Along the left bank of Ronco river (from Ravenna city centre along the Via Ravegnana towards Madonna dell’Albero), a marble stele surrounded by tall cypress trees stands: it's the so-called Colonna dei Francesi (Column of the French), carved in 1557 under the commission of cardinal Pier Donato Cesi, Archbishop of Narni, to commemorate one of the most terrible massacres in medieval and modern history.
According to the chronicles of the time on April 11, 1512, on Easter Sunday, in the plane between Ronco and Montone rivers, the French army fought for eight hours and defeated the so-called Holy League, formed by Spanish and Neapolitans. It was a bloody conflict that resulted in about twenty thousand soldiers being killed, including the brave Duke Gaston de Foix-Nemours, and were allegedly personalities like Baiardo, de La Palisse and Ludovico Ariosto took part too.
After the battle Ravenna was completely devastated, plundered and slaughtered by the victorious troops.
Once considered a place worthy of note, on foot of the column you can read the inscription: “In memory of the French and Spanish killed here so that time doesn’t destroy the memory of this event”.
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Last modified date: 20/04/2017