A man arrived in the Piazza, having entered the city by the Porta alla Croce, and said that he had passed men-at-arms and infantry on the road to Florence, belonging to Piero de' Medici. Cries of Popolo e Liberta immediately resounded everywhere, and in less than half an hour the whole city was in arms, men of classes rushing to the Piazza with incredible haste, and with deafening cries of Popolo e Liberta. I verily believe that if the whole world had come against them, such a union could not have been broken; it being permitted by the Lord that the people should make such a demonstration, during this danger from the French, who had come to Florence with the evil intent of sacking it. But when they saw of what sort the people were, their heart failed them. As soon as the truth was known, that no armed men were approaching, a proclamation was made ordering all to lay aside their weapons, an this was about the dinner-hour. The Gonfaloni, however, remained on guard day and night, with a good number of men; and horsemen and foot-soldiers belonging to the King of France were continually entering. The Signoria had had the Porta di San Friano(1) opened. This evening the King of France remained at Empoli; and more than 6 thousand men came before the king, and as many with him, and another 6 thousand behind him. And at this time the taxes were lightened and many pardons granted.(2)
(1) The Gate of San Frediano, towards Empoli. (Trans.)
(2) I here add, that the office of the Otto di Pratica (the Eight Councillors), the Consiglio del Settanta (Council of the Seventy), and that of the Hundred, all institutions of the Medici and their adherents, were done away with and annulled.
A parlamento was held in the Piazza de' Signori at about 22 in the evening (6 p.m.), and all the Gonfaloni came into the Piazza, each with his respective citizens behind him unarmed. But there were a number of armed men placed at all the ways leading into the Piazza; and many articles and statutes were read out, which formed several folios. Before beginning the reading it was asked whether two-thirds of the citizens were present; and the bystanders said that it was so. Then the reading began, and it was declared in the said articles that all the laws from 1434 onwards were annulled, and that the Settanta, the Dieci, and the Otto di Balia were also abolished, and that the government must be carried on by the Council of the People and the Commune, and that the balloting-bags must be closed and the names drawn by lot, as was usual in communes; and an election should take place as soon as possible. For the present, twenty of the noblest and ablest men should be appointed who would do the work of the Signoria and the other offices, together with the Signori and Collegi, until the election should be arranged. And the citizens must be content with the result of the ballot. And the said twenty men should among them, who should attend to the war with Pisa and to other necessary things.(1)
(1) Many of the things decreed in this assembly are merely a confirmation of the orders given by the Signoria in November, and to which it was wished to give a ceremonious sanction. The offices entirely abolished were the Consiglio del Cento (Council of the Hundred, appointed under Lorenzo after 1480); the Settanta (the Seventy, also instituted under Lorenzo; both these acted as if they had full powers, without summoning an assembly); the Dodici Procuratori (chosen from the Seventy every six months, who looked after internal affairs); the Otto di Pratica (also chosen from the Seventy every six months, who were ministers of foreign affairs), and the Accoppiatori (these ten officials were only appointed during the time of the elections, and had gradually usurped more and more power under Lorenzo). The rest were only reformed.