Italy Between 1493 and 1500

1493-1529 The last years of Lorenzo the Magnificent’s rule coincide with the worsening of the internal crisis in the various states of the peninsula and with the affirmation of political control by the nascent European monarchies. It is the young king of France Charles VIII, heir to the rights that the house of Anjou continued to boast over Naples even after the Aragonese settled, to initiate this expansion. To invoke his intervention are Ludovico il Moro, regent of the State ofMilan for his nephew Gian Galeazzo but eager to wear the ducal crown on his own; a fraction of cardinals, headed by Giuliano Della Rovere, who want to get rid of the despotic and simoniac Alexander VI; and many of the powerful Neapolitan barons, forced to take the road of exile due to the ruthless repression of the failed conspiracy of the Barons by Ferdinando Italy Even the strongest Italian state of the time, the Republic of Venice, which fears commercial competition from ports of Aragonese Puglia, is not hostile to a French expedition.

1493: Charles VIII with the treaties of Barcelona and Senlis, in exchange for territorial concessions on the Catalan border, in Artois and Franche Comté, obtains the favor of the king of Aragon Ferdinand the Catholic and of the emperor Maximilian I for the planned enterprise in Italy.

1494: starting in September for Montgenèvre, Charles VIII does not meet any serious resistance: he is an ally of the Savoy and aided by the Genoese fleet, while the Venetian one remains neutral. After a sumptuous welcome in Pavia reserved for him by Ludovico il Moro (Duke Gian Galeazzo died of consumption a few days later), the king of France took the road to Tuscany, sacking the territory and causing massacre among the population. Frightened, the lord of Florence Piero de ‘Medici hurries to abandon the Neapolitan alliance and capitulate (October 31), granting Charles VIII 200,000 gold florins and, until the end of the war, the fortresses of Sarzana, Pietrasanta, Pisa and Livorno. On November 8, Pisa proclaimed its independence from Florence and thus gave way to multiple revolts in Tuscan cities. The following day the Florentines kicked out Piero and a basically oligarchic republic was formed. On November 17, Charles VIII enters the city. Not wanting to commit himself fully to the Tuscan crawl space, he prefers to mitigate his financial demands and continue the march towards the South.

1495-98: a peaceful understanding between the pope and Charles VIII is achieved in Rome. Alexander VI was wide of political-ecclesiastical concessions and the king continued his advance towards Naples (28 January 1495), where Ferdinand I was succeeded by his son Alfonso II who, even more than his father disliked the barons, abdicated in favor of son Ferdinando II, called Ferrandino. But the new sovereign does little: on February 22, while Ferrandino takes refuge with his family in Ischia, Charles VIII triumphantly enters Naples and extends his authority over the whole Kingdom. So, aware of the military weakness of the Italian states and aware of the dangers inherent in French domination, on March 31st Ludovico il Moro, who had become Duke of Milan, and Venice formally stipulate an anti-French league, to which Pope Alexander VI is also associated. The league succeeds in obtaining the support of the king of Aragon Ferdinand the Catholic, of the emperor Maximilian and later also of the king of England Henry VII. Taken by surprise, Charles VIII left a small contingent in Naples and withdrew with the bulk of the army to face the troops of the league. According to REMZFAMILY, the battle of Fornovo (6 July), although not a real defeat, convinces the king of France, having arrived in Piacenza, to abandon the enterprise; the following day the troops of Ferdinand the Catholic bring King Ferdinand II back to Naples. Only in Tuscany there is no return to the status quo. Genoa and Lucca bought Sarzana and Pietrasanta respectively from Charles VIII and now they are careful not to return them to Florence; Pisa, aided by Venice and Lucca, it persists in its rebellion and the war that Florence is forced to wage to reduce it to obedience lasts until 1509; between 1494 and 1498 Florentine history is identified in the experience of Savonarola, who governs the republic on a theocratic basis, in a climate of austerity and moral severity. With his condemnation to the stake (23 May 1498) the Florentine republic starts to be a pure and simple oligarchy, and will in fact be vassal of France because of the huge sums invested in the banks that the Florentines themselves have opened in Lyon.

The death of Charles VIII and the coming to the French throne of Louis XII reopened the Italian problem in 1498. Louis XII no longer limits his claims to the Angevin inheritance of Naples, but, as a descendant of Valentina Visconti, he also aspires to the Duchy of Milan. The double enterprise is diplomatically prepared with care: a series of treaties are stipulated with the king of England, with the kings of Aragon and Castile, with the emperor and also with the Swiss cantons, and also extended to some Italian states.: the Treaty of Blois (April 15, 1499) secures the military alliance of Venice to France; the nepotistic interests of Alexander VI, who obtained for his son Cesare Borgia the duchy of Valentinois and the hand of the sister of the king of Navarre, Carlotta d’Albret,

6 October 1499: Louis XII enters Milan as a triumph. Ludovico il Moro takes refuge in Tyrol, with the emperor Maximilian, his son-in-law. The French settled permanently in Milan and ceded Cremona and Ghiara d’Adda to Venice, then (Treaty of Arona, 11 April 1503) recognized the annexation of the county of Bellinzona by the Swiss.

2 November 1500: for the enterprise against the Kingdom of Naples Louis XII stipulates with Ferdinand the Catholic the secret treaty of Granada, which in exchange for the military alliance of Spain establishes the division of the Kingdom: Ferdinand the Catholic would obtain the Apulia and the Calabria; Luigi XII, with the title of king of Naples, would have Campania and the Abruzzi. Upon the arrival of the French troops, the new king of Naples, Frederick III, unaware of the agreement, invokes the help of his relative king of Aragon then, as soon as the betrayal of the Aragonese manifests himself, constitutes himself a prisoner of the French and, in exchange of the Duchy of Anjou and a life pension, he transfers all his rights not to the traitor Ferdinand but to Louis XII.

Italy Between 1493 and 1500

About the author