Young Violante and the Viceroy

Young Violante and the Viceroy

On Christmas Eve in 1468, Count Giacomo was at the powder magazine of the castle of San Michele when an explosion left him barely alive; he died a few days later, on January 2nd, 1469, leaving his only legitimate daughter Violante as his universal heir and appointing her uncle Nicolò Carroz d’Arborea, member of the cadet branch of the family, as her guardian.

Violante suddenly found herself completely alone, at the age of thirteen: her mother, Violante Centelles, had in fact died ten years earlier.

Her uncle Nicolò, at that time Viceroy of Sardinia, turned out to be an unscrupulous man: he took his niece from her residence on the San Michele hill and forced her to move to Palazzo Regio in the Castle of Cagliari, confiscating all her possessions and managing her assets according to his own interests.

At Easter that same year, only a few months after Count Giacomo had died, he forced Violante to get engaged to his son Dalmazzo. They married two years later, fulfilling Nicolò’s dream to reunite the two branches of the Carroz family and make his son the greatest feudal lord in Sardinia.

From that moment on Violante, deprived of her possessions, taken away from her home and forced into a marriage of pure convenience, began to harbor hatred and contempt for her uncle, her husband and the entire Carroz d’Arborea branch. That hatred originated the tragedies that will dot the life of one of the most emblematic female figures in the history of the island.

Having returned seriously ill from the battle of Macomer, where the Crown of Aragon had fought against the marquisate of Oristano, Dalmazzo died in 1478 without giving an offspring to Violante. His father, convinced that his son had been cursed, started a series of investigations and persecutions but, worn out by desperation, fell ill, dying just a year later and leaving his wife with an immense patrimony, mostly taken from his niece.

Violante is just twenty-three years old, has already seen her mother, father, husband and hated uncle die. However, her battles have only just begun and over time will bring to light a woman who, despite her misfortune, will fight tenaciously all her life for her dignity and rights. Meanwhile, the castle of San Michele, no longer the stable residence of the Carroz family, suffered a substantial decline.

 

CURIOUS FACTS

  • At the time of Count Giacomo’s death, Violante owned a prized black filly called Puca. Among other things, her uncle Nicolò also took her mare, then giving it to Queen Isabella of Castile

 

  • Maria Mercé Costa, archivist and then director of the Archives of the Crown of Aragon, in 1973 published “Violant Carroç: una comtessa dissortada” (Violante Carroz, an unfortunate countess), the first book that thoroughly investigated Violante’s complex figure
  • Around the castle, on the surfacing rock, ruts left by wagon wheels over the centuries are still visible
  • The coat of arms of the Carroz d’Arborea differs from that of the Carroz in the addition, as well as of horizontal red and yellow bands, of the uprooted tree symbol of the Judicate of Arborea. The cadet branch of the Carroz was in fact related to the Bas Serra, ruling dynasty of the Judicate