King Charles VIII of France, following his conquest of Naples, heads back through Italy to France but is attacked on his way back by a combined Venetian-Milanese army. The two sides meet near the village of Fornovo, near Parma. Although ultimately a failure, Charles’ expeditions had major repercussions for it triggered the decades long Italian Wars (1494-1559), when the Italian peninsula became a battleground between foreign powers. Pictured – ‘The Madonna of the Victory’, by Andrea Mantegna (1496), commissioned by Francesco Gonzaga, ruler of Mantua
Charles VII leads his army into Italy to invade the Kingdom of Naples. He is invited into the peninsula by Ludovico Il Moro of Milan, concerned about aggression from Naples. Ludovico had expected the French to travel to Naples largely by sea, and with a smaller force, not the full deployment of the French crown
Lorenzo il Magnifico, ruler of Florence 1469-1492. In the so-called Pazzi Conspiracy Pope Sixtus IV organises an assassination attempt on Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano. Lorenzo survives and goes on to help negotiate a peace treaty between the five great powers of Italy. For his influence and diplomatic skills he becomes known as ‘the needle of the Italian compass’. Lorenzo also sponsored great artists such as Botticelli and Michelangelo da Vinci. However, towards the end of his reign, the people of Florence grow increasingly resentful about economic disruptions and turn to the radical preacher Savonarola
Renaissance Florence and Medici
Rise of the Medici dynasty in Florence. Renaissance Italy sees a remarkable flourishing of art and literature, with such writers as Dante, Bocaccio and Petrarch, the architects Brunelleschi and Michelozzo, and the artists Giotto and Pisano. Florence creates a republican system of government, although imperfect, democratic for its time. Cosimo de Medici, a skilled diplomat, rises to power in Florence and helps organise the Peace of Lodi, which brings a period of relative peace and stability to the Italian peninsula
I have released on Patreon.com a three part set of episodes on The Sicilian Vespers.
On the fateful night of 30th March 1282 at sunset on Easter Monday a local revolt in Palermo erupted and spread over the whole island of Sicily. Was it pre-planned, or spontaneous, or a mixture of the two? Either way, it was a pivotal event for all major European powers on the Mediterranean; the Papacy, the Byzantine Empire, France and Spain/Aragon, as well as Italy itself (Pictured: Paintings of the event by Francesco Hayez).
The first part is available to all, the second and third to my patrons who have pledged $3 or more a month. If any questions – please get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My Patreon page is at: www.patreon.com/user?u=35216
The story of Europe from the Ancient Greeks to the First World War