils de Luchino est sans doute le plus célèbre des représentants de la famille, devant son père et devant, sono fils, Luigi… Quoique d’origine  véronaise, les Dal Verme sont, après quelque temps considerés comme des Lombards, voire comme des Milanais… Les grands talents militaires de Jacopo font sans doute de lui le plus grand soldat de la famille. On tient là la clef de son succès sur laquelle on ne dispose hélas pas d’énormément de documention. On a pu insister sur sa prudence et son style plus flanboyant. Peut-etre son style militaire était-il plus prudent que virtuose, mais l’importance objective de ses victories fait de sa carrière militaire une pleine réussite et lui permit.. d’accomplir un parcours social et politique exceptionel.” SAVY

-Epitaffio inscritto sulla tomba veneziana “Hanc quia semper erat cum corde affectus ad urbem,/ Interiora suo hic voluit cum corde locari,/ Caetera sed reddi patriae sua membra Veronae,/ Jacobus armorum Princeps de Verme, Latinae/ Militiae sublimis honor, quem gloria rerum/ Gestarum in bello, quem pacis sancta togata/ Consilia illustrem, et nulla fecere secundum./ Ipsius anguingena tam summum pondus in aula/ Vox habuit. Cepit Gallos, virtute fugavit/ Germanos. Sic Italiam, sic victor ademit/ Gentibus externis. Aliis ac saepe subactis/ Hostibus, imperio Ligurum ducis oppida, et urbis/ Addidit in toto fama notissimus orbe./ Hic quoque pro augenda Veneti ditione Senatus;/ Cujus erat pars, ipse tulit feliciter arma./ Luce obiit 10 anni bis Sena in mense segunto/ Mille novem, centumque quater currentibus annis.”

Featured image: Catalogo Beni Culturali
Other images: Wikimedia, Catalogo Beni Culturali

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