FERRUCCIO, or Ferrucci, FRANCESCO (1489-1530), Florentine captain. After spending a few years as a merchant's clerk he took to soldiering at an early age, and served in the Bande Nere in various parts of Italy, earning a reputation as a daring fighter and somewhat of a swashbuckler. When Pope Clement VII. and the emperor Charles V. decided to reinstate the Medici in Florence, they made war on the Florentine republic, and Ferruccio was appointed Florentine military commissioner at Empoli, where he showed great daring and resource by his rapid marches and sudden attacks on the Imperialists. Early in 1530 Volterra had thrown off Florentine allegiance and had been occupied by an Imperialist garrison, but Ferruccio surprised and recaptured the city. During his absence, however, the Imperialists captured Empoli by treachery, thus cutting off one of the chief avenues of approach to Florence. Ferruccio proposed to the government of the republic that he should march on Rome and terrorize the pope by the threat of a sack into making peace with Florence on favourable terms, but although the war committee appointed him commissioner-general for the operations outside the city, they rejected his scheme as too audacious. Ferruccio then decided to attempt a diversion by attacking the Imperialists in the rear and started from Volterra for the Apennines. But at Pisa he was laid up for a month with a fever - a misfortune which enabled the enemy to get wind of his plan and to prepare for his attack. At the end of July Ferruccio left Pisa at the head of about 4000 men, and although the besieged in Florence, knowing that a large part of the Imperialists under the prince of Orange had gone to meet Ferruccio, wished to co-operate with the latter by means of a sortie, they were prevented from doing so by their own traitorous commander-in-chief, Malatesta Baglioni. Ferruccio encountered a much larger force of the enemy on the 3rd of August at Gavinana; a desperate battle ensued, and at first the Imperialists were driven back by Ferruccio's fierce onslaught and the prince of Orange himself was killed, but reinforcements under Fabrizio Maramaldo having arrived, the Florentines were almost annihilated and Ferruccio was wounded and captured. Maramaldo out of personal spite despatched the wounded man with his own hand. This defeat sealed the fate of the republic, and nine days later Florence surrendered. Ferruccio was one of the great soldiers of the age, and his enterprise is the finest episode of the last days of the Florentine republic. See also under Florence and Medici.
Bibliography. - F. Sassetti, Vita di Francesco Ferrucci, written in the 16th century and published in the Archivio storico, vol. iv. pt. ii. (Florence, 1853), with an introduction by C. Monzani; E. Aloisi, La Battaglia di Gavinana (Bologna, 1881); cf. P. Villari's criticism of the latter work, "Ferruccio e Maramaldo," in his Arte, storia, e filosofia (Florence, 1884); Gino Capponi, Storia della repubblica di Firenze, vol. ii. (Florence, 1875).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)