Posted by ESC on April 14, 2005
In Reply to: Go to the mattresses posted by James on April 14, 2005
: Found the origin of "go to the mattresses"? At San Miniato al Monte before going to war with Charles V and Medici Pope Clement VII, Michelangelo was put in charge of defense of the building. "After throwing up dirt ramparts and cobbling together defensible walls out of oak timbers, Michelangelo helped poor Lapo out by devising an ingenious way to protect the tower: He hung mattresses down the sides to absorb the shock of the cannonballs fired at it and left the tower (and, more important, Lapo) still standing." -Quote is from Frommers. http://www.frommers.com/destinations/florence/A33303.html
All I know is from The Godfather. When the families went to "war," they would get mattresses, etc., and hole up in apartments/houses away from their homes. At least that's what I thought they meant.
See Go to the mattresses - meaning and origin