Italy under the Spanish Domination – between France and Spain Part I

In short, a resumption of unrest and wars in the peninsula, following both the political resurgence of France and the new Bourbon-Habsburg struggles, which are now one of their fields in Italy, as well as the formation of a valid subalpine state, which seeks in the active participation in those struggles its defense and its enlargement. We can also say: a resumption, after a century, of the effort of the Italian states against Spain, led, this time, by the Savoy with some cooperation from Venice, some moral favor and solidarity of the Italian people, and resolved, unlike a century before, with a success of the French.

France and Savoy: that stimulated and even helped this one in starting her policy of energetic anti-Spanish initiatives; but this, too, contributed to France regaining ground on this side of the Alps, even after it had taken away the base of Saluzzo, and from Piedmont began its new effort to penetrate the peninsula. It was, among them, a mixture of solidarity and contrast. Therefore, given the disparity of their forces, also given the growing weakening of the Spanish positions in Italy, a dangerous solidarity, which could result for the Savoy and for the whole peninsula in a new servitude instead of the old one, especially when that principality was not held by a sturdy hand and the pace of internal organization slowed down. It was already seen with the two secret treaties of Cherasco, 1631: alliance between the king and the duke in case of war in Italy, and supreme command of the armies entrusted to the latter; distribution of the conquests in the ratio of one third to Savoy and two thirds to France; restitution of Pinerolo to the king, in exchange for lands of Monferrato. Louis XIII openly declared that he wanted to guarantee passage through Italy, “to procure peace and give assistance to his allies”. Besides the Savoy, the allies were the Gonzaga-Nevers. But French diplomacy works very actively to broaden the circle of friendships and clienteles, including the ambitious Duke of Parma and that of Modena, bring Venice back to the old alliance, cultivate the sympathies it has in Rome and the anti-Habsburg spirits of Pope Urban VIII, from which in 1629 she received warm requests to cross the Alps to rescue Casale and to stand up to the Spaniards allied with Carlo Emanuele in the division of Monferrato. They are all princes and governments that have old anti-Hapsburg tendencies or are agitated and struggling in their smallness, or to grab a piece of Milanese or to recover Ferrara, which is the “fixed idea” of the Duke of Modena. But France wants to expel the Spaniards from Italy and win on this chessboard, as on that of Germany, its great battle with the Habsburgs and take away the Netherlands and Italian possessions from them. In 1633, Vittorio Amedeo I, irritated against France, thought and proposed an Italian league to the pope. The following year, on the eve of the resumption of the war, a new proposal in Rome, in this sense, also by the Grand Duke of Tuscany. And this time, the pope did not seem opposed; do not disagree with the dukes of Modena and Parma. He also trusted in the consent of Venice. The league was to represent the interest of the Italian princes, in defense against anyone, France or Spain. But Spain intruded on Rome and everything failed.

According to, great disorientation and complications brought this new presence of France into the affairs of Italy. Great uncertainty and variety, if not of intentions, of ideas on what to do. In 1635, a conspiracy in Naples to drive out Spain with the help of France also gave way to diplomatic intrigue. The Turin court took an interest in what happened in that kingdom. Cardinal Maurizio, sent to Rome, managed a few rows. The Barberinis are not strangers. France, of course, was not lacking. If the enterprise was successful, Vittorio Amedeo I of Savoy would have had Naples; Maurizio, his brother, Piedmont; Mantua and Parma, the Milanese; Casa Barberini a state in the Neapolitan area. Since it is known that Urban VIII inserted nepotistic aspirations into his policy aimed at fighting a universal monarchy. In short, big things. Except that, again, they remained at the state of diplomatic project and intrigue. In the meantime, only the king and the ministers of France managed to conclude something, for closer and more precise objectives; not to attract Modena, which indeed connected with Spain; not the pope, as head of the faithful; not the Doctors, pressed by the Presidents; but yes Savoy, Parma, Mantua.

In 1635, the Treaty of Rivoli, which promised the conquest, under the high command of the duke, and the partition of the Milanese area between France and Savoy. And the war began which, however, Créqui, a French general, broke on his own initiative without waiting for the orders of Savoy. He then turned to Valenza, which was the key to communications between Genoa and Milan, rather than to Novara and Milan, as was in the duke’s program. However, when Valenza’s attempt was unsuccessful, the army passed the Ticino, won at Tornavento and, thanks to Vittorio Amedeo’s primary work, at Mombaldone. The death of the duke, just as it did not put an end to the war in Lombardy, nor to planning and plotting, although Maurizio and Tommaso turned to Spain against the new French servitude. Great center, for or against France, for or against Spain, is Rome. Died in 1642 Richelieu,

Italy Ruled by Spain 1

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