Cardinal della Rovere is sent as legate to the Netherlands and France to settle the quarrel concerning the Burgundian inheritance between Louis XI and Maximilian of Austria, to obtain the help of France against the Turks, and to effect the liberation of Cardinal Balue whom Louis had held in strict custody since 1469 on account of treasonable acts.
It seemed doubtful whether the peace would come to anything. And the plague was also making great ravages.
Lorenzo de' Medici arrived in Livorno, on his return from Naples. It was considered a marvel that he should have returned, as everyone had doubted the king allowing him to resume his post, and a still greater marvel that he should have been able to arrange everything so diplomatically. God help him!(1)
> (1) Lorenzo de' Medici had gone on his own initiative, seeing that the war could no longer be borne, and not wishing to lose the favour and authority that he had acquired in Florence, especially after the Conspiracy of the Pazzi. The Florentines feared lest harm should come to him, and remembered the case of Jacopo Piccinino, who in 1465 unwarily put himself into the hands of the same king, and lost his life. Lorenzo, however, must have felt his ground carefully before moving, and when he returned after having concluded peace, he became more popular and powerful than ever.
The ratification of peace arrived in the night, about 7 (3 a.m.). There were great rejoicings, with bonfires and ringing of bells.
The city gates, which had been shut shortly before, were re-opened.
Peace was proclaimed, and the image of Our Lady of _Santa Maria Impruneta_ was brought to Florence for the fete.
(Ash Wednesday). The Pope sent an _aggravatoria_(1) forbidding anyone to communicate; but as it was not made public, almost everyone communicated, and was troubled in conscience after it became known.
> (1) A kind of excommunication. (Trans.)
Messer Piero Vespucci(1) was liberated from prison, and left Florence, and went to the Duke of Calabria at Siena and stopped there.
At this time it was noised abroad that the Pope had made a league with the Venetians, the Sienese, and the Duke of Urbino.(2) It was not true.
> (1) The Duke of Calabria, and his father King Ferdinand, had made urgent solicitations in favour of Vespucci.
> (2) Federigo di Montefeltro.
Ten _Sesti_ and one _Decima_ were voted; and a _Sgravo_ (decrease) of 3 thousand florins was made and an _Aggravo_ (increase) of a thousand florins.(1)
At this time the Duke of Calabria was sent a sum of 30 thousand florins, on several occasions. It may be imagined what need there was for these taxes of _Sesti_ and _Decime_. We Florentines have the wise custom of giving money in payment to everyone who does us an injury, and who destroys and pillages our territory. And this is not a solitary instance; it will always be the same; anyone who wants money from the Florentines has only to do them an injury.
> (1) A _Sgravo_ means that some taxes were lowered or remitted; whilst on others there was an increase (_Aggravo_). See note to 13th June, 1478. (Trans.)
Messer Piero Vespucci was permitted to return to Florence, and was restituted in all his rights, according to the wish of the duke.(1)
At this time the price of grain fell to 15 _soldi_ the bushel, and the like low prices.
> (1) He, however, preferred leaving Tuscany, and went to offer his services to the Sforza in Milan, and was appointed Ducal Councillor by Ludovico il Moro. Sent to exercise his authority at the city of Alessandria, he met with a tragic end, being killed in 1485 in a popular rising.
The Duke of Calabria confined within limits 18 knights and citizens of Siena. He also kept his soldiers in the city, so that he was master of the situation. And the Sienese did not consider it at all just that he should act in this way, but he chose to do so. He had the idea of acting in the same way with regard to us; but please God, by a great miracle, it happened that on the 6th August the Turkish army came to Otranto and began to besiege it; so it was necessary to leave our neighbourhood, at the king's command, and return to defend the kingdom. The Turks were encamped in three places, being at Rodi (Rhodes), and with the Hungarians, besides at Otranto.
Two silk-mercers' shops in _Porta Santa Maria_, near _Vacchereccia_(1) were burnt down; and the other night the whole _Canto di Vacchereccia_ as far as the _Chiassolino del Buco_ was burnt down.(2) And the fire rushed across to the opposite side of the street and burnt down all the other corner of the _Vacchereccia_, destroying about 20 shops of the silk-mercers and money-changers. There was great loss, many having all their property consumed.
And at this time there was much talk about the loss of Otranto, and Leccio was feared for.
> (1) The street still so called, between _Via Por San Maria_ and the Piazza, named after the tower of the _Vacca_, belonging to the old _Casa del Foraboschi_, and forming the lower-portion of the present tower of the Palazzo Vecchio. (Trans.)
A certain hermit came to the house of Lorenzo de' Medici at the _Poggio a Caiano_; and the servants declared that he intended to murder Lorenzo, so they took him and sent him to the Bargello, and he was put to the rack.
This hermit died at Santa Maria Novella, having been tortured in various ways. It was said that they skinned the soles of his feet, and then burnt them by holding them in the fire till the fat dripped off them; after which they set him upright and made him walk across the great h all; and these things caused his death. Opinions were divided as to whether he were guilty or innocent.