sabato, Giugno 15, 2024

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

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Niccolò da Tolentino: A Renaissance Warrior Remembered in Art and History

Italian CondottieriNiccolò da Tolentino: A Renaissance Warrior Remembered in Art and History

Having fled from home at a very young age due to hatred towards his stepmother, he turned to the profession of arms. A skilled military engineer, he quickly became well-known as a condottiero. Eventually, while serving the Florentines against the Duke of Milan, Filippo Maria Visconti, he was captured in an ambush set by the ducal forces near Castel Bolognese. While being transported from Milan to Bardi to be imprisoned in the castle there, he was thrown into a ravine in the Val di Taro out of revenge. Honored by the Florentines, his image appears in a triptych by Paolo Uccello and in a fresco by Andrea del Castagno in Florence in Santa Maria del Fiore. A devotee of the Augustinian friar Nicola da Tolentino, he exerted considerable pressure on Pope Eugene IV for his canonization.

Indice delle Signorie dei Condottieri: ABCDEFGIJLMNOPQRSTUVZ

Niccolò da Tolentino’s Impact on Medieval Warfare.

Condottiero, military engineer, and patron. Discover his journey from a young runaway to a celebrated figure in Florentine art and history.

Niccolò da Tolentino (Niccolò Mauruzzi, Niccolò della Stacciola) of Tolentino. Count of Stacciola. Lord of Chiari and Sansepolcro (received as fiefs from the Malatesta) and of Caldarola. Father of Cristoforo da Tolentino, Baldovino da Tolentino, and Giovanni da Tolentino.

Death: 1435, March

Year, monthState, Comp. venturaOpponentConductActivity AreaActions taken and other salient facts
………CremonaLombardy, EmiliaHe fled from home due to his hatred for his stepmother and served under Gabrino Fondulo. He was sent to Parma to Ottobono Terzi to propose an alliance.
JulyEmiliaHe returned to Parma to offer Terzi, on behalf of Fondulo, the lordship of Cremona. He joined Fondulo, followed him with Biancarello to Maccastorna, and welcomed into the castle Carlo Cavalcabò, Andreasio, Ludovico, Giacomo Cavalcabò, and Bolognino Boccatorta. A grand banquet was organized in honor of the guests; at its conclusion, Niccolò da Tolentino escorted Fondulo’s wife to Cremona while Biancarello killed all the Cavalcabò. After the execution of this plan, the condottiero reached Cava Tigozzi with Maffeo Moro, Giovanni Fondulo, and Sparapano, where they awaited Fondulo and entered Cremona with him, leading the armed men through the Porta di San Luca. He attended the general council at the end of which Fondulo was elected lord of the city by majority vote. With Sparapano’s expulsion from Cremona, he was appointed castellan of San Luca and joined Fondulo’s war council.
Sept. – Oct.CremonaViadanaLombardyHe took the road to Casalmaggiore, tasked with devastating the possessions of the Cavalcabò. He occupied and sacked Cicognara, Cogozzo, Pieve Delmona, and San Daniele Po; he besieged Antonio Balestrazzo in Viadana, who was defending the widow of Carlo Cavalcabò.
Feb.CremonaMilanLombardyHe participated in the Battle of Morimondo.
MayLombardyHe opposed the militias of Facino Cane. Leading 600 horsemen and 2000 infantry, he attempted, along with Bernardo Zaccaria, to occupy Soncino. The attempt failed due to the betrayal of Tebaldo Picenardi, who revealed the plan to the Barbuò, the guards of the town.
………BresciaLombardyHe was in the service of Pandolfo Malatesta, the lord of Brescia.
………MarcheHe received the castle of Stacciola and other lands in Lombardy, in the territory of Chiari, as a fief from Malatesta.
Nov.BresciaLombardyHe opposed the rebels near Chiari, who were allied with Gabrino Fondulo, the lord of Cremona, against the lord of Brescia.
………LombardyHe was captured by the opponents along with Niccolò Greneri.
………MarcheHe quelled some uprisings in the Malatesta lands in Mondolfo and San Costanzo.
1415BresciaGhibelliniLombardyHe assisted Malatesta in the conquest of Lovere, a town located at the top of Lake Iseo.
July – Aug.BresciaMilanLombardyHe was sent with Biancarello to assist Fondulo due to threats from the Visconti forces led by Carmagnola. Leaving Pontevico, he joined the Cremonese at Castelvisconti in less than six days. Fondulo divided the army into two divisions: the first led by Fondulo himself, accompanied by Biancarello, and the second by Niccolò da Tolentino. At the beginning of August, he arrived at Pieve Delmona, where he defeated Opicino Alciati and Giorgio Valperga, capturing more than 300 horsemen, 50 infantry, and a hundred exiled Cremonese, all of whom were sent in chains to the capital. In a short time, on behalf of Fondulo, he reclaimed Casalmorano, Grontorto, Soresina, Trigolo, Pescarolo, and all the castles up to Pumenengo, where Opicino Alciati was stationed, except for Bordolano (defended by Giorgio Valperga) and Soncino (Giacomo di Covo). In various skirmishes, he captured 500 horsemen from the ducal forces, led by various captains such as Angelo della Pergola and Giacomo di Covo. He then rejoined Fondulo.
LombardyHe captured Pumenengo. He then moved to Asola and strengthened its defensive works.
………LombardyIn a raid, he led his troops up to the walls of Milan; from the Porta Vercellina (Porta Magenta), he took the two chains of the drawbridge and a bell.
JuneLombardyHe left Orzinuovi and Quinzano d’Oglio to be sent once more with Biancarello to assist Gabrino Fondulo, who was struggling against Luigi dal Verme. He moved towards Castelleone, where the ducal forces were repelled. With the arrival of Carmagnola, he, along with Biancarello and 2000 rural militia men from the Cremonese area, clashed with the opponents. Two-thirds of his men managed to escape beyond the Oglio River, while one-third suffered heavy losses in terms of dead and wounded. The defenders of Castelleone surrendered.
………LombardyHe vigorously defended the castle of Garda. During this period, under his direction, the reconstruction of the city’s defensive works in Asola continued, including the connection between the two fortresses.
SummerLombardyHe faced Carmagnola in the defense of Brescia, making daring sorties from Chiari.
Oct.LombardyWith the defeat at Montichiari of the reinforcements led by Ludovico Migliorati, he could no longer rely on sufficient forces to continue the fight in the open field. He retreated to Chiari and continued to vigorously defend the castle of Garda, which would fall only the following year.
Apr.MarcheWith the defeat of Pandolfo Malatesta, he left Lombardy and returned to the Marche alongside him.
JuneFlorenceMilanMarshalRomagnaHe fought the Visconti forces under Malatesta’s command. He was elected marshal. He arrived in Forlì and met with the Florentine commissioner Rinaldo degli Albizzi in Bertinoro.
Sept.RomagnaHe attacked Fabrizio da Capua, who was escorting a load of grapes with 1000 horsemen towards Carpegna and Magliano. He pursued his adversaries but fell into an ambush set for him at the Ronco bridge by Angelo della Pergola and Secco da Montagnana. He lost 1300 horsemen in the capture.
Oct.RomagnaHe attacked Fiumana with 700 horsemen and took part in a war council in Forlimpopoli with Malatesta and other captains. He reached Ghiaggiolo with 500 horsemen and 150 infantry to convince Ramberto Malatesta to abandon his alliance with the Visconti. He was received amicably outside the castle; suddenly, Ramberto Malatesta reentered and locked himself inside, signaling the dukes for help with smoke signals. The Florentines breached the palisades and walls of the villages, approaching the fortress. At night, Pandolfo Malatesta withdrew, leaving Tolentino to continue the siege alone. After a few days, 60 Milanese infantry managed to penetrate the Florentine lines and enter Ghiaggiolo. Niccolò da Tolentino led a new assault, which was repelled; in retaliation, he had all the straw burned and the local mill destroyed, capturing all of Ramberto Malatesta’s castles except Segone. He returned to camp with the heavy cavalry. He then also left Ghiaggiolo, leaving only the infantry to maintain the siege.
Feb.TuscanyHe was at Firenzuola with 200 lances.
SpringRomagnaHe opposed the Visconti forces still in Romagna.
May – JuneChurchKing of AragonAbruzzoHe entered the service of Pope Martin V. He followed Jacopo Caldora and Francesco Sforza to L’Aquila to liberate the city from the siege laid by Braccio di Montone.
JulyFlorenceMilanRomagnaHe took part in the siege of Forlì. He was defeated and put to flight at Zagonara by Angelo della Pergola; he was among the first to enter the combat. He escaped capture with only 40 horsemen, with whom he retreated to Oriolo (Riolo Terme).
Nov.1200 cavalryRomagna
Feb.RomagnaHe was once again defeated in Val di Lamone at Pieve d’Ottavio and was captured by the Manfredi along with Niccolò Piccinino and Niccolò Orsini. He was taken to Faenza.
Mar.RomagnaHe was released by Guidantonio Manfredi. The lord of Faenza defected to the Florentine camp. Niccolò da Tolentino assisted him in a raid in the Imola area, which ended with 100 prisoners and the seizure of a large amount of livestock.
Aug.RomagnaHe returned to the Faenza area, fighting against Petrino da Tortona, who carried out raids up to the gates of the capital.
Oct.TuscanyHe was defeated by Francesco Sforza and Guido Torelli at Anghiari, where he lost 300 horsemen and 500 infantry.
Dec.UmbriaNiccolò Piccinino entered the service of the Visconti and established his residence in Lugnano in Teverina. Niccolò da Tolentino left his camp at night with a squad of horsemen, reached the house where his rival captain resided, took the horses from the stable, and set fire to the straw stored there. Piccinino escaped by throwing himself down a cliff behind his house.
Mar.400 lances
SpringTuscany, Emilia, LombardyWhen Angelo della Pergola, Niccolò Piccinino, Guido Torelli, and Secco da Montagnana left Tuscany and Romagna to join forces in Lombardy with Francesco Sforza to defend Brescia from the Venetians, Niccolò da Tolentino also left central Italy with 4000 horsemen and 3000 infantry. His objective was to join the allied army of Carmagnola. He assisted Niccolò d’Este on the Panaro River to block the adversaries’ passage. However, the Visconti forces, due to the inactivity of the Marquis of Ferrara, managed to cross the river at Vignola and join the rest of the ducal forces.
Sept. – Nov.Emilia, LombardyHe moved to the siege of Brescia. Carmagnola took control of the old citadel of San Nazzaro while he, along with Luigi dal Verme and Arrigo della Tacca, besieged the other city forts. He proposed the construction of a double moat (5 miles long, 12 arms high, and equipped with bastions) around the city, which allowed them to capture the fortifications at the gates one by one and, in November, also the castle. The work was prolonged due to his conflicts with Carmagnola, who, due to his arrogance, was reluctant to accept his suggestions. In the same month, he was given 1000 ducats as compensation for damages caused by a fire in his quarters.
Apr.LombardyHe was at the camp in Castenedolo with Carmagnola and 1200 horsemen.
MayLombardyHe was caught off guard with Carmagnola at Gottolengo, with their men in disarray, by Piccinino, Torelli, Angelo della Pergola, and Sforza. He vigorously resisted the enemy assault; the outcome of the clash remained uncertain until the arrival of Gian Francesco Gonzaga helped to balance the fight.
Sept.EmiliaHe secured passage over the Po River from Rolando Pallavicini near Polesine; leading 1000 horsemen and 1000 infantry, he raided the Piacenza area up to Fiorenzuola d’Arda and Pontenure. The spoils were taken to Busseto, land of the Pallavicini.
Oct.LombardyHe played a significant role in the Battle of Maclodio, where he was positioned with Bernardino degli Ubaldini della Carda in an ambush in a forest near a dike that cut through a swamp. When the Visconti forces crossed a bridge, he attacked them from behind with 2000 men, preventing their retreat. Following the victory, he, along with Carmagnola, occupied Pontoglio, Roccafranca, Castrezzato, and Chiari.
Nov.LombardyChiari was granted to Carmagnola by the Venetians; Doge Francesco Foscari promised Niccolò da Tolentino other possessions as compensation.
Apr.LombardyHe opposed the adversaries at the bridge of Mella.
JulyEmiliaHe entered Busseto with 400 horsemen to support Rolando Pallavicini, who had left the Visconti camp for that of the league.
Aug.ChurchBologna300 lances, 200 infantryEmilia, Tuscany, RomagnaAlong with Antongaleazzo Bentivoglio, Gattamelata, Jacopo Caldora, and Micheletto Attendolo, he was tasked with reconquering Bologna, which had rebelled against the Papal States instigated by the Canedoli. He left Lombardy with 1200 horsemen and stopped near Medicina; the Bolognese invited him to leave the territory. He was unexpectedly attacked by Luigi da San Severino, who defeated him, capturing 400 horsemen and many wagons, resulting in a total loss of 3000 ducats. He retreated to Piancaldoli in the Florentine territory, then moved towards Imola with Bentivoglio and Attendolo.
Sept.EmiliaHe captured Castel Guelfo di Bologna. He also took control of Riccardina, Budrio, and Pieve di Cento.
Feb.EmiliaHe obtained Castelfranco Emilia through a treaty, facilitated by one of his soldiers who was a friend of a servant of the castellan. He found the main gate of the major fortress open, besieged the minor fortress, and forced the commissioners Bonifacio and Tommaso Zambeccari to surrender within a few days. The inhabitants paid him several thousand florins to avoid being sacked.
Mar.EmiliaAfter futile assaults on the walls of Bologna, he seized the church of Santa Maria in Monte; from this position, he bombarded the city.
JulyRomagnaHe left the field and went to Cesena to visit Carlo Malatesta.
Oct. – Dec.Romagna, LazioHe departed from the Bologna area again and went to Rimini for the funeral of Carlo Malatesta. The conflict concluded in the same days; Niccolò da Tolentino stayed for a few days in the Forlì area with other condottieri. He then went to Rome to receive his pay; in mid-December, he stopped once more in the Forlì area.
Feb.RomagnaHe was in Bertinoro on behalf of the Malatesta. He was contacted by both the Visconti and the Venetians but preferred the service of the latter.
Apr.400 lances, 300 infantryRomagnaHe was sent to Cesenatico to aid Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta, who was threatened by his relatives from Pesaro.
MayRomagnaThere was a tumult in Rimini caused by Giovanni Malatesta against Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta. He met with the Venetian ambassador Marco Barbo to ensure that Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta retained lordship over Rimini; he encamped outside the city with his company.
JulyChurchBolognaEmiliaUnder the orders of Jacopo Caldora and the Bishop of Tarpeja, he continued to fight the Bolognese. He reached Cento, Corticella, and San Giovanni in Persiceto, and attacked the capital.
Feb.MilanVenice, Florence400 lances, 200 infantryLombardyThe Visconti granted him a two-year contract for 400 lances, 200 infantry, and ten crossbowmen as his personal guard. Each lance was assured a monthly salary of 14 florins, 3 florins for the infantry, and 7 for the crossbowmen. Niccolò da Tolentino encamped in Ghiaradadda.
Mar.LombardyWith Sforza, he set an ambush for Carmagnola among the thickets of Azzanello: in the so-called Battle of Soncino, the Venetians suffered the capture of 1000 to 1500 horsemen and 500 infantry. Niccolò da Tolentino reached Mozzanica and then headed towards Cremona.
JuneLombardyHe contributed to the destruction of the Venetian fleet at Casalmaggiore, preventing Carmagnola from intervening against the Visconti fleet. In the clash, 2500 men were killed (2000 among the Venetians), and a rich booty came into the hands of the victors.
JulyLombardy, Emilia, RomagnaThe arrival of Niccolò Piccinino in Lombardy wounded his pride, especially since he was not appointed captain general contrary to the promises made to him. Filippo Maria Visconti, to appease him, elected him his vicar; however, he did not accept this, received 20,000 ducats from the Venetians, and defected to the Florentine camp with his entire company. Instead of moving from Ghiaradadda towards Crema, he relocated to the Bergamo area and joined the troops of the Serenissima. He stayed at Castel Bolognese and threatened Giovanni di Cunio in Romagna, who had sheltered some men-at-arms who had left his company. Guidantonio Manfredi alerted the troops to monitor the borders. Niccolò da Tolentino linked up with the Florentines in Imola and Castel San Pietro Terme; he was then allowed to enter the service of Pope Eugene IV. He advanced towards Ravenna, damaged the countryside of Cesena, and headed towards Rome.
Aug. – Sept.ChurchColonnaStandard bearer of the Papal StatesUmbria, LazioIn the vicinity of Perugia, he was handed the gonfalone of the Papal States. He began to fight the Colonna family, attacking Paliano and capturing Sciarra Colonna. The enemies were soon in a difficult position, although Niccolò da Tolentino was delayed for some time due to the sudden illness of the pope, attributed to poison. In September, the Colonna surrendered, paid a penalty of 75,000 ducats to the Papal States, and returned Narni, Orte, and Soriano nel Cimino, which they had received from Martin V. For his efforts, the pope granted Niccolò da Tolentino the fief of Borgo San Sepolcro (Sansepolcro).
Apr.FlorenceMilan, Siena, LuccaUmbriaThe Florentines gave him 52,000 florins. At the insistence of Cosimo de’ Medici, he reached San Gismondo and advanced towards Fiume. He sought to block the path of Emperor Sigismund of Hungary, who was leading his troops from Siena towards Rome. He rode through the Perugia area and, in Orvieto, seized a castle from a Sienese captain.
MayGeneral captainTuscanyHe positioned himself near Arezzo but did not wait for the arrival of Commissioner Luca degli Albizzi, who was coming from Montevarchi. With 700 men, he set out to ambush the Sienese forces under Francesco Piccinino at night. However, he failed to surprise his adversaries, who had been forewarned of his intentions. Before returning to camp, he advanced to Montepulciano, which was besieged by the Sienese; he managed to get supplies and a contingent of soldiers into the city. Within 24 hours, he covered more than 70 kilometers and seized 6000 head of livestock, both large and small. Deciding not to wait for Micheletto Attendolo, who was camped near Pisa, he moved to Val d’Elsa in agreement with the Florentine commissioners, aiming for Linari and Gambassi, which were besieged by the Sienese. He spent three days assembling an army of 2000 horsemen and 1500 infantry. After a day, he arrived at Poggibonsi, sent some men to recover Linari, and moved with the rest of his troops southwest to intercept the enemy and block their route to Siena. The Sienese evaded his movements, executed a turnaround, and headed towards Valdarno, occupying Pontedera during their march. Niccolò da Tolentino was forced to retake Linari, which had fallen into enemy hands in the meantime; he threatened to hang all the defenders of the town if they were captured. At the end of the month, he ordered the attack; four breaches were made in the walls with small bombard shots. He captured the center, defended by 100 infantrymen. Many were killed; the walls were demolished, and half of the houses were destroyed by fire set by his men to punish the population for supporting the adversaries. He then advanced towards Gambassi, which continued to resist.
JuneTuscanyHe overlooks the Valdarno; on a Sunday, he attacks the Sienese who are engaged in besieging Montopoli. He personally scouts the terrain and, without hesitation, launches his men in an assault on Capanne, near Castel del Bosco (San Romano). He commands the fourth division behind Niccolò da Pisa, l’Attaccabriga, and Carapella. Bernardino degli Ubaldini della Carda and Antonio da Pontedera oppose him with their cavalry. Victory seems to favor the Sienese as they capture Niccolò da Pisa and Pietro Guido Torelli; l’Attaccabriga is thrown from his horse. Micheletto Attendolo arrives to assist the Tolentino; the Florentines return to the fight and secure the final victory (capturing 600 Sienese cavalry). To commemorate the victory, the government of Florence orders an annual procession to thank Saint Rossore, whose head is preserved in the church of Ognissanti in a bust made about ten years earlier by Donatello. On this occasion, despite the victory, Tolentino falls victim to a rumor claiming he was trapped by his adversaries and saved only by the prompt intervention of Attendolo. The Sienese believe these rumors to the extent that local chroniclers describe the clash as a Florentine defeat. Niccolò da Tolentino positions himself at the siege of Pontedera. He cannot seize the location due to the lack of artillery; immediately, he does not continue operations to conquer the territory because the Florentines prefer that he ravage the surrounding area for a few days. He is given 2,000 florins for the victory.
JulyTuscanyHe quarters with Micheletto Attendolo in Capannoli; from here, he moves against Lucca, which is defended by the imperial forces of Sigismund of Hungary (Sigismondo d’Ungheria). Repelled, partly due to the continuous disputes he has with Attendolo, he retreats into the Pisan territory. He moves into the Maremma with 2,000 soldiers; after suffering some losses, including at the castle of Ambra, he withdraws to the Aretine region. He stops at Bettole where the soldiers demand their overdue pay.
Aug.TuscanyHe approaches Montevarchi; in Valdarno, he attacks the castle of Caposelvi, defended by Antonello della Serra and Antonello d’Asinalunga. He breaks part of the fortress walls with bombards, and within a few days, he secures the defenders’ surrender on terms. He withdraws due to the intervention of Ludovico Colonna.
………TuscanyWith 500 cavalry and 500 infantry, he forcibly captures the castle of Uliveto Terme after an intense artillery barrage. The castle is sacked, and the inhabitants, taken prisoner, are required to pay a ransom to secure their freedom.
Apr.TuscanyPeace is signed between the contenders.
JuneTuscanyHe is solemnly presented with the staff of Captain General in Florence. He moves to Pisa: upon hearing the news of the expulsion from Florence of Cosimo de’ Medici, his friend, by the supporters of Rinaldo degli Albizzi, he leaves the Pisan territory and leads his company to Lastra to secure Cosimo’s release. He approaches the walls of Florence. The supporters of Cosimo de’ Medici persuade him to desist from his intervention. He withdraws with his men towards the plain of San Salvi outside the Porta alla Croce or Santa Candida. He returns to Pisa.
Nov.ChurchSforzaGeneral captainRomagnaHe checks the advance of Sforza in Romagna, who is intent on carving out his own territory in the Marca of Ancona. He is at Meldola with his son Baldovino da Tolentino to prevent any potential incursions.
Dec.RomagnaHe goes to Castrocaro Terme and takes lodging in the village of Molino della Croce, all at the expense of the inhabitants. Through the Trinci family, he strikes an agreement with Berardo da Varano.
………FlorenceMilanGeneral captainUmbriaIn Orvieto to protect the pope in case of an eventual escape from Rome, the inhabitants of the city reject him and do not supply him with provisions, not even for payment.
Mar. – MayMarcheBerardo da Varano seizes Tolentino. He wishes to intervene in the defense of the city, but is warned against doing so by the Florentine commissioner Luca degli Albizzi.
Aug.EmiliaHe reaches the camp at Castel Bolognese with Venetians and Papal forces. He falls into an ambush set by Piccinino; the Visconti forces feign a retreat, pursued by his men. Niccolò da Tolentino tries in vain to stop them. He orders his sons Baldovino, Giovanni, and Cristoforo da Tolentino to wait for him on a bridge over the Sanguinario stream and plunges into the fray. Meanwhile, Piccinino sends a contingent of 800 men-at-arms behind Tolentino’s lines, cutting off any escape routes for the Papal forces. Tolentino realizes the bridge is occupied by the enemy because his sons have abandoned their assigned position; he then crosses the stream at a ford. His horse slips while climbing the bank, and the condottiero is captured along with many other captains such as Taddeo d’Este, Pietro Giampaolo Orsini, Astorre Manfredi, Cesare da Martinengo, Giovanni Malavolti, and Guerriero da Marsciano (a total of 3,500 cavalry and 1,000 infantry out of 6,000 cavalry and 3,000 infantry).
………LombardyHe is imprisoned in Milan. The ransom requests made by the Florentines and the pressures exerted on the Duke of Milan by the Venetians and the Papal forces are to no avail. Niccolò Piccinino himself intervenes on his behalf at the urging of the Perugians.
Mar.EmiliaWhile being transported from Milan to Bardi, he is thrown into a ravine in the Val di Taro; no one believes the official version of an accidental fall. Found mortally wounded, he is taken to Borgo Val di Taro where he dies. Other sources, however, claim he was poisoned in Milan. The Florentines request his body; the following April, Niccolò da Tolentino is given a solemn funeral in Florence at Santa Maria del Fiore in the presence of Pope Eugenius IV and ambassadors from all the Italian states. The cost of the ceremony is estimated at 13,000 ducats. He is buried in that church in the second bay on the left; there is a fresco by Andrea del Castagno. He leaves his sons an inheritance of more than 200,000 ducats deposited in Florentine banks, over 2,000 pounds of wrought silver, warehouses of precious furnishings, and in the stables, 90 horses and 30 mules. The previous year, Paolo Uccello, commissioned by Leonardo Bartolini-Salimbeni, one of the Dieci di Balia, painted three large panels depicting the Battle of San Romano; in one of them, Niccolò da Tolentino is shown leading the Florentine resistance. The painting is located in the National Gallery in London. His portrait is in Fermo in the Palazzo dei Priori (Pinacoteca Comunale). In life, Niccolò da Tolentino exerted significant pressure on Pope Eugenius IV to canonize Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, to whom the condottiero was particularly devoted; he contributed 54 ounces of gold to the cause of his canonization. He achieved this goal in 1433 and built a convent and a church in his honor in Tolentino, near the Augustinians. His heart is preserved in the convent. The Florentine humanist Leonardo Bruni authored an oration in his name. A street in Florence is named after him.


-“Era questi valente ingegnere militare e generale esperto.” BATTISTELLA

-“Rinomato Capitano dei que’ tempi.” POGGIALI

-“Fortissimus equitum.” BILLIA

-“Costui sperimentò scaltrito consiglio, da lunga pratica acquistato, sopra tutti gli altri che in quel tempo arme portassino.” CAVALCANTI

-“Talmente si diportò nel trattare le cose della militia, che meritò essere annoverato fra i primi e valorosi capitani de soldati nell’età de i nostri padri.” ALBERTI

-“Huomo, oltra gl’ornamenti di guerra, essercitatissimo in espugnar terre.” GIUSTINIAN

-“Un de’ primi Capitani.” TARCAGNOTA

-“Notissimo e prode capitano di ventura.. Celeberrimo capitano” SPRETI

-“Famoso condottier d’armi del secolo XV.” BOSI

-Con Carlo Malatesta “Non ignobilibus ea tempestate ducibus.” G. CAPPONI

-Con Pandolfo Malatesta, Orso Orsini, Ludovico degli Obizzi e Ardizzone da Carrara “Praefectos rei militaris peritos.” BRACCIOLINI

-Con Pandolfo Malatesta, Orso Orsini, Ludovico degli Obizzi e Ardizzone da Carrara “Praefecti rei militaris multum periti” SANT’ANTONINO

-Con Ludovico degli Obizzi e Ranuccio Farnese “Capitani di fama.” PIGNOTTI

-Con Francesco Sforza “I più illustri Capitani di quel secolo.” COLUCCI

-“Orta Tolentini domus haec praeclara tetendit/ Latius illustrem longiuqua per oppida famam,/ Atque per ora virum volitans penetravit Iberos/ Ivit ad Eufratem, Boream penetravit et Austrum./ Longa patrum series/ Primus in hac heroum acie Nicolaus in auream/ Venit, agens secum Martem.” Da un poema di L. Cuyliers riportato dal COLUCCI

-“Nascitur insignis primus Maurisius ista,/ Cominus ense, pedes fortis, et acer eques./ Nobilis, ingenio clarus, Nicolaus et arte,/ Sub Florentinis militat usque viris./ Noverat hic manibus telum versare duabus/ Dux erat egregius, miles et iste bonus/ Consilio vulpes, per creato lumine serpens,/ Maximus immensis viribus iste leo./ Plurima parta fuit populis victoria caesis;/ Perdomuit multos viribus, aste duces./ Cumque diu imperium recte gessisset, equestrem/ Ductori statuam gens posuere suo.” Da un poema di F. Panfili riportato dal COLUCCI

-Con Ottobono Terzi e Jacopo dal Verme “Capitani assai celebrati per valor guerriero.” V. DE CONTI

-“(Possedeva) specialmente nell’arte delle fortificazioni, grande intelligenza.” VERDIZZOTTI

-Con Micheletto Attendolo “Quorum nobile erat nomen, et laus rei militaris maxima.” FABRONIO

-Con il Carmagnola, Francesco Sforza, Niccolò Piccinino e Micheletto Attendolo “Quisti ànno la Italia sìcome abe san Piero le chiave, e perçiò se pò dire: “guai a Italia!. E quisti grandi capitanie ànno altri adarenti soliçitti a destruçione de çitadi e populi, como richede la loro arte.” G. DI M. PEDRINO

-Con il carmagnola “I più famosi capitani del secolo.” PECORI

-“Egregii ea aetate ducis.” BEVERINI

-“Costui fo al suo tempo uno valentissimo e degno capitano.” BROGLIO

-“Prode capitano.” BERENZI

-“Non aveva compiuto in verità grandi imprese, ma Firenze non era solita lasciare nell’anonimato i suoi condottieri. Infatti vennero poi il trittico di Paolo Uccello e l’affresco di Andrea del Castagno con la scritta: Hic quem sublimem in equo/ Pictum cernis Nicolaus Tolentinas / Est inclitus dum Florentini exercitus. Tanto bastò per la sua fama. RENDINA

-“Quell’altro è Nicolò da Tolentino,/Il quale singolar, franco e gagliardo/ Fu capitan del popol Fiorentino.” Cambino Aretino riportato da FABRETTI

-“Nell’affresco di Andrea del Castagno, il condottiero Niccolò da Tolentino procede verso destra in sella al suo cavallo. Al lati del sarcofago sono dipinti due figure di nudi maschili dotati di armi araldiche. Il comandante indossa un cappello dalla tesa ampia e un abbigliamento molto decorato come i finimenti del cavallo. Al centro del sarcofago è presente una scritta in lingua latina. “Hic Quem Sublimem In Equo Pictum Cernis Nicolaus Tolentinas Est Inclitus Dux Florentini Exercitus.” “

-“Capitano di ventura molto rinomato. Datosi alla carriera delle armi molto giovane, compì non poche imprese che ne accrebbero la notorietà.” ARGEGNI

-“I fiorentini gli decretarono un monumento, ma poi scelsero di tramandarlo con un ritratto equestre in Duomo, ritratto che fu realizzato nel 1456 da Andrea del Castagno con un grandioso affresco in chiaroscuro, staccato e riportato su tela nel 1841.” BATINI

-Nel convento di Tolentino, da lui fatto edificare, sulla porta di marmo compaiono le insegne dei Mauruzzi. A sinistra sono scritti i seguenti versi “Qui Florentinos, Papamque, Ducemque triumphis/ Reddidit illustres, fieri spectabile iussit/ Haec opus, ille ducum ductor Nicolaus annum” Quem Tolentinum genuit sub mentibus altis/ MCCCCXXXII” Sulla parte destra invece si può leggere “Sed postquam petiit caelum mens alma potentis/ Hos Baptista memor fratrique quod iusserat olim/ Transferre lapides Veneto de climate fecit,/ Composuit rubens decus hoc Iapicida Joannes/ Quem genuit celsis Florentinia nota tropheis/ MCCCCXXXV.”

-Nel castello di San Giorgio, presso Cesena, è posta la seguente iscrizione in gotico a ricordo della sua impresa a porta Vercellina a Milano “Has Mediolani rapuit Maurotius heros/ Quum totam obtinuit depulsis hostibus urbem/ Perfidiamq. ducis domuit cum vindice dextra/ Has idem Malatesta tibi Malatesta proles/ Vercellina suo tenuit quas ianua ponte/ Dedicat et sacrat miles sacratissime. Regis/ Bellorumq. potens pendentis turre catenas/ Campanamq. simul celebris monumenta triumphi.”

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