The Italian Wars

Volume 4: The Battle of Ceresole 1544 - The Crushing Defeat of the Imperial Army

Massimo Predonzani, Vincenzo Alberici

Twenty years after the Battle of Pavia, the French army and the Swiss took revenge on the Imperial enemy. In their last battle on Italian land - that saw Francis I against Charles V - the dreaded Landsknechts were defeated by the French infantry.
Date Published :
November 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Retinue to Regiment
Illustration :
16 b/w ills, 9 b/w photos, 8 color ills, 5 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781915070296
Pages : 126
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : Available


April 1544: The French army led by Charles of Bourbon Count of Enghien - deployed in the siege of Cairignano, a city occupied by the imperials – was ordered to fight Alfonso d’Avalos Marquis of Vasto, the hated Imperial rival.

After almost twenty years from the legendary Battle of Pavia, the two most powerful European States faced each other again in battle. On one side, French and Swiss. On the other side, Imperials and the dreaded Landsknechts.

The memory of the carnage of the Black Bands and Swiss soldiers is still vivid in the Swiss veterans’ minds. On Easter day 1544, the two armies engaged in battle but the outcome remained unclear. The day after, however, the men led by Bourbon seemed to prevail. The Imperial cavalry was defeated by the French – who demonstrated again their bravery.

The initial success of the Spanish infantry was soon jeopardized by the gruesome clash between the Imperial square formations and the Swiss. The Enfants perdus detached from the Swiss square and massacred the enemy with their halberds with a flank attack. A wrong maneuver of the Imperial cavalry broke their companions’ formation and signed the Imperial defeat. Hundreds of Landsknechts died under French’s and Swiss’ pikes with only a few survivors. At the end of the day, Bourbon and his men are victorious.

For how glorious this battle was, its outcome changed little to nothing in the power balance of Italy. Thus, the French crown regarded it as a secondary victory.

About The Author

Massimo Predonzani was born in Piran (Slovenia) in 1959 and currently lives in Trieste (Italy). He is an illustrator and researcher. He is specialised in military heraldry during the Italian and European Renaissance. He wrote “Anghiari 29 giugno 1440” (2010), printed by “Il Cerchio” (Rimini), “Ceresole 14 aprile 1544” (2012) distributed in French and Italian by French publisher “Historic'one”. In 2014 he wrote "Caravaggio 1448. L'assedio, le battaglie, l'araldica” published by “Acies Editions” (Milan). His articles “The taking of Pisa based on the painting on the front of a chest preserved in the National Gallery in Dublin,” (2013) and “Les drapeaux de Venise pris par les Suisses à la Bataille d'Agnadel et conservés au Musée d' Appenzell” (2015) have been published by the Swiss Journal “Archivum Heraldicum”. Since 2006 he has been providing the magazine “Soldatini” with texts and illustrations. He also has a website where he shares his research and his painted illustrations (

Vincenzo Alberici was born in 1977 in Italy, near Cremona. Since his young age he has shown great interest in history, namely military history. He has therefore applied his documentary knowledge by building miniature models, some of which are unique models and also by teaching classes for specialized firms. Since 2010 he has been writing history articles, some of them focusing on military uniforms (such as “L’armatura tedesca tra il XIV e il XV secolo and “ussaro ungherese”) for the Italian magazine “Notiziario de Gruppo Modellistico Trentino”. He occasionally writes for other magazines of the same branch (e.g. “Soldatini” and “Tutto soldatini”). Some of his articles are published on Predonzani’s website (

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