Italy Between 1502 and 1529

June 1502-March 1504: the alliance soon changes into open conflict between France and Spain. The armistice of Lyons of March 1504 recognizes the exclusive belonging of the Kingdom of Naples to Spain, which in Italy already owns Sicily and Sardinia.

In this period, the Italian states, despite being strongly conditioned by the presence of either France or Spain, and being able to carry out their policies only thanks to the favor of one or the other power, still manage to be not entirely passive factors in life politics that takes place in the peninsula and the alliances that are knotted there.

According to MYSTERYAROUND, Venice is still an international power of the first magnitude: the conquests of the hinterland have proved increasingly fruitful over time, and if the army of the sea is constantly engaged in the task of blocking, or at least slowing down, the advance of Turks of Sultan Bāyazīd II (1481-1512), however Venice is not yet under the heavy weight of that economic recessionnot that in a few decades it will give a decisive blow to the entire Mediterranean economy. The decline of Venice began only for a political fact, the will of Pope Julius II to join the league of Cambrai against it (10 December 1508), the ‘holy league’ that unites the pontiff to the emperor, to the king of France., to the king of Spain. Following the agreement, the pope would obtain Faenza, Rimini, Ravenna and Cervia; the emperor Padua, Vicenza, Verona, Friuli, the Marca Trevigiana and the recovery of the lost cities in the attempt to descend into Italy in 1508; the king of France, as duke of Milan, claims Cremona, Crema, Brescia and Bergamo; the king of Spain, the places occupied by the Normans in the Kingdom of Naples.

Less rich and powerful is the Republic of Genoa, which from the Sforza passed directly under French rule (1499-1512, with a brief interruption in 1507), but its fleet is always sought after as an ally by foreign powers.

Florence, which in 1502 created the gonfalonierato for life for one of its exponents, Pier Soderini, continued its republican experiment and did not open its doors to the Medici, thus revealing that it was still a robust political body; in 1509 the war with Pisa also ended, with the definitive victory of Florence.

The alliance between Pope Alexander VI and King Louis XII is the solid platform on which Cesare Borgia’s attempt to create a strong personal state rests, which already in the interval between the French conquest of Milan and the expedition against Naples he takes possession of Imola and Forlì, and between October 1500 and April 1501 of Pesaro, Rimini and Faenza. He then also bought Piombino and regularized his position in 1501 with the title of Duke of Romagna, granted to him by his father. The Duke of Ferrara, bound by his marriage to Lucrezia Borgia, cannot block his way; Florence, pressured by the rebellion of Arezzo and the towns of the Valdichiana, is forced to hire the same duke with a ‘conduct’ of three years. Many cities of the Italy

Alexander VI also took advantage of the war in Naples and in his direct dominion of Lazio took possession of all the lands of the Colonna and Savelli families. Everything collapses at his death; nevertheless Giuliano Della Rovere, who became Pope Julius II (1503-13), on the one hand continued the Borgia policy of reconstituting the State of the Church, following the death of CaesarBorgia once again prey to local nobles and lords, on the other hand it becomes the fulcrum of a great international policy that wants to dictate the law to Venice and to the King of France himself. He reconquers Perugia, making Giampaolo Baglioni prisoner who held it (1506), obtains the dedication of Bologna, putting an end to the lordship of Giovanni Bentivoglio (11 November 1506); finally, on 10 December 1508, he joined Spain, France, the Empire and not a few Italian princes, such as the Marquis of Mantua, the Duke of Savoy and that of Ferrara, the league of Cambrai against Venice, whose forces suffered on 14 May 1509 the harsh defeat of Agnadello.

After Agnadello the hegemonic weight of France begins to decline, and a multiplicity of foreign centers of attraction takes its place, which determine the initiatives and movements of the Italian states. This leads to the anti-French, or holy, league of 1511-13. But Florence cannot break awayfrom the French alliance, the Duke of Ferrara Alfonso d’Este paid little attention to the papal interdict and resisted the troops of Julius II, and finally the struggle was so un-Italian that, on both sides, old weapons of medieval flavor: Louis XII prepares the Gallican schismatic council of Pisa and Julius II plans to contrast it with the Lateran council. In Ravenna the military action of Gastone di Foix gave France the military victory (11 April 1512), but not the political one: the Spanish-pontifical troops were then joined by those of Maximilian of Habsburg and the Swiss cantons. Louis XII, faced with the enlargement of the enemy line, prefers to withdraw and abandon the duchy of Milan, where Ludovico il Moro’s son, Massimiliano Sforza, is seated, behind whom there are the Swiss cantons, demanding allies who have a very specific program of territorial acquisitions and the deliberate will to keep the Duchy of Milan under their vassalage. Shortly after, while Julius II imposed papal dominion over Parma and Piacenza, the arms of the viceroy of Naples Raimondo di Cardona overthrew the oligarchic republic of the gonfalonier Pier Soderini in Florence and restore the Medici. The shift in influence is evident: Venice passes from the anti-French league to an alliance with France, Florence enters the Spanish orbit for the first time and Milan awaits its autonomy from the Swiss-Germanic world.

1515-19: the new king of France, Francis I of Valois (1515-47), after having diplomatically isolated the Swiss cantons, descends by surprise on the peninsula and in the battle of Marignano (13-14 September 1515) overwhelms the Swiss power ; the Canton of Ticino remains in definitive possession of the Swiss, but the rest of the duchy returns to being under France and the situation of a France in the north and a Spain in the south of the peninsula rises again. With the Peace of Bologna of 1515 the restored agreement between Florence and France is signed: Pope Leo X (1513-21) gives back to the Duchy of Milan, that is to France, Parma and Piacenza that Julius II had placed under the dominionpontifical, and in exchange Francis I recognizes the dominion of the Medici over Florence and invests Lorenzo de ‘Medici, nephew of Leo X, of the duchy of Urbino. The treaty of Noyon (1516) sanctions the French presence in Italy: the successor of Ferdinand the Catholic, the future emperor Charles V, explicitly recognizes the dominion of France over the Duchy of Milan.

1519-25: the conflict arises due to the dynastic inheritances of Charles V, in 1519 heir also of the paternal ancestor Maximilian of Habsburg and elected emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by the electoral princes. Faced with the suffocating Habsburg encirclement, Francis I took the offensive in 1521. In Italy he has the alliance of Venice, while Pope Leo X has abandoned the field and passed over to Charles V’s side: he hopes to be able to take back Parma and Piacenza and get his hands on Ferrara. In the summer of 1521 a Spanish-pontifical army expelled the French from Milan and carried out a new restoration of the Sforza in the person of Francesco II; on February 24, 1525 in Pavia the same Francis I falls prisoner of Charles V. Thus the dominion of France over the Milanese ends definitively.

1526-29: the new Pope Clement VII (1523-34), also a Medici, took part in the Cognac league, promoted in 1526 by Francis I who had recovered his personal freedom, against Charles V, Venice, Florence , and even the Duke of Milan Francesco II Sforza. But they are simple illusions: the sack of Rome in 1527 demonstrates this with palpable evidence. Clement VII must renounce Parma, Piacenza and Ferrara, which in the meantime he has occupied, and also sees the ports of Cervia and Ravennasubtracted from his ally Venice; the Medici are again expelled from Florence which is reconstituted into an oligarchic republic (May 16, 1527); finally Genoa itself, by the will of Andrea Doria, defected from the French camp and moved to the imperial one.

Italy Between 1502 and 1529

About the author