Marzia Cia degli Ordelaffi

Cia degli Ordelaffi and Violante Malatesta, known as “The Ladies of Cesena”, were two great women who made the history during the trecento (1300s) and quattrocento (1400s).

Cia degli Ordelaffi was a valiant woman who, together with her soldiers, was able to resist the assaults of the army of the Spanish cardinal Egidio Albornoz who besieged the Fortress of Cesena for almost two months in 1357.

Violante Bentivoglio Malatesta, wife of Malatesta Novello, Lord of Cesena, was the inspirer of the Malatesta Library, the first in the world in which the volumes preserved could be freely consulted, today considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I found more on Cia and have pasted the blog post below.


Cia Ordelaffi 

Marzia Ordelaffi, born Marzia degli Ubaldini (21 June 1317 – 1381) was an Italian noblewoman and one of the most famous women warriors Italian history has ever known.

Marzia, who’s today most known simply by the diminutive Cia, was the daughter of Vanni Ubaldini da Susinana, an important signore of the Mugello, and his wife Andrea Pagani. She was married to the famous signore Francesco II Ordelaffi, lord of Forlì, also known as Francesco Ordelaffi il Grande.

Ordelaffi Stemma

Cia supported constantly his husband, who was a strong supporter of the Ghibelline cause. In May 1351 she intervened in the battle of Dovadona, saving her son, Lodovico Ordelaffi. In 1357, during the crusade promoted against Forlì and Francesco by the Pope through the papal legate Egidio Albornoz, Cia was invested by her devoted husband with Cesena’s military defence.

The anonymous Vita di Cola di Rienzo says of this episode:

In Cesena staieva madonna Cia, la moglie dello capitanio de Forlì, con suoi nepoti e con granne forestaria drento dalla rocca. A questa madonna Cia lo capitanio scrisse una lettera. La lettera diceva così: “Cia, aiate bona e sollicita cura della citate de Cesena”. Madonna Cia respuse in questa forma: “Signore mio, piacciave de avere bona cura de Forlì, ca io averaio bona cura de Cesena”.

Cia and her brave yet ill-fated resistance against Cardinal Albornoz’ troops are still remembered and celebrated as an heroic act. The myth of the warrior signora was later perpetuated famously by Caterina Sforza, who defended with the same determination and misfortune the Rocca di Ravaldino in Forlì, always against the threat posed by the Papal forces.

Cia’s bravery is celebrated by the two most important Italian chroniclers of her time: the Anonimo Romano and Matteo Villani.


Condottieri di ventura. Biografia di Francesco II Ordelaffi, su

Pompeo Litta. Famiglie celebri d’Italia: Ordelaffi di Forlì. Torino. 1835. Tav. V.

Randi, Aldo. Donne eroiche : Samaritana Da Polenta, Cia Degli Ordelaffi, Caterina Sforza.
Ravenna : Societa tipo-editrice Ravennate, 1950
Monografia – Testo a stampa [IT\ICCU\RAV\0255457]
S.Spada, “Gli Ordelaffi. Signori di Forlì e Cesena“, Ed. Il Ponte Vecchio, Cesena 2011

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