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The Carroccio (Carrocch in Lombardo) was a large four -wheeled chariot bearing the city signs around which they gathered and fought the militias of medieval municipalities. It was particularly widespread among the Lombard, Tuscan and, more generally, of northern Italy. Later his use also spread out of Italy.

It was the symbol of municipal autonomies. Defended by chosen troops, pavesed with the colors of the municipality, it was generally pulled by oxen and transported an altar, a bell (called “Martinella”) and an antenna on which a cross and city signs were placed. In peacetime he was kept in the main church of the city to which he belonged.

The Carroccio possessed an important military tactical function. He began to earn military value especially after the battle of Legnano, where, among the first times in medieval history, the infantry, which was collected around the Carroccio, kept his cavalry head. Until then, the latter had in fact been considered clearly higher than the set soldiers.

Since the infantry was gathered around the Carroccio, the latter, in addition to having a strong symbolic value, therefore possessed an important tactical function: with the capture of the Carroccio, for the municipal militias, the defeat was almost certain. Also for this reason, the Carroccio, in addition to being considered the most coveted spoils of war, was preserved in the cathedrals, which were the most important churches of the municipalities, and was the protagonist, always in time of peace, of the most important ceremonies and events that took place in the cities.

In addition to the war purpose, the Carroccio had other functions, which could be performed even in peacetime. The heads of the municipalities, on the carroccio, could make important decisions that concerned the city, while the judges could use it as a mobile court to issue their sentences.

This is the first part of Carroccio we will have a second part that explain better about the history and function of Carroccio in Florence. If you like this story, you can come to take a tour with us we are running a free walking tour of Florence that start from Santa Maria Novella square, meeting point in front of Minerva hotel.