Siege of Fortezza
Fortezzan crown
The Fortezzan Army (led by General Stefano Bompiani)
The Rebel Army (led by Ludo Vivoide and General Bertoldo Ciampi)
The di Chimici Army (led by the Grand Duke of Tuschia and General Girolamo Tasca)

The Siege of Fortezza occurred several weeks after the Battle of Classe in 1580 in the city-state of Fortezza. The siege was the result of a succession struggle between a faction supporting Ludovico Vivoide for the throne of Fortezza over Lucia di Chimici.


Succession crisis

Jacopo's death

In 1580, Jacopo di Chimici, the ruler of Fortezza, died from prolonged illness after ruling the city-state for twenty-six years. As his elder daughter, it was expected that Princess Lucia, would inherit the crown and become the first sovereign Princess of Fortezza. However, during the succession announcement, her claim to the throne was openly contested by Ludovico Vivoide, a Manoush man who claimed to be Jacopo's illegitimate son. The challenge was investigated by the Signoria, the ruling body of Fortezza.

Fortezzan ring

Ludovico Vivoide's ring

During the investigation, Vivoide was housed in the Palazzo della Signoria in accordance to a clause in the city's constitution that a rival claimant to the title and throne must be treated as a potential ruler of the city. False claimants would be permanently exiled from the city. Vivoide's claim was supported by the possession of a Fortezzan royal ring that belonged to his father and by the fact that he was older than Lucia di Chimici by one year. Vivoide also garnered support from the local people, mostly consisting of citizens who are unwilling to accept a female sovereign ruler, though citizens also admitted that had Princess Lucia's first husband, Carlo of Giglia, had survived, they would have been receptive to accepting them as co-rulers of Fortezza. However, Vivoide's claim was weakened by the fact that he was Jacopo's illegitimate son, whereas his two daughters, Lucia and Bianca, Duchessa of Volana, were legitimate. As well, Lucia had support from citizens who were loyal to Jacopo and the di Chimici family, who viewed Vivoide as an pretender and usurper.

In response to the challenge, members of the di Chimici family arrived in Fortezza in support of Lucia's claim, including Fabrizio, the Grand Duke of Tuschia; Gaetano di Chimici; Alfonso, Duke of Volana; and Filippo di Chimici. In hopes of keeping Fortezza firmly under di Chimici control, the Grand Duke suggested that Lucia marry Filippo di Chimici, the son of the Prince of Bellona, in order to immediately quell the faction that did not support her because she was a woman. As the di Chimici family controlled half the city-states in Talia, maintaining Fortezza was especially crucial in the Grand Duke's plans to eventually gain political control of all of Talia.

After a thorough examination, the Signoria acknowledged that there was sufficient evidence to support that Ludo Vivoide was likely Jacopo's son and that he was older than Lucia by one year. However, he was also established as being illegitimate and had never been recognized by Jacopo as his son, nor had there been evidence that illustrated that Jacopo had even been aware of Vivoide's existence. Rejecting Vivoide's claim, the Signoria declared Lucia as the sovereign ruler of Fortezza and its legitimate Princess, while the claimant, Vivoide, was exiled from Fortezza forever.

The SiegeEdit

First ManueversEdit

With Lucia legally esbtablished as Fortezza's sovereign, the di Chimici withdrew from the city. However, Vivoide, refusing to accept the outcome of the Signoria's decision, remained in Fortezza, supported by the faction that did not support having a female ruler. In anticipation of civil war, Stefano Bompiani, the leader of Fortezza's army, had prepared and armed the military for conflict. However, he was quickly overthrown by his second-in-command, Bertoldo Ciampi, who led half the Fortezzan army away to join Vivoide and the rebel forces. The rebel forces quickly took control of the city.

Because Fortezza was a highly fortified city and well-provisioned, it could withstand a long siege. Hoping to gain enough support from the army and citizens, Vivoide had little plan beyond having his faction defend the city against the impending attack from di Chimici army and had hoped that Lucia and her mother would accept him as Fortezza's sovereign and quietly leave the city to live in Volana, where Lucia's younger sister Bianca had married the Duke of Volana. Though she was not taken hostage, Lucia was trapped within the Rocca di Chimici with her mother, the Dowager Princess Carolina; the Bellezzan noble Guido Parola; and the remainder of the Fortezzan army under General Bompiani.

Upon receiving Lucia's messenger, the Grand Duke quickly ordered the di Chimici rulers of Volana, Moresco, Remora, and Bellona to prepare forces and march to Fortezza. Though only Fortezza and Giglia were known to have permanent standing armies, the wealth and influence of the di Chimici family allowed them to raise armed forces from mercenaries. While she could not escape from the Rocca, the fortress prevented the rebel forces from capturing or killing Lucia, who was defended by General Bompiani and the Fortezzan army from within. However, Lucia's inability to attack the rebel army meant that she could be used as a bargaining chip against a besieging army.

di Chimici Army ArrivesEdit

One week after the rebels had overthrown the Fortezzan army, the di Chimici army arrived in Fortezza under the nominal lead of the Grand Duke of Tuschia, and the day-to-day operations under General Girolamo Tasca and Prince Gaetano. Through espionage courtesy of the Brotherhood of the Stravaganti, the di Chimici army was able to confirm Lucia's status, though she was closely guarded by the rebel army surrounding the Rocca and controlling the city and its walls.

Armed with siege-engines and superior cannons, the di Chimici army of more than 10 000 men began the assault on the fortress city. While Prince Gaetano noted the siege was unusual in nature because the besiegers were not trying to take the city for themselves, his brother the Grand Duke insisted the purpose of the siege was to reclaim the city of the di Chimici family and free Lucia so she could claim her title, as well as killing Vivoide so he could no longer challenge Lucia's right to the Fortezzan throne.

The rebels' strategy was to deploy their cannons right away against the enemy's siege-engines, leaving the di Chimici army to make the first move. In order to mitigate casualties, the Stravaganti attempted to keep Lucia informed of the number of men, siege-engines and cannons in place, as well as the army's movements and the rebel army's countermoves, in order to provide Lucia and the Fortezzan army the first opportunity to lead the castle's forces out and attack Vivoide from within the city. Lucia also believed that Vivoide's forces were unlikely to attack the Rocca.

Before the attack, a parley was held between Vivoide and Prince Gaetano, a senior member of the di Chimici family representing the Grand Duke, to discuss possible concessions. The parley was held in one of the guardtowers in the gate, with Ciampi and a small guard of Vivoide's men. When Gaetano informed Vivoide of the di Chimici army's numbers and the likelihood that the siege would end in their favour, Gaetano gave the terms offered by the Grand Duke: safe conduct to a city of Vivoide's choice and no retaliation for his act of sedition, save permanent exile from Fortezza, which meant giving up his claim. Vivoide refused, believing in the city's fortifications and provisions and not trusting the Grand Duke would honour his terms, despite Gaetano's offer to personally accompany Vivoide. In response, Vivoide presented a counter-offer to release Lucia and her mother into the Grand Duke's protection if she gave up her claim to the throne. When Gaetano returned to the di Chimici camp with Vivoide's offer, the Grand Duke refused the terms and ordered Gaetano to announce that the di Chimici would begin the next stage of the siege - the attack.

The Great AssaultEdit



Gaetano's suggestions to starve or cut off the water supply for defending rebel army were rejected because it had been clear that the city was extremely well-provisioned thanks to Prince Jacopo's efforts. Thus, the di Chimici army resorted to bombardment by cannon and siege-engines, being careful to avoid allowing the Rocca to be hit because Lucia and her faction were inside. Following the initial bombardment, Vivoide ordered the rebel army to retaliate by attacking at dawn on Sunday to catch the di Chimici army off-guard. As the soldiers were attending mass, everyone in camp was forced to arms in order to return fire. The attack left the city badly damaged, causing food stores to run low with a great deal of casualties and injuries. Damage from cannonballs proved to be more destructive than siege-engine shots, demolishing most of the city's centre.



After two weeks of siege and lack of fresh food, the citizens were starting to become hungry. In hopes of ending the siege, the Stravagante Laura attempted to meet Vivoide at the Palazzo della Signoria. However, her sudden and inexplicable appearance in the palazzo caused one of Vivoide's bodyguards, who had believed her to be a witch and an ally of Lucia di Chimici, to attack and injure her, resulting in an instinctive stravagation back to her time before Vivoide was able to confirm her safety. Once the firing between the two sides stopped, Vivoide made the decision to give up his claim, motivated by his personal emotional distress that Laura may have died.

When Vivoide requested another parley to accept the terms of safe conduct previously offered by the Grand Duke, Vivoide offered his surrender due to personal loss and the desire to leave Fortezza for Romula. Having already conveyed his decision to Ciampi, Vivoide was forced to await the Grand Duke's decision. A ceasefire and suspended hostilities followed until negotiations ended.


In the negotiations following the siege, Vivoide surrendered his claim to Fortezza to the besiegers and Lucia was to "be crowned Princess and ruler over loyal and rebellious citizens alike." To prevent the Grand Duke from reneging on offer of safe conduct, Prince Gaetano insisted on personally accompanying Vivoide to Romula upon Vivoide's exile from Fortezza.

In the rebel camp, Ciampi had not been consulted about Vivoide's surrender, only of Vivoide's decision. Despite Ciampi's insistence that the siege could be continued and that the members of the rebel army would be in great danger, Vivoide refused to consider continuing the siege. Leaving Vivoide to his fate, Ciampi informed his men of Vivoide's surrender and began plans for his men to attempt escape from the city by a back gate, though most of the prominent leaders of the rebel faction, including Ciampi, would be captured. In contrast, many of the rebel soldiers who deserted would go to the Rocca to throw themselves at Princess Lucia's mercy. With the ceasefire, fewer men guarded the Rocca; however, Lucia was to remain in the Rocca until she was officially released by the army to the Grand Duke.

The siege officially ended upon the procession of the Grand Duke, flanked by Prince Gaetano (as the Grand Duke's brother) and the Duke of Volana (as the Grand Duke's brother-in-law as the brother of the Grand Duke's wife Caterina, as well as Princess Lucia's brother-in-law as the husband of her sister Bianca), preceded by Cardinal Rinaldo di Chimici as the army's chaplain, and followed by the other leaders of the di Chimici army into the city. After Lucia and her mother were released into the protection of the Grand Duke, a chained Vivoide was handed into the safeguard of Prince Gaetano. The Signore subsequently presented the keys of the city to the Grand Duke, signifying the Grand Duke's success in retoring the rule of Fortezza to a di Chimici princess, a legitimate member of his family.


The Fortezzan ArmyEdit

Consisting of the legitimate armed forces of Fortezza, in support of Lucia di Chimici's claim to Fortezza, the following were participants involved with the siege.

  • Lucia di Chimici, the sovereign Princess of Fortezza
  • Guido Parola, Lucia's bodyguard, a Bellezzan nobleman
  • Stefano Bompiani, General of the Fortezzan Army
  • Carolina, the Dowager Princess of Fortezza, mother of Lucia
  • The Signore, leader of the Signoria of Fortezza

Lucia was also unofficially supported by members of the Order of Stravaganti, particularly Luciano Crinamorte, Laura, the swordsmith Fabio della Spada, and Rodolfo Rossi, and their associate, the spy Enrico Poggi.

The Rebel ArmyEdit

Consisting forces in support of Ludo Vivoide's claim to Fortezza and/or opposing Princess Lucia's claim to the throne, known participants of the siege include the following.

  • Ludovico Vivoide, claimant to the throne of Fortezza
  • Bertoldo Ciampi, General of the Rebel Army
  • Riccardo, one of Vivoide's bodyguards
  • Roberto, one of Vivoide's bodyguards

The di Chimici ArmyEdit

In response to the rebel army taking control of Fortezza, the Grand Duke of Tuschia assembled an army consisting of the Giglian Army and mercenaries hired by city-states under di Chimici rule to restore Lucia's throne. Most of the contingents were nominally led by their city's rulers or their proxies, with the exception of the army raised by Pope Lenient VI, who had allowed five experienced mercenary condottiere to lead the Reman contingent. Known participants included the following.

Aftermath and EffectsEdit

Though citizens had begun to clear rubble and debris during the ceasefire, many fine buildings had been destroyed or affected by the bombardment during the civil war. While Fortezza's walls and defences had been well-regarded as impregnable, the advances in military technology meant that old methods of warfare were beginning to be overtaken by gun power. Both armies had been armed with cannons, but the di Chimici weapons had been newer and superior, as well as experience in strategy after the recent failure to capture Classe[1]. Both sides also suffered large numbers of injured soldiers and civilians, as well as considerable casualties from the conflict.

In an attempt to politically secure Fortezza by providing the city with a male di Chimici ruler, the Grand Duke suggested that Lucia remarry, encouraging his favoured candidate Filippo of Bellona to propose. Neither approving of Filippo as her prince-consort after Filippo's recent failure to court the Grand Duke's sister, Beatrice, nor the idea of giving up her status as sovereign ruler to a representative when Filippo became Prince of Bellona, Lucia refused the proposal. However, she remained receptive to marriage, particularly as a way to comfort the people of Fortezza, along with her coronation, and announced the intention to marry Guido Parola at the dinner celebrating the restoration of her title as Princess of Fortezza.


Trial and execution

Unable to force Lucia to comply with his wishes and being forced to allow Gaetano to escort Vivoide from the city unharmed, the Grand Duke focused his anger into punishing the prominent members of the rebel army, as well as Luciano Crinamorte and Enrico Poggi, both whom the Grand Duke held personal grudges against and had been captured in Fortezza after the siege. While Lucia had insisted on fair trials for all the rebels, the power and influence of the Grand Duke against the Signore presiding over the trials made it difficult. Thanks to Lucia's intervention after researching the Fortezzan laws and using her privilege as the sovereign of Fortezza, both Luciano and Enrico were cleared of the charges that the Grand Duke attempted to use against them for execution. However, the majority of the rebel army were tried and executed, beginning with the rebel general, Ciampi, along with a number of civilians who supported the rebel faction. To end the executions, the Duke of Volana, through the aid of the Stravaganti, managed to contact the Pope to intercede with a Papal order to halt the trials; the Grand Duke was unable to continue punishing of supporters of the rebel faction due to the status of the Pope as a religious authority and a senior member of the di Chimici family. Unfortunately, the Pope would later die, purportedly from a stroke, and arranged for the Cardinal Rinaldo di Chimici to be elected as the next Pope, being one more favourable to listening to the Grand Duke's demands.

Under Gaetano's protection, Vivoide was secretly given an order for a bank in Romula for a large sum of money as a gift from Lucia in recognition of him as Jacopo's eldest child. However, the party was attacked en route and Vivoide was captured by assailants hired by the Grand Duke and the new Pope to be killed at the upcoming wedding of the Duchessa of Bellezza, a long-time opponent of the Grand Duke. Vivoide, after escaping from his captors, died of an infected wound after being pulled from canal in Bellezza by his cousins, Aurelio and Raffaella Vivoide.

Notes and ReferencesEdit

  1. City of Swords
    "I think," said Georgia slowly, "that this attack happened just at the point where old methods were being overtaken by gun power. Both sides had cannon but the di Chimici weapons were newer and superior."
    "That didn't help in the Battle of Classe," said Isabel. "Fabrizio was defeated by a much smaller force there, modern weapons or not."
    "He seriously underestimated the enemy in Classe," said Nick. "And he was expecting victory from the sea, remember. Maybe he has learned from defeat. He has a good general."

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