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

But Mazarin did not put much effort into these Italian campaigns. They are a diversion, they serve to procure some allies, to create embarrassments for Spain. And then neither does he trust the Italian princes, nor do they trust him and France. All, for different reasons, were treacherous. Hence, few French military forces; absolute military unpreparedness of the Italian allies and of all the Italian princes, also demonstrated by the tiny but noisy war of Castro, between the Farnese and Pope Urban VIII (1641-1643). Their own soldiers were few; more and more difficult to hire mercenaries, more and more treacherous and undisciplined these militias conducted at a price. Now there were successes and failures on both sides in northern Italy. Even the Spaniards were able to set foot in Vercelli.

According to, Spain still possessed a certain strength of resistance, given by the defensive organization of the Milanese. Then, in this domain of his, he had more or less satisfied but not rebellious subjects. And in the rest of the peninsula, it could count on many people interested in supporting it because it had given too much money on credit to those monarchs or had invested in various enterprises in their countries, too many pensions and overdue salaries it had to collect. Finally, all those who did not want unrest and war risks were attached to Spain. The major strength of that dominion, in Italy, was precisely in its representing peace, against the ambitions of both Italian and foreign princes. Where France meant war. It was the revolutionary element in the face of the order of things established in Italy. Those who wanted to innovate in Italy leaned on France. Thus Prince Thomas, after passing to the part of Spain, returns to France and is placed at the head of the French in Italy possibly also to lead a fleet against the kingdom, notoriously discontented, restless, very heavy. We count on Urban and the Barberinis, on the discords between the Holy See and Spain. In 1644 Urbano died; in Naples some accomplice is arrested; the new Pope Innocent X Pamfili inclined to Spain: and yet the work continued. French secret agents are in contact with the Francophile cardinals in Rome. Roman baronial families who have fiefs in the South, the first source of all the troubles of the kingdom, are the link between Rome and Naples. From these conventicles of Romans, Neapolitans, French, Savoyards, comes a memorandum that Cardinal Grimaldi, protector of France, sends to France: the kingdom wants to shake the Spanish yoke, but does not want a French one. In the country, where all great families are rivals, one cannot choose a prince. It has to be found outside. The undertaking is easy. The fortresses are badly reduced, Spain has no people to send. In short, it is the most widespread idea and aspiration: not to change masters. The Spanish dominions in Italy arrange them with autonomous dynasties or with the enlargement of Italian states. The petty literature of the time, on a political subject, constantly resounds with this voice. And here is the moment of Thomas who accepts the proposals of Anne of Austria queen of France: he will have that crown, only by giving France the port of Gaeta and an Adriatic port: if he also becomes Duke of Piedmont, he will give France Savoy and Nice . The French fleet with the duke focuses on the Presidî, takes Talamone, but fails in front of Orbetello. Time is wasted, the first disagreements arise, the Franco-Piedmontese militias and fleet are beaten by Spanish reinforcements. In 1946 the fleet was rebuilt, but this time under the Marshal of Milleraye; and occupies Piombino and Portolongone.

Great work, in this time, to compose and reassemble the Italian political chessboard in a new way, based on the will or ambitions or ambitions or interests of princes and their diplomats and agents: but work in vain. All combinations were possible or, rather, they could come to mind and form the subject of speeches, intrigues, plans, treaties. There was a lack of public opinion, that is, a collective interest that would manifest itself with its own voices and give substance to the plans of the diplomats. However, discussions and controversies over the press abounded. Indeed, they were rekindled with the war. And who stands for France or Spain, but as the least worst; who for an Italy that is neither French nor Spanish but of Italians and declares that the moment would be good both to free itself from Spain and to prevent France from taking its place. Action should be taken. As? The previous years many eyes had turned to the Savoy. But now the Savoy are in crisis. The thought therefore goes rather to an agreement between governments, to a league or even to a federation: a league or federation that can also act in agreement with France, but with the aim of preserving freedom and independence. So the writers. Conversely, the world of politicians, lacking the possibility or the will to overcome the antagonisms, jealousies, particularisms of dynasties and classes and groups, went the other way. The danger or greater evil continued to see, as in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, more in the possible growth of an Italian prince over others than in the preservation of Spain or in the taking over of France from Spain. And to avoid this danger or vent grudges against Italian princes, yes, it was possible for a league to close. As we saw with the league of Parma, Modena, Venice, Tuscany, that is of almost all independent Italy, against Pope Urban VIII for the war of Castro: league of Italy or for the peace of Italy, which, moreover, , it too broke up immediately. Italy will be formed in other ways, first of all through the synthesis of ideal elements and not through the sum of dynastic interests. However, Italy was an implicit recognition of the Italian states, “all together as a body, the members of which have consent with one another”, as the Venetian orator Piero Basadonna wrote in 1649 referring to the opinion of the Spaniards . They weren’t satisfied with feeling safe in the face of each of those states per se, but they wanted to feel safe in the face of it all. So, a real Italian policy, of the Spanish governments.

Italy Ruled by Spain 2

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