Historical information in the 14th Century

Locanda dell'Amorosa - Sinalunga - Siena - Tuscany - Italy

The Amorosa appears, and this is of considerable importance, in a great fresco celebrating the “battle of Valdichiana” in 1363 in the Sala del Mappamondo of Siena's Palazzo Pubblico. It is interesting not because it reveals the structure of the village, since the imaginative element evidently plays an important role, but because it testifies to its status of castrum (subsequently confirmed by other information), that is a village fortified with walls and other defensive structures. Indeed, if it had not been a place with obvious defensive characteristics it could not have occupied a place in this commemorative setting of strictly military nature, commissioned by the state.

In this period Siena was ruled by the Monte dei Dodici, considered by historians the city’s worst government. It was formed by representatives of the lower merchant class and succeeded the Monte dei Nove (the upper middle class) which had ruled for more then seventy years, certainly making many mistakes, some of which now weighed on the new government, but also bringing a widespread affluence.

The Nove were overthrown immediately after the great plague of 1348 which, preceded by two consecutive years of terrible famine, reduced the city and the countryside to a pitiful condition. Economic recovery was immediate, while the population increase took longer. The most serious problem, caused by the previous government and one of the main reasons for its disastrous downfall, that is the absence of a sense of the State and of sacrifice for the common good on part of the population of Siena, was totally ignored. The only aim was to get rich.

In this atmosphere the phenomenon of the compagnie di ventura, mecenary soldiers, present in the whole peninsula, found a fertile ground for development in the Sienese countryside. The Dodici decided that the best way to keep away the Compagnie was to pay them. But after the first, others arrived, and as the word spread the problem became more and more difficult to solve. At the beginning of 1363 a Breton company called “del Cappello” entered into Sienese territory and, paid by Florence, focused on the borderland causing considerable damage. Siena's weak reaction encouraged it to extend its raids until it reached the walls of the city, and maybe this was the incentive that provoked the government's reaction because this time, instead of paying, it assembled an army.

The captain of the “Compagnia del Cappello”, Niccolò da Montefeltro, did not take Siena very seriously (after all, it had never fought back in the past) or was too sure of his own strength, and agreed to a fight in the open, but was miserably defeated and taken prisoner. The battle took place in October of that same year in the area between Sinalunga and Torrita. The chronicles tell of long lines of prisoners who, in the evening, were brought within the walls of Asinalonga. Considering that the fight was long and bitter, probably lasting all day, the prisoners were certainly brought to the nearest castle and therefore the battle, or at least its final phase, must have taken place very near the Amorosa.

The task of celebrating this important event was entrusted to the painter Lippo Vanni. He has handed down the picture of a Sienese Valdichiana with a rich agriculture, many farmhouses with their vegetable gardens, straw stacks, fruit trees, all incredibly untouched and tidy in spite of the raging battle, thanks to the reassuring presence and the protection of the castles placed in strategic positions above the gentle hills, around the valley.

The description of the battle although pictured on one painting is divided in three distinct portions proceeding from left to right: the troops with the insignia of the company of the Terzo di Camollia exiting from the gate Pispini in Siena, are flanked by the troops of Francesco Orsini distinguished by the insignia with bands and one rose (to be even more explicit of the provenance of the captain he had on his sleeve “S.P.Q.R.”). In the second phase the attack is lead by the commanders: on their helmets the insignia of the rose of the Orsini and of the heraldic wing of Ugo dell’Ala(Hugo of the Wing) employed by Siena . In the third phase with a barely perceptible shift the depiction of the vanquisment of the Compagnia del Cappello.