Scarpetta Ordelaffi

SCARPETTA ORDELAFFI (1270 ca.- dopo il 1317)

“La terra che fé già la lunga prova
e di Franceschi sanguinoso mucchio,
sotto le branche verdi si ritrova”.
(Inf. XXVII, 43-45)

Scarpetta Ordelaffi, “kind man from Furlì” (in the words of the Florentine historian Dino Compagni, Cronica II, 28), was very close to Maghinardo Pagani, whose death without male heirs he took over the government of the city.

Ordelaffi―Lord of Forlì, head of the Ghibellines in Romagna, and a man who was tied to the Ubaldini family in political faith and in his marriage to Chiara Ubaldini da Susinana―departed from Montaccianico for Pulicciano with a company of Ghibellines and White Guelphs. Dante, who was Scarpetta’s protege and secretary, and who had fought in Caprona and Campaldino, was most likely also with them.
The military expedition of March 12, 1303 was the second of five attempts by the exiled Florentines to return to Florence after the convention of San Godenzo (1302). The expedition made up of Ghibellines, White Guelphs and the Ubaldini clan lead by Scarpetta departed from and quickly returned to Montaccianico in March 1303, as reported in the chronicles of the time (Giovanni Villani, Cronica, II, 30).
Scarpetta hosted Dante in Forlì, as councilor and secretary (epistolarum dictator) in 1303 and 1310, in conjunction with the expected descent of Arrigo VII in Italy, when Dante would have written to Cangrande della Scala to deplore the negative attitude of the Florentines in the face of the coming of the emperor.

A nineteenth-century painting by the Forlì painter Pompeo Randi in a private collection shows Dante trying to persuade Scarpetta to wage war against Florence (1854).
(source: Wikimedia Commons)