From Carlo to Sismondo
In Emilia Romagna the signories, which grew in strength between the 14th and 15th centuries, were not able to exercise the role of centres of assemblage on a more ample scale as happened elsewhere, and continued to be under the influence of the more powerful signories.
In Romagna they lost wars and alliances were overturned through the same incapacity of the Pope to control his own territory in an efficient manner. It was because of these limitations that the Malatesta signory became the most powerful of the Romagna signories, and extended its range of action over all of the Italian peninsula thanks to their members who were valiant men at arms, influential politicians and ministers of princes: from Pandolfo III ruler of Brescia and Bergamo, commander of Gian Galeazzo Visconti, to Carlo, politician and diplomat among the most brilliant of his time, to Sigismondo, who was to become the most powerful and feared ruler – commander of the peninsula.
Carlo’s government (1385-1429) is remembered as a period of peace and one of the most fortunate in civic history. He knew how to distinguish himself in political and diplomatic adroitness in his dealings with other powers, and for his ability in controlling contrasting, social tensions in the city. In particular, he distinguished himself in the role of mediator which took place in the oppositionof popes and antipopes who guided the Church that had begun in 1378.
Carlo took with him to the Council of Costanza, reunited in 1414 to confront the simultaneous existence of three popes and the resignation of the Roman Pope, Gregorio XII. The mission earned him confirmation of the appointment of Rector of Romagna. As well as this Martino V in recognition added Osimo, Sarsina and other places to the Vicariate already conceded to him and his predecessors, and gave Pandolfo III, for the duration of his life, Bergamo and Brescia.
Carlo tried to restore an impetus to urban life according to an authentic, religious spirit. He decreed the abolition of exhumed idolatry practices and introduced the observance of religious festivals. He distinguished himself for the equilibrium and justice of his rule. He restored the city walls, rebuilt the port at the mouth of the Marecchia that had suffered serious damagethrough the continual spates of the river. The river mouth was channelled and regulated in 1417. This favoured the resumption of traffic and acted as an impetus to the building trade. However, behind all of the economic prosperity of Carlo’s rule hid growing dependency of external commercial and financial economies. The mercantile and maritime traffic was in fact monopolised by the Venetians; strong, too, was the presence of Florentine bankers.
Carlo died in 1429 without leaving children. This opened the way to grave dynastic crisis.. His brothers were already dead without male heirs with the exception of Pandolfo III who, on his death (1425), had left three natural sons, (Galeotto Roberto, Sigismondo and Domenico). To ensure the succession to the Pontifical Vicariate, Carlo had obtained their legitimation from the Pope. On the death of Carlo, Pope Martino V retracted, but the revolt of the population of Rimini forced the Pope to reinstate it.There followed the three years of rule by the first born, Galeotto Roberto, who, however, revealed himself to be in all ways unsuitable for the task for hisinclinations towards a monastic life. He withdrew into the monastery at Santarcangelo, dying prematurely consumed by the severe disciplinarily monastic practices, passing the signory to Sigismondo. Galeotto Roberto was beatified.