11 April 1512
On Easter Day, the 11th of April 1512, a battle took place near Ravenna, one of the most terrible massacres in Medieval and Modern history. The French army faced and defeated on the field the so-called Holy Legion, made up of Spaniards and Neapolitans. Around twenty thousand infantrymen and cavalrymen from Spain, Naples, Germany, Venice, Ferrara, and France, among which the brave Gaston, Count of Foix, lost their lives.
The story tells that this was one of the bloodiest battles of all time because it represented a kind of divide for the modern world, marked also by the arrival of heavy artillery.
After the clash, the city lived the carnage and violence of the pillage and was devastated.
It seems that even characters such as the Bayard, de La Palisse and Ludovico Ariosto took part in the battle.
To remember the event, there is a marble stone surrounded by high cypresses on the left side of the River Ronco in the Madonna dell’Albero area (can be reached from the historical centre of Ravenna following via Ravegnana); this stone, called the Colonna dei Francesi (French Column), was sculpted and erected in 1557 by Cardinal Pier Donato Cesi, the archbishop of Narni.