Wednesday, 26 November 2008


He was the son of a tough baker.born in first he was taken under the wing of Ceccolo Broglio then to arms with another hard man Braccio Di he learned HOW.
He wore an armour made up of 134 pieces which can still be seen in venice.
With Braccio he was at the walls of aquila ;taken prisoner he managed to escape and found work with Florence v Visconti of Milan (Fillipo Maria). In 1427 he joined Pope Martino V.He was sent to clean up Umbria and environs. He captured a castle almost singlehandedly at Villa Franca in the 1430's . Unpaid by the Pope he joined Venice against the Visconti. Here he and Bartolomeo colleoni brought across land the Venetian fleet on mules to fight on Lake Garda.A great feat.
In 1439 he had two fits which put an end to his war days.He died in 1442 after living out the rest of his life well.
His statue is the highlight of Padua, and was done by Donatello.Bartolomeo Colleoni lived on for another 32 years and he has a statue in Venice .Visit both then come back and tell me who understood horses better, Donatello or the other guy.I'd be interested.By the way anything I uncover on the Condottieri here and in other articles well I'll post it here.So try keeping a hold on these posts.
Below are a couple of kits that show up well the armour of the times although Italian armour was more rounded.

That bucolic photo you can see here is the territory of Narni inb Umbria.It was here that Erasmus Gattamelata was born.
The town of Narni still remembers him with roads and streets and this great little "ristorante".This is another Soldier of fortune (to be continued),the portrait is by Giorgione.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008


FOLLOWING ON FROM MY PREVIOUS ARTICLE ON THE CONDOTTIERI (the man who arranges military transaction) here are some images of the times.It was a period that lasted for many years and spanned different epochs but it was a time where loyalty could only be bought if it could be bought.
It was not solely an Italian thing either.The model soldiers here are another Italian newstand effort. These were 80mm .Some typical armour of the times plus a typical Italian fortress of the early period.This one is at Senigallia.Will be going on with this in another post.

Thursday, 20 November 2008


The statue is of Giovanni De Medici called Giovanni of the Banda Nere.
The story goes that after his last battle and
As they cut his leg off after the wound at Governalo he held the candle for the surgeon, (two figures above repainted by modeller Jim are HINTON HUNT)

if that story is true and its on good authority, then he was a man with a capitalM.
He died after gangrene set in, the greatest warrior and condotteiri of Italian history.

The soldier on the left is one that was on offer at Italian newstands.The Landschnects were contrary to popular belief, not considered great soldiers but were bought so that they would not fight for the other side.Giovanni was shot by one of these.

ON THE LEFT IS A STILL FROM THE FILM "The Profession of Arms"by Olmi. Plus a portrait of Giovanni.
He was the last great Condotteiri of Italy and with his small army tried to stop the Landschects from sacking Rome at the affluence of the Po and Mincio rivers,the place was Governalo (Governalo is pictured in the two river photos, the top two models represent the period in 54mmon on sale from the Florence Museum Stibbert; the armour is the one Giovanni wore at his funeral) also on exhibit in this little known museum.
After the war with the Duke of Urbino, he formed a company of fast travelling lightly armed horesmen operating hit and run tactics; this was devastating to his enemies.
In 1521 he defeated the French near Milan at Vaprio D'Adda.The use of the Banda Nere (black arm bands) was the fact that after the death of Pope Leo X he wore them as a sign of his mourning.
He met the fanatical protestants at Governalo on the Mincio River and destroyed their rearguard with his small army and there a battle of small proportions but epic heroism took place.
He died at 27 years old .
As he was claiming victory he was hit by a mobile field cannon which mortally wounded him .
This was the end of the noble knight Condotteiri riding into battle with the sword or the lance.
Below scenes of the battle recreated by Stefano a model soldier converter.
Followed by a mounted knight of the times offered by Del Prado at Italian newstands.
The last photo shows Giovanni in the film "The Profession of Arms" by Olmi. I urge you to get this but before viewing read up.(to be continued)