The authorities considered that this new tax of the _Scala_ was not a suitable one for the city; therefore they had recourse to the _Sesto_ again, and doubled it, with advantage, as it seemed to those who understood the business. But certainly some people were already in sorry plight were completely ruined by the _Sesto_.
At this time the Venetians declared war upon the Duke of Ferrara, and we much feared lest we should be drawn into it.
A chancellor of Count Girolamo was hung at the windows of the Bargello. He had been captured by one of the Altoviti,(1) who was a proscribed rebel, and in order to be pardoned, found out this man, and caught him between Piombino and Pisa; and he won his pardon.
> (1) This must have been the famous Cola Montano, a Bolognese; not a chancellor, but maintained by Count Girolamo Riario, and the Pope, and the King of Naples, and all the enemies of Florence, during the war following the Conspiracy of the Pazzi. That he was taken by one of the Altoviti is not mentioned elsewhere. Brought to Florence, he was put in the prison of the Bargello or Captain of the Piazza dei Signori; where he wrote with his own hand a _Confessione_, which is preserved in the State Archives of Florence, amongst the _Carte Strozziane_, still unedited, but well worth publishing, as important contributions to the history of that time. The order of the Signori e Collegi to the Otto di Custodia e Balia, of the 12th March, for the execution of Montano, still exist in the said archives amongst the papers of these magistrates. (Trans.)
A horseman of Signor Roberto was arrested on the _Ponte a Valiano_, who was carrying letters to Signor Roberto's son; which letters shed some light upon an intended conspiracy; and in consequence of this, Antonio Pucci and other citizens left for the Pisan territory, and in a few days got a number of soldiers together.
The Pazzi, who were imprisoned at Volterra, had their rights restituted, and were liberated and sent out of Italy; two of the younger ones had been liberated two months earlier, on account of illness, or else they would have died.
This year there were severe earthquakes at Rodi (Rhodes) which ruined the church and killed many people, mostly in a church where 40 _Cavalieri Fieri_ (Knights of Rhodes) met their death. The precise day is not known to me, but it was during this year.
There was a quarrel at Rome between the Orsini and the Colonnesi; and the city was thrown into confusion as usual. Everyone has to suffer for the disputes of these great men.
At this time the cupola of Santo Spirito was finished; and in fact sermons were preached beneath it.
The Duke of Urbino came to Florence, lodging in the house of Giovanni Tornabuoni, and he was received with honour. And on the 29th he left for Milan, to take up his post as _Capitano generale_, stopping at Ferrara where Signor Roberto was. There they besieged a fort called Ficheruolo till the 1st June.(1)
And in these days the Duke of Calabria on the other hand was besieging Ostia, near Rome; and on the 10th June it was said that he had taken it, but this was not true. He sacked Corneto,(2) however. The Sienese now recalled some of their exiles.
> (1) This is not correct; see note to 2nd July.
> (2) These are all facts relating to the war which had lately broken out between the Venetians and the Pope on the one hand, and the Florentines, Milan, and Naples on the other. Federigo, Duke of Urbino, was _Capitano generale_, and Commander of the League against Venice, and Roberto di Sanseverino was in the service of the latter.
Signor Gostanzo came to Florence, on his return from Ferrara.
At this time there was much talk of the worship of an image of Our Lady at Bibbona, or rather in a tabernacle about a bowshot from Bibbona. It is, namely, a Virgin seated and holding the dead Christ in her arms, after He has been taken down from the Cross; which is called by some a _Pieta_. This worship began on the 5th April, when it was transfigured: that is, it changed from blue to red, and from red to black and divers colours. And this is said to have happened many times between then and now, and a number of sick persons have been cured, and a number of miracles have been performed, and quarrels reconciled; so that all the world is running there. Nothing else is talked of at this moment; I have spoken to many who tell me that they themselves have seen it transfigured, so that one must perforce believe it.
We heard that Messer Niccolo Vitegli had taken _Citta di Castello_ for us, and we sent a mortar there. War had broken out in several parts.
We took Ficheruolo.(1)
> (1) The text appears to say that the Florentines or the League besieged and took this place; but it really was exactly the contrary. Ficheruolo belonged to the Duke of Ferrara, with whom the Florentines were allied, and now fell into the hands of the Venetians.
We heard that all the forts of Città di Castello had now been taken, and the whole place.
Roberto _il Magnifico_(1) died at Rome; he who had been so famous for his victory over the Duke of Calabria near Rome, when he took 300 men-at-arms. These two great captains died with a few days of each other, just when they imagined that they were at the height of their glory. What errors are made by the world! Men incur so many perils in order to slay and kill others, and to obtain a short-lived fame on this earth, not considering what it means to kill a man, and how soon they themselves will have to die and render an account.
> (1) Roberto Malatesta, a captain sent by the Venetians to aid the Pope.