Arnaldo was born in Brescia and devoted his life to criticizing clergy corruption and opposing to Catholic Church’s temporal power. He was a strenuous supporter of the anti-Pope and independence movement in Rome.
Banished from Italy after a sentence of the Second Lateran Council, Arnaldo da Brescia spent a long time in France and Switzerland where he met the most renowned theologians and philosophers of his time and became a disciple of the famous philosopher Pietro Abelardo.
In 1145 he reached Rome where he started supporting the Republic born in opposition to the Pope’s authority, but when the Pope gained people’s consensus back, Arnaldo’s rebellion to the corrupted hierarchy was overwhelmed by the Pope’s rise to power and he had to leave the city.
Arrested in San Quirico d’Orcia in 1155, Arnaldo was brought back to Rome, sentenced to death by the ecclesiastical court and hanged. His body was then burnt and his ashes cast into the Tiber River.
In the Renaissance, Arnaldo became an important reference for the ghibellini party: a group of politicians and scholars which, on the basis of Macchiavelli’s theories, considered the Pope their worst enemy and an obstacle to national unity.
In 1840, the dramatist Giovanni Battista Niccolini wrote what was considered his masterpiece: a tragedy about Arnaldo da Brescia which was performed for the first time in 1860. Five years later Brescia Municipality decided to finance the building of the monument dedicated to the preacher and appointed a commission to manage the project. The liberal and democratic forces of the town strongly approved the initiative and found a way to express secular and progressive culture through historical research, biographies, poems and conventions.
On the 14th August 1882, after twenty years of research and debate, the monument was inaugurated with solemn ceremonies and popular feasts.
Listen to Arnaldo, download SPICapp! Speaking statues in the city www.spicapp.it
ARNALDO DA BRESCIA
Authors:Odoardo Tabacchi and Antonio Tagliaferri
Bronze, Botticino stone and pink Lessinia stone