Leggio 3 Eng: The Castle of Vicorati is Under Siege!

18 Mar 22 | Percorso Guidato di Londa

The power of the Guidi Counts, who dominated these territories for long centuries, began to falter with the division into “family branches” as early as the mid-thirteenth century; in the same period, the Emperor Frederick II of Swabia died, the stupor mundi (to which the Guidi were very loyal), starting the decline of the Holy Roman Empire in Italy.

The rising power of the nearby merchant city of Florence, already a free Municipality and Republic, and its expansion into the neighboring countryside, in addition to the many debts accumulated over time, meant that at the end of the 14th century the Guidi family was in full crisis. The power they had over the Londa territory was reduced more and more through the sale of what were once powerful castles. In 1337 the Castello del Pozzo and the castle of Vicorati were sold to Piero di Gualterotto de Bardi, a merchant and banker from Florence. 

The property was inherited by Andrea di Filippozzo de Bardi, relative of Simone de ‘Bardi, husband of Beatrice Portinari, Dante Alighieri’s muse.

In 1353 Andrea di Filippozzo was banished by the Municipality of Florence for conspiracy; deprived of his rights, justice would have relied on the community to identify and punish him: everyone could captured him without any scruple. This situation was taken advantage of by Count Guido from Battifolle, Roberto Guidi and Francesco di Bandino di Modigliana (also a Guidi) taking back the Vicorati Castle on which they claimed their property. In September 1353 the nobles gathered their loyal soldiers in Stia (Casentino) and with all kinds of weapons advanced towards Vicorati. The army arrived at night and thanks to some spies in the castle, the troops easily managed to penetrate the first walls.

Andrea de ‘Bardi and his brothers took refuge inside the central Tower, while the enemy troops were preparing to demolish it with them inside. Locked inside the tower, while the Guidi were looking for a way to knock it down, Andrea managed to send news to Florence of what was happening. The Guidi were thus ordered to cease the siege immediately, under penalty of their “ban” with all its consequences. Having assessed the situation, the Guidi stopped but before obeying, Francesco Guidi (lieutenant of the troops), moved by an impulse of revenge, sacked the castle, set it on fire and committed the serious crime of having executed the unfortunate Gagliardo of Mordacchia. Florence pardoned the Guidi of serious accusations and canceled the Bardis’ exile to reconcile the two families, managing in this way to stabilize this part of the countryside.