The Italian Wars

Volume 3 - Francis I and the Battle of Pavia 1525

Massimo Predonzani, Vincenzo Alberici

Pavia, 24th February 1525. In the dead of night, Spanish and German troops led by Charles de Bourbon launch a surprise attack against the French army that has been laying siege to Pavia of months.
Date Published :
February 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
From Retinue to Regiment
Illustration :
20 b/w ills, 9 maps
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781914059667
Pages : 130
Dimensions : 9.75 X 7 inches
Stock Status : Available


In the early hours of the 24th of February 1525, under the walls of the city of Pavia, the best Imperial fought against one of the largest French armies every to have invade the Italian states. Armies led by the young Francis Ist of France and the Emperor Charles Vth fought for the coveted prize of the Duchy of Milan. By the end of the fighting, the renowned Black Legion had been wiped out and the cream of the French Heavy Cavalry had been destroyed, by the massed ranks of drilled and disciplined Spanish arquebusiers. The French King and many of his nobles were prisoner of the enemy.

Seen as one of the most significant battles in history, Pavia was to be the decisive battle of what became known as the Italian Wars, a series of conflicts that for almost thirty years raged the length of the peninsula, fought by Europe’s most powerful states.

The defeat of the French Gendarmes at Pavia would signal the end of the dominance of heavy cavalry on the battlefield and the rise of the professional infantry soldier using increasingly proficient firearms in ever greater numbers.

In this third volume of the series, the events that led to the decisive battle of Pavia, from the Peace of Noyon in 1516 to the fateful day are examined. The phases of the battle have been reconstructed and described in detail, comparing the many and varied accounts, whilst the site of the battle is examined for evidence of the fighting.

The armies and troops that fought at the battle are also examined in detail, as are their leaders.

The authors also devote an important section of the book to the heraldry of the armies. Coats of Arms, heraldic devices and flags the colors used are examined and reconstructed from original images and French, Spanish, and Italian sources. The culmination of this groundbreaking research is the creation of 8 specially commissioned original color plates depicting the clothing, equipment, flags and heraldic devices of the armies at Pavia.

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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