Peace of Tolentino, 19 February 1797

The Peace of Tolentino (19 February 1797) ended the second of Napoleon's invasions of the Papal States during his first campaign in Italy. Napoleon's first invasion, in the summer of 1796, had been ended by the Peace of Bologna (23 June 1796) in which the French had been allowed to occupy Bologna and Ferrara, but it had not been ratified by the French Directory and the Papacy had continued to be hostile to the revolution.

In January 1797 Napoleon defeated the fourth and final Austrian attempt to raise the siege of Mantua. By the end of the month it was clear that the city was close to surrender, and on 2 February, after eight months, the siege ended. By the time the city surrendered Napoleon was already moving south into the Papal States, advancing through Bologna, Faenza and along the east coast of Italy to Rimini, Ancona and Macerata. The Papal army was brushed aside, and by the middle of February Pius VI once again asked for peace.

The negotiations took place at the town of Tolentino, thirty miles south of Ancona. This time Napoleon took more territory that at Bolgona. The Legations of Bologna, Ferrara and Ravenna were taken from the existing Papal States, while the French occupation of Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin (the area around Avignon) in 1791 was officially recognised. The Pope also paid an indemnity of 30 millions francs, and handed over a number of works of art.

Napoleon was aware that this treaty would be seen as too lenient in Paris, and wrote to the Directory claiming that "My opinion is that Rome, once deprived of Bologna, Ferrara, the Romagna, and the thirty millions we are taking from her, can no longer exist. The old machine will go to pieces of itself", while at the same writing on friendly terms to Pius VI.

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (3 February 2009), Peace of Tolentino, 19 February 1797 ,

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