Padania in the north and made their way down to the Mugello heading for the traditional Fiesolian Entrance that for ages had been the way to get to Florence and the Arno Valley, and eventually making their way to Rome. In their slow but unrelenting march south the Barbarians massacred, sacked and devastated everything in their way. The Roman Empire of that time was of course in a downhill slide towards its inevitable destruction. As fate would have it, it was at Fiesole and its surroundings where one of the final big battles in the name of Rome would take place.
After nine months Radagaiso arrived at the verge of Florence which he immediately laid under siege. It’s easy to imagine the joy of the Florentine people when they from the top of their city walls could see the Roman army coming for their rescue led by General Stilicone, a man of Vandal origins, but with Roman education and nephew to emperor Onorio, the last stubborn defender of the Western Roman Empire.
Meanwhile…following Radagaiso’s orders, the bulk of the Barbarian troops made themselves at home in the hills of Fiesole where water was easy to find due to the many wells found in this area, while waiting for their marching orders to cross the Arno and conquest Rome. But it wasn’t going to be so easy… Stilicone had a small part of his men attack the part of the Barbarian army that besieged Florence, while at the same time dividing the remains of his troops in two halves. At this point, in a cunning way using the shape of the landscape (the Mugello valley is similar to a big pot) he deployed, duly camouflaged, his first unit towards the hills overlooking Buiano and Montereggi and the second on the ridge of Montorsoli, on the opposite side of the valley thus setting up the trap for the Ostrogoths.
At the brake of dawn the Roman cavalierly initiated their attack descending from Montorsoli striking down on the Barbarians from the flanks. The Romans forced the Barbarian army to disengage as they climbed the hills towards Montereggi, which Radagaiso thought were free of Romans and considered ideal from a strategic vantage point. But…it was all part of Stilicone’s plan and his trap now closed on the Barbarians. The plan, according to the roman leaders was a huge success. At the right moment the second unit of the infantry of Stilicone crossed over the ridge and charging through the enemy lines surrounded the Barbarians. It was a blood bath with half of the two hundred thousand Ostrogoths that came into the peninsula from the north lying dead in the fields, including their leader, King Radagaiso. It was the 18th of October 405 AD.
This was the last victorious battle of the world power that has gone down in history as the Roman Empire.
Even the toponomy brings us back memories of the epic battle that was master minded by Stilicone. The name Montereggi (Mons Regis = Monte del Re =
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