Da Lucca a Spira

Percorsi storici, artistici e culturali al tempo di Matilde ed Enrico IV

Introduzione del Professor Paolo Golinelli, presidente dell’Associazione Matilda internazionale

Introduzione di Fabio Randon, presidente del CAI di Mantova

Saluti del comune da parte di Maddalena Portioli

Arturo Carlo QuintavalleLe vie del medioevo: modelli narrativi

Paolo GolinelliTutte le strade portano a Roma. Percorsi imperiali in Italia (secc. X-XII)

Chiara AgostiI cammini e il patrimonio culturale, ambientale e paesaggistico: occasione di valorizzazione e sviluppo

Eugenio Riversi“Metropolis Germaniae“. Re, vescovi, cittadini e comunità ebraiche alle origini dello sviluppo di Spira in epoca salica

Daniele DaolioPassaggi e soste sulle vie dei pellegrini. Gli esempi di Guastalla e Bondeno di Roncore

Rossella RinaldiPrime note sui percorsi canossani in relazione alla realtà economica delle comunità (secoli X-XIII)

Gabriele FabbriciRiflessioni sulla viabilità terrestre e fluviale nel territorio reggiano nei secoli IX/X e XII quale cerniera tra Nord e Centro Italia

Giuliano Cervi, Direttrici di percorrenza tra Mantova e l’Appennino desunte dalle ricerche di Maria Bertolani sugli xenodochi matildici

Bruno Agosti, Parchi e riserve naturali da Mantova al Brennero. Discorso di chiusura

List of rulers

After the fall of the Empire

Odoacer (476 – 493)

Ostrogoth rulers

Theodoric (493 – 526)

Athalaric (526 – 534

Amalasuntha (534 – 535)

Theodahad (534 – 536)

Vitiges (536 – 540)

Ildibad (540 – 541)

Eraric (541)

Totila (541 – 552)

Teia (552)

Lombard rulers

Alboin (568 – 572)

Cleph (572 – 574)

Authari (584  – 590)

Agilulf (590 – 616)

Adaloald (616 – 626)

Arioald (626 – 636)

Rothari (636 – 652)

Rodoald (652 – 653)

Airport I (653 – 661)

Perctarit and Godeper (661 – 662)

Grimoald (662 – 671)

Garibald (671 – 672)

Perctarit 672 – 688)

Cunipert (688 – 700)

Liutpert (700 – 701)

Raginert (700 – 701)

Airport II (701 – 712)

Ansprand (712)

Liutprand (712 – 744)

Ildeprand (744)

Ratchis (744 – 749)

Aisulf (749 – 756)

Ratchis (756 – 757)

Desiderius (757 – 774)








This is a general timeline of the story so far in the podcast

410 – The visigoth King, Alaric, invades Italy and sacks rome

452 – Attilla the Hunn invades Italy and arrives in Pavia where he is convinced to turn back by pope Leo I

475 – Birth of Severinus Boethius

476 – End of the Western Roman Empire. Odoacer becomes “king” of Italy

480 – Cassiodorus is born in Squillace. Possible year of birth of St. Benedict

488 – King of the Ostrogoths Theodoric starts his long march west

489 – 28th August. Odoacer meets Thodroci along the banks of the Isonso and is defeated

30th august. The two armies meet again and Odoacer is again defeated

493 – Ravenna falls to the Ostogoth siege and Odoacer is killed along with his family and followers

493 – Theodoric completes the cinquest of Italy

500 – Theodoric visits Rome and published an edict with 144 articles

523 – Relationships between Theodoric, Boethius break down over Simmachus

524 – Justin’s edict against heresies

524 – Boethius executed

526 – Death of Theodoric

529 – The monastery at Montecassino is completed

535 – Amalasunta is killed by order of her cousin Theodahad

535 – the general Belisarius arrives in Sicily

539 – First Frankish invasion of Northern Italy

540 – Gregory the Great is born in Rome

554 – The emperor Justinian issues the Pragmatica sanzione giving the Italian bishops greater autonomy and administrative power

568 – Alboino’s Lombards enter Italy. Milan falls on 3rd September

572 – Pavia surrenders to the Lombardsl. In the same year Alboin is assassinated in a plot by his wife Rosamunda. Cleph is acclaimed king.

574 – First appearance of the Duchies

578 – The Dukes of Spoleto and Benevento lay siege to Rome, but are dissuaded by pope Pelagius’s offer of gold

590 – Gregory the great is elected pope

599 – Italy is divided into three spheres of influence: Lombards, Bizantines and Romans

604 – Death of Gregory the great

636 – 652 – Reign of Rotary

643 – Rotary publishes a civil and penal code in a 388 chapter edict

651 – Start of Arab expansion

663 – Constans II invades the Duchy of Benevento, but is beaten back

668 – Constans II dies in Sicily

712 – Liutprand becomes king of the Lombards

726 – Emperor Leo III issues his iconoclast edict

732 – Charles Martel defeats the Arabs at Poiters, halting their advance into Europe

739 – Liutprand takes 4 cities of the Roman Duchy, including Sutri

742 – The cities are given to the pope instead of to the Byzantine empire

744 – Death of Liuprand

751 – The Lombard king Aistulf takes Ravenna and the Pentapolis, putting and end to the Byzantine Exarcate

754 – Aistulf is defeated by the Franks in the Susa valley

756 – Aistulf dies in a hunting accident and is succeeded by Desiderius

757 – Pope Stephen II dies

768 – Pepin the short dies leaving the kingdom to his sons Charles and Carloman

774 – Charlemagne defeats king Desiderius, putting n end to the Lombard kingdom

795 – Pope Hadrian dies and pope Leo III is elected

800 – Charlemagne is crowned holy Roman emperor in Rome by pope Leo III

806 – Charlemagne divides up the empire among his sons

810 – Charlemagne’s son Pipin and king of Italy dies and his son Berengarius becomes king

814 – Charlemagne dies and his son Luis the Pious becomes emperor

819 – Berengarius is blinded and later dies

827 – The Arabs start the conquest of Sicily

843 – The treaty of Verdun divides up the empire between the sons of Luis the Pious. Lothar receives Italy

855 – Lothar dies, Luis II inherits Italy

875 – Charles the bald becomes emperor

879 – Charles the fat becomes king of Italy

888 – Charles the fat is deposed

893 – Arnulf of Carinthia enters Italy to aid Bernegarius, Marquis of Friuli and future king of Italy against Guido, Duke of Spoleto and king of Italy. Guido dies and is succeeded by his son Lamberto, who is then crowned king by pope Formusus

895 – Pope Formosus is imprisoned by Lamberto in Rome for seeking help from Arnulf of Carinthia against the Spoleto faction. Arnulf lays siege to Rome and frees the pope.

896 – Pope Formosus dies and the Spoleto faction elects Stephen IV

897 – Posthumous trial of Fromosus. Assassination of Stephen IV

898 – Pope John IX is elected. He rehabilitates Formosus

899 – Berengarius of Friuli is defeated by Hungarian mercenaries

904 – Sergius III is elected pope thanks to the Spoleto faction lead by Marozia, the new oboe’s lover

905 – Luis of Provence enters Italy, called by the nobles to depose Berengarius, but he is defeated by the latter.

914 – John X is elected pope and he crowns Berengarius emperor

924 – Beremgarius is assassinated in Verona

932 – Hugo of Provence is crowned king of Italy in Pavia and then enters Rome where he marries Marozia, widow of Albert of Spoleto and then Guido of Tuscany. Hugo is ousted by the son of Marozia, Albert of Rome who becomes lord of the city

936 – Otto I is crowned king of Germany

950 – Berengarius of Ivrea is crowned king of Italy along with his son Adalbert

951 – Otto I enters Italy and is crowned king

954 – Albert of Rome, son of Marozia dies. His son, Octavian becomes ruler of Rome and later pope.

962 – Otto I is crowned in Rome, the Germanic Holy Roman Empire is founded.

973 – Otto I dies

982 – Otto II loses the battle of Stilo to the Saracens and is almost killed

996 – Otto III descends into Italy and defeats the Roman faction opposing pope John XIV and then places his cousins Gregory V on the papal throne

1002 – Otto III dies outside if Rome after being sent away by its inhabitants

1004 – Henry II is crowned king of Italy after defeating Arduin of Ivrea

1012 – In Rome the Crescenzi family los power to the Tuscolo who elect Benedict VIII

1014 – Henry II is crowned Holy Roman Emperor

1015 – Arduin of Ivrea dies

1018 – Aribert is made bishop of Milan

1024 – Both pope Benedict VIII and Henry II die

1026 – Conrad II is elected Emperor

1033 – Benedict IX is elected pope

1037 – Conrad II issues the Constitutio de feudis, giving lower vassals hereditary rights

1039 – Conrad II dies and is succeeded by Henry III

1044 – The Romans rebel against Benedict IX

1045 – After a year of anarchy, Clement II is elected pope and kicks off a spiritual reform

1046 – Henry III deposed three popes trying to put an end to Roman interference in the election of the popes

Matilda of Canossa is born

1047 – Hostilities start between Henry III and Godfrey the bearded and his wife Beatrix of Tuscany.

1049 – Pope Leo IX is elected

1053 – Leo IX leads a military expedition against the Normans and is defeated at the battle of Civitate by Robert Guiscard

1054 – The great east- west schism occurs

1055 – Leo IX dies and is substituted by Victor II

1056 – Henry III dies and is succeeded by his son Henry IV

1059 – Nicolas II determines that popes must be elected by Cadinals

1071 – The Seljuk Turks occupy Jerusalem

1072 – Roger of Hauteville takes Palermo from the Arabs

1073 – Ildeprando of Soana is elected pope as Gregory VII

1075 – Gregory VII sets out his reform program in the dictatus papaw

1076 – In a council at Worms Henry IV of Germany deposes Gregory VII and is in turn excommunicated by the pope

1077 – After three days as a penitent at Canossa, Henry IV is forgiven by Gregory VII

The German nobles elected a new king Rudolf of Swabia

1080 – Rudolf is killed by Henry at the battle of Hohenmölsen

1081 – 1083 Henry IV descends into Italy and nominates an antipope, Celement III, occupying Rome. Gregory VII seeks refuge in Castel Sant Angelo and excommunicates Clement III. The Normans occupy Durazzo and Corfu.

1083 – Venetian Doge Vitale Falier takes back Durazzo and Corfu

1084 – Henry IV is crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Clement III and leaves from Roman when the Normans arrive with Gregory VII

1085 – Gregory VII dies in exile in Salerno after the Romans blamed him for the Norman sack of the city

1092 – Matilda, countess of Canossa defeats Henry IV at the battle of the fog at Bianello

1095 – Pope Urban II calls for the First Crusade

1099 – Jerusalem falls to the Crusaders

1104 – Henry V son of Henry IV leads a successful coup against his father

1106 – Henry IV dies

1115 – Matilda, countess of Canossa and margarine of Tuscany dies

1122 – The Concordat of Worms puts an apparent end to the investiture controversy

1125 – Henry V dies and the German princes elect Lothar of Saxony and new king

1128 – Conrad III of the house of Hohenstaufen contests Lothar’s coronation and descends into Italy where the Milanese crown him king of the Kingdom of Italy

1130 – Roger II of Sicily obtains the corn of Sicily, Calabria and Puglia from anti-pope Anacletus II

1133 – Innocent II crowns Lothar emperor and confirms the crown of Roger II who goes on to take Amalfi, Naples and Gaeta

1137 – Amalfi is sacked by a fleet from Pisa

1143 – Innocent II dies

1147 – Start of the second Crusade

1152 – Frederick Barbarossa is elected emperor

1153 – The Romans create an independent commune under the guidance of Arnaldo da Brescia and with the support of the Normans. Pope Eugene III dies and in his place Hadrian IV, the only English pope in history to this day, is elected

1154 – 1155 – Frederick Barbarossa descends into Italy destroying many castles in Lombardy and the city of Spoleto. He captures and consigns Arnaldo da Brescia to the pope who has him executed. The people of Rome revolt and force Barbarossa to leave

1158 – Milan destroys its rival city Lodi, under the protection of the emperor who descends into Italy and attacks Milan as well as Crema. In the diet of Roncaglia of that year he sets out his code for governing the communes and appoints an imperial podestà in every city.

1159 – Alexander III becomes pope, Barbarossa has the anti-pope Victor IV elecyed

1162 – Third descent of Barbarossa into Italy, Milan is totally destroyed

1166 – Fourth decent of Barbarossa into Italy, he enters Bologna and Ancona and also attacks Rome, but is forced to retreat due to the plague. He is then excommunicated by pope Alexander

1167 – The Lombard League of communes is formed with the support of Alexander III. The city of Alessandria is founded

1174 – Frederick return to Italy and lays siege to Alessandria, but the Lombard league manages to lift the siege

1176 – Barbarossa is defeated on 29th May at the battle of Legnano

1177 – Peace conference between Barbarossa and the Communes in Venice

1179 – The third Lateran Council determines that popes will be elected by the cardinals by a two/thirds majority

1182 – St Francis is born in Assisi

1183 – The Peace of Constance determines the definitive peace between the Empire and the Communes

1184 – 1186 – Sixth descent of Baraborssa into Italy in which he marries his son the future Henry Vi to Constance Hauteville, heir to the throne of Sicily

1190 – Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa dies on his way to the third Crusade

1194 – Future Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II is born in Jesi as his parents, Henry VI and Constance of Sicily are on their way to Palermo where Henry manages to consolidate his reign

1197 – Henry VI dies at the age of 32 leaving a three year old son and his widow as regent

1198 – Constance of Sicily dies, leaving her son Frederick in the care of pope Innocent III

1202 – 1204 – The fourth Crusade, lead by Venitian doge Enrico Dandalo takes Zara and then Constantinople itself

1211 – Chiara of Assisi founds the order of the Clarisse

1212 – Frederick II is crowned by Pope Innocent III. The pope also approves the order of Francis of Assisi

1215 – The fourth Lateran Council institutes tribunals against heresy

1216 – Death of Innocent III succeeded by

1220 – Honorius III crowns Frederick Holy Roman Emperor and he swears to go on Crusade

1226 – Francis of Assisi dies

1227 – Gregory IX is elected, the inquisition starts under his papacy

1229 – Frederick II reaches an agreement with the Sultan Al Kamil to get back Jerusalem

1231 – With the Constitutions of Melfi Frederick II sets out the laws of the kingdom of Sicily, uniting Roman and Norman law

1235 – Frederick II puts down the rebellion of his son Henry

1237 – Frederick II defeats the communal forces at Cortenova

1241 – Gregory IX dies, succeder by Celestine IV and then Innocent IV

1244 – At the Council of Lyon Innocent IV deposed Frederick II. The Arabs take back Jerusalem

1248 – Frederick II is defeated in Parma by the communal forces

1249 – At the battle of Fossalto, the son of Frederick, Enzo is captured by the Bolognese and held prisoner in their city until his death. Enzo had been nominated king of Sardinia by the emperor

1250 – Frederick II dies in Puglia. The crown of Hermany passes to his son Conrad and that of the kingdom of Sicily to his son Manfredi

1258 – Manfredi, illegitimate son of Frederick II becomes king of the kingdom of Sicily

1260 – The Tuscan Ghibellines defeat the Guelphs at the battle of Montaperti

1266 – Charles of Anjou defeates king Manfredi of Sicily at the head of a Guelph army at the battle of Benvento. The Guelphs take back control of Florence

1268 – Charles of Anjou defeats Conradine, the last of the Hohenstaufen, at the battle of Tagliacozzo

1282 – In Florence the Priorato delle Arti, a.k.a. Signoria is formed and the guilds enter into government

1284 – Pisa is defeated by Genoa at the battle of Meloria

1289 – Definitive defeat of the Tuscan Ghibellines by the Guelphs at the battle of Campaldino

1293 – In Florence Giano della Bella issues a ban on voting for those who are not enrolled in the arts, a rivalry breaks out between the “popolo grasso” (wealthy class) and the “popolo minuto” (lower class).

1294 – Pope Boniface VIII is elected

1295 – Treaty of Anagni: Sicily is given back to the Angevines while Sardinia and Corsica are given back to the Aragonese. The Sicilian population rebels

1297 – The lockout of the major council occuors in Venice, which limits access to the dogato only to those who have already been part of it and initiates the republic towards a new oligarchic government.

1298 – Genoese naval victory over the Venetias near Curzola

1300 – Pope Bonifacio VIII announces the first jubilee

1302 – The clash between Bonifacio VIII and Philip the fair of France, over the “Unam Sanctam” bull: the pope reaffirms the supremacy of the church over sovereigns, but Philip firmly rejects it. End of the “guerra del vespro” and victory of the Aragonese over the Angevines with the peace treaty of Caltabellotta. Victory of the Black over the White Guelphs in Florence, Dante is exiled.

1303 – Bonifacio VIII is imprisoned at Anagni by the emissaries of Philip the fair and dies shortly after being freed by the populace  

1304 – Francesco Petrarca is born

1305-1309 – pope Clemente V moves the papacy to Avignone 

1310 – Holy Roman Emperor Henry VII descends into Italy and names imperial vicars the Visconti from Milan and the Scaligeri from Verona 

1311 – Matteo Visconti founds the Visconti power in Milan. Cangrande della Scala extends the Veronese power over a good portion of northern Italy, moving into Venice and Milan territory

1312 – Henry VII is crowned emperor in Rome

1313 – Henry VII dies, Roberto of Anjou receives the lordship of Florence. Giovanni Bocaccio is born

1321 – Dante Alighieri dies

1328 – The Gonzaga become the lords of Mantua

1339 – The conquest of Treviso by the Venetians marks the start of the Venetian expansion inland 

1348 – The bubonic plague reaches the Italian shores from Genovese ships, expanding in all of Europe 

1355 – In Venice Martin Faliero fails in his conspiracy against the government of the patricians

1374 – Petrarca dies

1375 – Boccaccio dies

1376-1381 – Venice wins against Genoa after the Battle of Chioggia. The end of the war between the two maritime powers is sanctioned with the peace of Turin.

1377 – Pope Gregory XI brings the papacy back to Rome

1378 – The Great Schism starts, 5 months after the election of Urbano VI a new conclave elects Clement VII who settles in Avignon

1385 – Milan, Gian Galeazzo Visconti unifies the lordship by extending his control over the territory held by his uncle, Bernabò

1395 – Gian Galeazzo Visconti receives the title of duke from the king Venceslao of Boemia. His territory is extended up to Perugia but his attempt to conquer Florence fails. He manages to marry his daughter Valentina to Luigi of Orlèans

1402 – Death of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. Giovanni di Bicci de Medici is elected prior in Florence

1406 – Florence conquers Pisa and Livorno, Verona is conquered by Venice.

1409 – Council of Pisa, three popes are elected at the same time: Gregory XII, Alexander V, Benedict XIII

1417-1418 – End of the great schism wi the the election of pope di Martin V 

1421 – Giovanni de’ Medici is nominated gonfalonier of justice in Florence

1423 – Francesco Foscari is elected Doge of Venice, he involves Venice in continuous wars against Milan, Bologna, the Malatesta, the lord of Rimini and the pope.

Reading list

Early middle ages

IMG_1014 2

Teodorico il grande, (Theodoric the Great) 

Collacci Antonio

Mursia , 2001

Easy to read and well narrated with good insight into the life of the king. It starts by giving some family background and moves into the period just after his death and up to the Byzantine invasion. A little more of a look into the life of Theodoric would have been interesting

Amalasunta, la Regina (Amalasuntha, The Queen)

Vito Antonio Sirago

Jaca Books, Milan, 1999

A nice, easy to read book that brings the character and value of an otherwise ignored historical figure. It shows that she wasn’t just a victim of circumstance, but a real player on the national and international scene, as well as showing her great human value.

L’Italia dei Barbari (Barbarian Italy)

Claudio Azzara

Il Mulino, Bologna, 2002

A light, easy to read, yet well-reesarched book that goes from the fall of the Roman Ampire to the defeat of the Lombards and the arrival of the Franks. A great book if you want to get a quick idea of the period from 467 to the end of the eight century

La guerra gotica (The Gothic War)

Procopius of Cesarea

Garzanti, Milan, 2005

A nice surprise. I picked it up imagining I would just leaf through to get some dates and info,  ut ended up reading all 700 pages cover to cover in quite a short time. Full of interesting anecdotes as well as the story of the the 535 – 552 war. It is quite well balanced considering it was written by a member of the Byzantine contingent.

Totila L’immortale (Totila the immortal)

Dante Rossetto

Canova, Treviso, 1999

A book stuck between a history and a historical novel. Basically the biography of King Totila told from the point of view of his personal servant. It’s rather pro-goth, but interesting and informative, a good read.

Teodolinda, una regina per l’europa (Theodolina, a queen for Europe)

A biography of the Lombard queen that stretches back to the origins of her people and the conquest of Italy, before telling us about th Queen herself and the traces you can find of her in modern day Italy.

Andare per L’Italia Bizantina (Travelling around Byzantine Italy)

Giorgio Ravegnani

Il Mulino, Bologna 2016

A book for lovers of art and archeology about the traces of the Byzantines you can find in Italy today by region and city

Geschicte der Langobarden (History of the Lombards)

Jörg Jarnut

Verlag W Kohlhammer GmbH, Stuggart, Berlin, Koln, Mainz, 1982

A surprisingly fluid, informative, yet not too heavy read on a general history of the Lombards, focusing mainly on their presence in Italy

Italia Longobarda

Stefano Gasparri

Laterza, Rome – Bari 2012

A very detailed look at many different aspects of the Lombard reign in Italy, oarticukarly in the 8th century with a look at politics, economy and social groups. The book shows great depth of original source study and a view on a local and family level. Not an easy read, but precious if you really want to get to know the Lombards.Mu

Storia dell’Italia medioevale (History of medieval Italy)

Paolo Cammarosano

La Terza Roma-Bari 2001

A book based more on social issues and ideas rather than a narrated, chronological history, but good for some insights into the economic and social situations in the early middle ages.



Early Medieval Italy, central power and local society 400-1000

Chris Wickam

Macmillan, London, 1981

A good book to get a general overview of Italy in this period, focusingocus on social and economic organisation, yet a little hard to follow when it comes to political history.  A great integration to a more narrative text.

La vita quotidiana dei Longobardi ai tempi di re Rotari (Daily life of the Lombards in the age of king Rotari)

Dario Pedrazzini

Gabriele Angelini Editore, Imola, 2007

An interesting look into the daily life of the Lombards in the 7th century, from their diet and clothes to Religion and war tactics. A great read for those that like to know about the history of every-day life.

Middle ages

Storia dell’Italia medioevale (History of medieval Italy)

Ovidio Capitani

Gius, Laterza & Figli, 1986

A thorough look at political, social and economic aspects of medieval Italy from the fall of the empire to the 13th century. A very useful tool, yet  little heavy reading.


La Sicilia Musulmana (Muslim Sicily)

Alessandro Vanoli

Il Mulino, Bologna, 2012

An interesting, fluid read focusing on the Muslim presence on the island of Sicily, starting from some background history of the island from the fall of the Western Roman Empire, through the rise of Islam to the conquest of the island and the setting up of the Emirate, all the way to the fall of the Muslim government at the hands of the Normans.


I Bizantini in Italia (The Byzantines in Italy)

Various authors

Libri Scheiwiller 1982, Milan

A rather hefty volume, but with a lot of great pictures of Byzantines art and many dedicated pages. It has an initial historical section that also looks into society, economy and culture and then a rather substantial art and architecture section.

Matilde e i Canossa

Paolo Goninelli

Mursia, Milan, 2004

A biography of the great countess starting from her ancestors by the utmost living scholar on the subject. A vert well-infomed pleasant read divided into clear chapters dealing with specific figures and moments of her life


Matilde di Canossa

Vito Fumagalli

Il Mulino, Bologna, 1996

A short biography of the countess Matilda, not the easiest read, but enough to give you a good idea of her life and times.

Late middle ages

Storia di un giorno in una città medioevale (Story of a day in a medieval city)

Arsenio e Chiara Frugoni

Laterza, Roma, 1997

An interesting look at daily life in the 12th to 14th centuries with some great insight into how people actually lived. Fill of great images from the times and later artists.


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Marco Vergnani           Fabio Debbi

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