Historical figure Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta

Born in: 1417  - Died in: 1468
Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta was born in Brescia in June 1417 by Antonia di Giacomino di Barignano, a Lombard noblewoman, and by Pandolfo Malatesta, already lord of Fano, who became lord of Brescia and Bergamo in 1404 thanks to the services rendered in favor of the Visconti, the powerful dukes of Milan. Sigismondo is the second of three brothers: Roberto, born in 1421, and Domenico, born in 1418.
Lost the lordship of the Lombard cities in 1421, Pandolfo returns with his entire family to Fano, where he died in 1427. The three brothers are then entrusted to the uncle Carlo Malatesta lord of Rimini, who has no children, heirs his nephews. At his death in 1429, the Malatesta seigniory, including Rimini, Fano and many other cities of the Marches and Romagna, was entrusted to Roberto Malatesta, Pandolfo's eldest son of three. But two years later, in 1431, Roberto died, and the lordship passed to the two young brothers Sigismondo Pandolfo and Domenico.

Sigismondo Pandolfo of the Malatesta family became the lord of one of the richest provinces of the state of the Church; its dominions extended to Romagna, from Rimini to Montefeltro, and in the northern Marche, from Fano to Senigallia.
Like all his ancestors, Sigismondo practiced as a soldier and, by virtue of his warrior virtues, he became one of the greatest leaders active in Italy in the years around the middle of the fifteenth century; to celebrate his glory and that of the family he restored the church of San Francesco in Rimini, and embellished it with works by prominent artists, including Piero di Borgo di San Sepolcro and Leon Battista Alberti.

But, in 1460, to recover some lands that he had to give to the Church a short time before, he waged war against Pope Pius II, who at that time was employed with all his energies to help the king of Naples, threatened by a rebellion of barons ; the pope reacted violently to the betrayal of his feudal lord, the day of Christmas in 1460 excommunicated Sigismondo Pandolfo, declaring him lapsed from all his dominions, and accusing him of being a liar, crapulone, murderer, miser, uxoricida, blasphemer and other abominable sozzure; still dissatisfied, Pius II had some puppets prepared with the effigies of the traitor, and burned them, as if they were heretics.

After the spiritual ones, Pius II then followed the temporal arms; after waiting for the arrangement of things in the kingdom of Naples, in 1462 the pope sent a strong army against Sigismondo, led by Federico dei Montefeltro of Urbino, a bitter rival of Rimini; the war marked the defeat of the Malatesta that lost Fano and all the lands in the Marches, while in Romagna it kept only Rimini; specularly, the defeat of Sigismondo started the triumphant career of the lord of Urbino, who became the undisputed lord of Montefeltro and the greatest of the Italian leaders. The new pontiff Paul II left him only the vicariate of Rimini for life. In 1468 Sigismondo died: he was 51 years old.

The singularity of Sigismondo Pandolfo does not reside so much in his political and military parable as in the damnation of memory; the violent invective of Pius II gave rise to a centuries-old tradition that marked the lord of Rimini as a violent character, the bilge of every vice; the same church of San Francesco di Rimini was called "temple", to emphasize the impiety of the author, as if he wanted to make a religious building a mockery of Christianity.

But other historians, driven by pity towards that unfortunate prince who had left in the lands between Marche and Romagna many signs of his intelligence, have tried to reduce the amount of accusations that had been turned on him, to scrape the clichés, the exaggerations , and to reveal it in the entirety of the man of his time, with his passions, abilities, ingenuity, errors, loves; it is a reverse route to the one started for Federico da Montefeltro, who despite the murder of his brother, has always been portrayed as the essence of fidelity, temperance, etc.: if Federico must be brought back to earth from the paradise of perfection in which he placed the tradition gushed by his first biographers, in the same way Sigismondo must also be brought back to earth, but lifting it from the hell in which the anathemas of an irascible pope threw him.

Sigismondo Pandolfo Malatesta Visited places

Castello di Montebello

 Via Castello di Montebello, 7 - 47824 Poggio Torriana - Rimini

From the top of its 436 meters, Montebello dominates the valley of the Bear and Marecchia. Offering visitors a fascinating panorama. The mighty fortress was placed in this strategic position to... see

Time period
Middle Ages

Italy, Rimini