The pope imprisons the cardinal and assists the Florentines—Difference of opinion between the count and the Venetians respecting the management of the war. The Florentines reconcile them—The count wishes to go into Tuscany to oppose Piccinino, but is prevented by the Venetians—Niccolo Piccinino in Tuscany—He takes Marradi, and plunders the neighborhood of Florence—Description of Marradi—Cowardice of Bartolomeo Orlandini—Brave resistance of Castel San Niccolo—San Niccolo surrenders—Piccinino attempts to take Cortona, but fails.
While the Florentines were thus anxious, fortune disclosed the means of securing themselves against the patriarch’s malevolence. The republic everywhere exercised the very closest espionage over epistolary communication, in order to discover if any persons were plotting against the state. It happened that letters were intercepted at Monte Pulciano, which had been written by the patriarch to Niccolo without the pope’s knowledge; and although they were written in an unusual character, and the sense so involved that no distinct idea could be extracted, the obscurity itself, and the whole aspect of the matter so alarmed the pontiff, that he resolved to seize the person of the cardinal, a duty he committed to Antonio Rido, of Padua, who had the command of the castle of St. Angelo, and who, after receiving his instructions, soon found an opportunity of carrying them into effect. The patriarch, having determined to go into Tuscany, prepared to leave Rome