According to maternitytips, this situation of Spain in Italy at the beginning of the 17th century and this attitude of opinion give light to the daring policy of initiatives of Duke Carlo Emanuele. The death of Henry IV at first opposed the Duke’s plans. He saw himself in great danger. He had alienated Spain, and he could no longer count on France. Here, Maria de ‘Medici, more disposed towards Spain than towards the duke. Devoid of any point of support, she thought of England, a great enemy of Spain and already linked to the Savoy. Now, after the Savoy family had fallen into the French orbit for over a century, those bonds reappear. “That king helps me and he doesn’t want my oppression but my freedom”, Carlo Emanuele said to the Venetian ambassador. Initiatives of politics that will take place and will bear fruit with Carlo Emanuele II and Vittorio Amedeo II and then in 1860. But here died shortly after Vincenzo I and Francesco II Gonzaga, Carlo Emanuele invaded Monferrato and occupied it in the name of the little born Maria from the wedding of one of his daughters to Francesco Gonzaga. He had contrarî Spanish and French united together and supported by the emperor and by almost all the Italian governments: Tuscany, Farnese, Lucca, as well as card. Ferdinando Gonzaga brother of Vincenzo, now at the head of the state. Against him, as a disturber of the peace, there were also those who longed for a defensive league between Rome, Florence, Mantua and Venice. To which some voices replied that peace was not always this great good; that there is peace and peace, the desirable peace of those in charge and the undesirable peace of those who subjugate; that the assault on Monferrato might not have been opportune but still represent “a principle of revolution in Italian affairs, highly desirable”. So Alessandro Tassoni. The duke, perhaps more talented warrior than diplomat, even if that victory could be given by diplomacy, had to make the occupied lands a few months later (Milan agreement, June 18, 1613). But when he was told to disarm within six days, he replied by sending the Golden Fleece back to the king and preparing for the war, which really broke out between him and the Spaniards.
It was an offensive and conquering warfare, actually; but it also presented itself and was defensive and conservative: it was then fought without the intervention of foreign allies. According to the widespread idea, the Milanese could also be envisaged as the center, key, almost condition of the Spanish monarchy. Once that fell, the monarchy would fall. Therefore perfect coincidence between his interest and Italian interests. And the duke returned to the thought of a solidarity of the Italian princes with him and became the herald of a war for Italy. He appealed to princes and knights and peoples of Italy. Who did not answer the call. Almost all of them had commitments as a vassalage to Spain and feared an enlargement of the Savoy or other Italian prince no less than any Spanish enlargement. Therefore Medici, Lucca, Parma, Urbino sent men and money to war against the duke. “Italy was trying to win over itself”, commented Battista Nani, a Venetian historian. But the Duke of Modena, his relative, sided with him. And then Venice. Venice is also in serious trouble with the Habsburgs. Spain presses the republic from the Milanese and occupies the kingdom that dominates the access to the Adriatic; on the Alpine border and the Isonzo, the empire and the Austrian states, traditionally hostile, encamped for the rights that it had over the cities of the Venetian state and for the tendency to expand into Istria and Friuli, to increase the outlets to the sea , to remove from Venice the exercise of the primacy or exclusive right of jurisdiction over the Adriatic. The republic exercised this right in fact and asserted by right, as on its own territory, not granted to it by anyone, not usurped to anyone, but collected naturally after the decline of the Greek empire and guarded, defended, with blood and money. Thus it several times, in the second half of the 16th century, had to defend, diplomatically, this right of his in front of the empire and the archdukes who theoretically infirm it and tried to practically disturb it, making use of the Uskoks, large Slavic groups fleeing from the Turks and moved or moved by the emperor on the Adriatic, on the Dalmatian and Croatian coasts. In short, Venice’s relations with the empire and, directly or indirectly, with Spain are getting worse. The very construction of the fortress of Palmanova, to which Clement VIII wished it was the propugnacle of Italy, was the subject of Austro-Spanish grievances.
Therefore it was easy to re-establish the ancient harmony between the Savoy and Venice which had been disturbed for a moment by the invasion of Monferrato. But the duke was able to have little from the beginning, beyond the good words and the Venetian attempts of mediation between Spain and the duke, despite the fact that Carlo Emanuele envisaged the favorable circumstances of Italy, the widespread aversion to Spanish domination, the English friendship for him, the strength of your army. We must dare and want, he said. “In companies you want the will first and then the power”. Anyone who wants can. He will be the first to move and occupy Milanese squares; he is happy that the Venetians follow. And we moved, the others will follow … But Venice feared “to put her own common quiet on the back of her ardent genius …” So she fought her war on behalf of her: a war that took place in the lower Friuli, in the Isonzo valley, in front of Gorizia and Gradisca, which was vainly bombed for a month by the Venetians, and up to Pontebba and Tarvisio; war of minute and non-decisive factions, but which, started by proclaiming that he wanted to be the guardian of Italy and the victor of his freedom fought against that enemy, in those positions, for those purposes of defense of a border that was not only of two states but of two lineages and civilizations, with the awareness of this value, it can be called, in a certain sense, an “Italian” war, an anticipation of an equal war that the whole Italian nation will then fight. And on his own he fought the Duke Carlo Emanuele, albeit with little success. The Spaniards broke into Piedmont, heading for Vercelli. But he, aiming at Novara, forced them to retreat, almost hesitating, however, until yesterday he was a pupil of Spain, in the face of a truly offensive action. He then had to rush to the defense of Asti, which was run over by the Spaniards who had come to the rescue. And it was a valiant defense.