Alberico became such a tyrant and embezzler (especially when dealing with the clergy) that he was hated by the Trevisans, who did not hesitate to immortalise their day of liberation from him and his family in their statutes as a holiday. The defeat of Ezzelino at Cassano d'Adda (August 27, 1259) by the Lega dei Guelfi (the League of the Guelphs) and his subsequent death in the prisons of Soncino, also signalled the end of his brother Alberico, who had wisely abandoned the city two months previously on April 3, taking refuge in the well furnished castle of S. Zenone. Here in the month of June, 1259, he was surrounded by the armies of the League of the Guelphs comprising of men from Treviso, Verona, Padua, Bassano, Vicenza, Friuli etc .. These people were all interested, to various degrees, in eradicating the family of the Da Romano from the face of the earth.
The siege lasted three months, until on August 24, his enemies were able to treacherously penetrate the castle and slaughter Alberico and his entire family. It is said that after putting a piece of wood in his mouth so as not to hear his screams, he was made to witness the decapitation of his wife, two daughters and six sons (one still in nappies). His body was then tied to the tail of a horse and dragged through the army camp and thence given to the Trevisans, who brought him back to the city setting fire to his palace in piazza Duomo with Alberico inside. In order, perhaps, to justify such inhumane ferocity, the mayor Marco Badoaro had sentenced Alberico to death attributing a thousand iniquities to him. The Trevisans then lost themselves in a wave of religiousness and mysticism in order to seek God's pardon, favouring pious works, hospitals and religious orders, including the "Scuola dei Battuti" on which our hospital was subsequently founded.


From the annihilation of the Da Romano family only Cunizza, sister of Ezzelino and Alberico, escaped, giving the area a wide berth and escaping to her maternal relations in Tuscany, the Counts Alberti di Mangona. Cunizza da Romano led a rather adventurous life from an early age. At 22, she married the Count Rizzardo di San Bonifacio of Verona: a political marriage which, together with that of her brother Ezzelino to Zilia, Rizzardo's sister, was to consolidate the peace between the Da Romano, a Ghibelline family and the San Bonifacio, a Guelph family. Unfortunately, the truce was short lived and Cunizza was an unhappy victim of this resumption of hostilities between the two houses: she was "kidnapped" by Sordello and brought back to Treviso.
Sordello, troubadour and Mantovan poet (as described by Goito) had been at the court of the San Bonifacio family for some time, nourishing a not-so-platonic, requited love for Cunizza. So, when approached by the Da Romano brothers to bring their sister back to Treviso, he happily accepted and completed the mission without excessive resistance. Arriving in Treviso, however, our troubadour quickly forgot Cunizza and began to renew friendships and acquaintances which led to a secret and hasty marriage with a certain Otta of the noble family Strasso, castle owners in the area of Onigo. On finding out about the marriage, the girl's family furiously swore to exact a dreadful revenge. And so it would have been, if poor Sordello hadn't taken to his heels in a hurry, finding refuge in Provence. Cunizza, meanwhile, hadn't lost courage. Abandoned by Sordello, she turned her attentions to a young Trevisan cavalier named Bonio who was married, with children. Together they ran away, with Cunizza "enjoying herself immensely" (as told by Marchesan).
When the money ran out, the two lovers returned to Treviso where Bonio took up arms again, fighting for Alberico da Romano against the armies of Ezzelino who was trying to reclaim the city. An unlucky sword thrust, however, sent him to his Maker and Cunizza was once again sad and alone. She thus decided to go to Padua, under the protection of her brother Ezzelino, who arranged a second political marriage for her to a certain Raimerio di Breganze, a noble and powerful Esquire, who had a short life however, making her a widow once more. We don't know for sure if Cunizza ever remarried, but some historians attribute at least six marriages to her. What is known for certain is that having fled from the annihilation of her family and having gone to her maternal relatives in Tuscany, Cunizza lived past the venerable age of 80 years.
With the end of the Da Romano rule, Treviso returned to the freedom of a Municipality, updating the statutes, founding a University in 1263, and prohibiting the mere mention of the words "Guelph" and "Ghibelline", hoping in this way to avoid further bloody arguments. In 1270, the religious/military Order of the Frati Gaudenti, or the Army of the Joyful Blessed Virgin, which originated in northern Italy, arrived in Treviso. This Order was instrumental in the fight against heretics, dressing in white robes with black hoods and carrying a flag with a red cross flanked by two stars.
In the meanwhile, rivalry between opposing factions continued in the city and serious riots often erupted. In one of these on April 2, 1268, Gherardo dei Castelli, leader of the Rossi, killed Brancaleone dei Ricchi, leader of the Bianchi, creating a state of tension and fear that lasted for several years. The Da Camino took advantage of this: in November, 1283, "as per the wishes of the people", they, along with Gherardo, son of Biacquino, became Lords of Treviso, having driven out the Dei Castelli and Ghibelline families.
The Da Camino were of Longobard origin. They first sellled at the castle of Montanara (Montagner) on the slopes of the Cansiglio. In 1120 the family separated into two branches: the higher Da Camino family who lived in Serravalle-Vittorio Veneto and the Lower Da Camino family who lived close to Oderzo, in Camino in fact. The Da Camino were both allies and enemies of Treviso at various times.


The "Good Gherardo" as Dante calls him, elected general captain of Treviso, governed the city distributing gifts and misfortune. He favoured study, and received artists, troubadours, physicists and writers. He completed the monumental churches of St. Nicolo' (St. Nicholas) and St. Francesco (St. Francis) and the Town Hall. He also improved the existing road network, building bridges and new roads. However, he also changed the statutes to his advantage, becoming an uncontested tyrant and despot and was, as Tessari writes, "elusive, a scoundrel, at times refined'.
Michieli, in his "Storia di Treviso" recalls how Gherardo was accused of ordering the deaths of lacopo da Valenza, Bishop of Belluno, in 1298 and that of the fanese lacopo del Cassero who was stabbed by a hired cut-throat in the same year, at Oriago. Small misdemeanours which Dante perhaps ignored when he came to Treviso (if he did come) in 1306, at which time Gherardo lived a better life. Gherardo da Cammino was however, a tolerant and astute politician, and a good diplomat with Venice and other neighbours. He made peace with Tolberto of the Da Camino family living near Oderzo, giving him his attractive daughter Gaia in marriage. Much has been written about Gaia da Camino. The often differing opinions held by various historians about her have been collected together in a publication by Marchesan. Courtesan or God-fearing, the Lady of Portobuffolè, Gaia da Camino, was certainly one of the leading figures of the times, and Dante sought to immortalise her in his Divine Comedy (Purgatory, XVl canto).


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