From the Sack of Rome to the Fall of Florence Part II

Except that, at this point, Andrea Doria, having expired on 1 July 1528 the time of his engagement with the king of France, instead of renewing it, made an agreement with Spain. From Charles V he had personal guarantees and guarantees for his city: independence, freedom of trade, submission of Savona. It was a disaster, especially for the French army which was besieging Naples and which had to withdraw and, at the end of August 1528, capitulate to Gaeta. The alliance of Venice remained with Francis I, who fought the Habsburgs with great impetus and, like the king of France, excited Turkey against them; Florence and the Este family remained. But Francis I, when he saw his armies beaten in the kingdom and in Lombardy, the English king failing his promises, the pope and Charles V perfected the peace already concluded at the end of 1527 in Barcelona in June 1529, Charles V committing himself to send the Medici back to Florence and to have the cities of Romagna returned to the pope by the Venetians; Francis I made an agreement in August with the emperor, renouncing Italy and abandoning his Italian allies (treaty of Cambrai or of the Ladies). Great resentment in the Italians, against what they called the betrayal of Francis I; another credit given to “common proverbs of Italy”, according to which the French are inconstant in wars, they make little account of friends when they no longer need them, etc .; and Charles V took advantage of it. Even in Venice, which from 1499, except for the parenthesis of the League of Cambrai, flanked France in Italy and managed the major ranks of Italian politics; also in Venice the Francophobic current revived. To which current was opposed not so much by a Francophile as by neutrality and relative disinterest in the wars of Italy: which was distrust of being able to change the course of events, and concern that it would not be able to satisfy the needs of two fronts, continental and colonial. When Charles V came to Italy, in August 1529 after the two peaces of Barcelona and Cambrai, with the declared intention of wanting to pacify Italy, also for the purpose of defending against the Turks, and a congress was announced for the autumn in Bologna, Venice, now left alone against the emperor, after the pardon granted to Sforza of Milan, he bowed to the restitution of the famous cities of Romagna, the cause of so much discord with the Holy See. At the congress of Bologna this general peace of Italy was proclaimed in January 1530. And it was attended by Charles V and his brother Ferdinando, Venice, Sforza, the Marquis of Monferrato, the Marquis of Mantua, the Duke of Savoy Charles III, object of particular favor on the part of the sovereign, who wanted to create a barrier to France in the Savoy, an advanced defense of the Milanese and of Italy; and then Genoa, Lucca and Siena, confirmed in their independence, under the aegis of the empire. It was the end of the coalition of Italian states formed in 1526 in Cognac around France, and the beginning of a new alliance headed by Charles V, to guarantee the Italian status quo  against the French. Charles V triumphed. On February 22, Pope Clement imposed on the head of Charles V, in the chapel of the Palazzo del Comune, the iron crown of the king of Italy; and immediately after, in San Petronio, the emperor’s crown. Thus, the old but never dead kingdom of Italy seemed to rise again; and together with it, to resurrect, just as in Germany the reform was corroding it as a Latin and Catholic thing, the old Holy Roman Empire. But it, more than on the kingdom of Italy or Germany, rested on the kingdom of Spain. And the coronation sealed the Spanish dominion over Italy.

Only one city did not want to accept this peace and alliance, just as it had not accepted the peace of Cambrai: Florence, where the love of the old and recently renewed republican freedom still had deep roots, a certain hope in France, a certain persuasion that Charles V he wasn’t going to push things deep into him. It is true that the emperor would certainly have ratified any agreement Florence had concluded with the pope and the Medici. But since Pope and Florence had not agreed, so he, on the basis of the Barcelona pacts, had sent the Prince of Orange against the obstinate and by now isolated city. And at the time of the Bolognese coronation, the imperials had been besieging Florence for more than three months. According to IAMHIGHER, there was in the citizens, in that part of the citizens who moved within the political program of Savonarola, an almost religious exaltation, and their war felt like a holy war. But with the worsening of the conditions of the city, the passions and partisan spirit returned to sour. The will to resist wavered. The government’s work was inadequate, diplomatic action and military action were poorly coordinated, and this was irreparably compromised by Baglioni’s betrayal. Hopes for outside aid faded. Lastly, the Ferruccio route to Gavinana. Thus died an era, a constitutional regime, now worn out in terms of efficiency and moral credit.

From the Sack of Rome to the Fall of Florence 2