Arm Strongarms

July 29, 2013 / Places
Montone, Umbria

Braccio_da_MontoneOne can hardly imagine that this quiet hilltop town was once a warfaring medieval fortress belonging to the condottiero (Renaissance mercenary military leader) Andrea Fortebracci, (Andy Strongarms), 1368-1424. He was also known as Braccio Fortebraccio (Arm Strongarm), or simply Braccio da Montone (Arm from Montone) for short.

Now you will all undoubtedly agree that as far as family names go, “Strongarm” is about as good a card as you can be dealt if you’re in the condottiero racket. You can almost hear it… “Yes, sir, of course. We’ll cut the check for our Armoured Cavalry rental request in time for tomorrow’s battle. But do we make it out to Mr.Arm? …or General Strongarms?”

That said, Fortune a fickle mistress is… Shortly after being born and receiving such a suitable name, Braccio and his family were exiled from Perugia, losing the family castle of Montone in the process. This obviously left one serious chip on Arm’s shoulder… Braccio Fortebracci went on to lead a life of political intrigue and never ending military battles and adventures. Maybe it was a small anger management issue… What we do know however, is that as captain of his own army, more often than not he waged war against Perugia hired by various Popes and the King of Naples.

In 1410, Braccio regained Montone and its castle, strategically situated high on a hill with 360┬░ views over the Upper Tiber Valley. Finally, in 1419 he became Lord of Umbria, ruling Perugia – the ultimate revenge.

Time, and not revenge however, has always had the final word. All that is left of Condottiero Arm Strongarms’ castle today is a ruin that doubles as an open theatre. Nowadays, the most drama that Montone experiences is from the films projected in Piazza Fortebraccio during its Umbrian Film Festival in July.

Who knows what Arm Strongarms would say today?

Piazza Fortebraccio, Montone
Piazza Fortebraccio, Montone
Part of the walls surrounding Montone
Part of the walls surrounding Montone
Another viista of Piazza Fortebraccio, Montone
Another viista of Piazza Fortebraccio, Montone
Ruins of the Fortebraccio Castle, Montone
Ruins of the Fortebraccio Castle, Montone

360 Degree Views Around Montone
360 Degree Views Around Montone

Jean Tori

by Jean Tori

Artist- Art website: www.jeantoriartwork.com Art blog: www.jeantori.com Design company: www.kimonorabbit.com Jean also rents holiday houses in her medieval hamlet in Umbria at www.caiporri7.com.

7 Responses to “Arm Strongarms”

  1. Jean,
    Thanks for the great article. You are correct what would they think to see how things turned out and at the same time I read your article thinking, I wonder what it would have been like back then?
    My ability to be nostalgic is limited by my age, I’m not quite 600 years old but I will be someday.
    Thanks for the read.

    Reply
    • Dear Tom,
      glad you enjoyed it. It is something you think about while wandering around beautiful, sleepy medieval villages. Hard to imagine that the stunning views were often filled with oncoming armies. I much prefer nowadays, where the biggest drama is if the bar in Montone has the special chocolate ice cream we drove all the way up the hill to taste!! Ciao and thanks, Jean

      Reply
  2. Enjoyed that, Jean. Never heard of the little town. Will have to go have a look at Arm’s castle ruin… and for that chocolate gelato ;) Hugs, Giulia

    Reply
    • Cara Giulia, grazie! Definitely for your next visit. Can’t believe you have not seen it. Castle nice, ice cream incredible! Abbracci, Jean

      Reply

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