John Hawkwood was born in Sible Hedingham, not far from Colchester (England) in 1320.
He soon became a soldier, learning the art of war during the Hundred Years War, in France where he fought for Edward III, and then heading his own army, the so called White Company, which was famous for the shiny armours and for the nightly raids.
In 1360 he came to Italy, where he fought as a mercenaire for several different cities, noblemen and for the Pope, terrifying several villages, also in Romagna.
At the age of seventy, he got his last recruitment from the town of Florence to fight against Gian Galeazzo Visconti, duke of Milan. After this last military campaign, he spent the rest of his life supported by some cities of the central and northern area of Italy.
He died in a villa nearby Florence in 1394.
In Cotignola it’s located the so called “Torre d’Acuto”, a tower named after the mercenaire captain which was built under Hawkwood will in 1376 together with other fortresses aimed to protect the town, once he had riceived it as a feud from the Pope Gregorio XI in 1370. The tower was distroyed by German bombing in 1944 and in 1972 it was rebuilt again.
(Updated to 31/10/2019)