The Scaligers in Verona and the Carraresi in Padua were strengthened; and in Tuscany Castruccio Castracane, Ugucciones successor at Lucca, became formidable.
Castruccio Castracane was nominated by him duke of Lucca; and this is the first instance of a dynastic title conferred upon an Italian adventurer by the emperor.
Castruccio dominated Tuscany, where the Guelph cause, in the weakness of King Robert, languished.
Mercenary troops are said to have been first levied from disbanded Germans, together with Breton and English adventurers, whom the Visconti and Castruccio took into their pay.
Between 1320 and 1323 he harried the Florentines and defeated them several times, captured Pistoia, devastated their territory up to the walls of the city in spite of assistance from Naples under Raymundo de Cardona and the duke of Calabria (King Robert's son); never before had Florence been so humiliated, but while Castruccio was preparing to attack Florence he died in 1328.
In 1347 Florence was again stricken with famine, followed the next year by the most terrible plague it had ever experienced, which carried off three-fifths of the population (according to now threatened Florence in the person of Castruccio p Villani).
Castruccio Castracani degli Antelminelli >>
He was succeeded by other lords or tyrants, of whom the most renowned was Castruccio Castracane, a political and military adventurer of much the same stamp as Uguccione himself.
With the help of Louis the Bavarian, Castruccio became lord of Lucca and Pisa, and was victorious over the Florentines; but his premature death in 1328 again left the city a prey to the conflicts of opposing factions.
The Vita di Castruccio was composed at Lucca, whither Machiavelli had been sent on a mission.
But Castruccio, being farther from the writer's own experience, bears weaker traits of personality.
The castle of Sarzanello was built by Castruccio Castracani (d.
Francesco, a fine Gothic church, is the tomb of Castruccio Castracane.
Internal discord afforded an opportunity to Uguccione della Faggiuola, with whom Dante spent some time there, to make himself master of Lucca in 1314, but the Lucchesi expelled him two years afterwards, and handed over their city to Castruccio Castracane, under whose masterly tyranny it became "for a moment the leading state of Italy," until his death in 1328 (his tomb is in S.