Sebastian de Grazia (1917-2001), Machiavelli in Hell
(1989; rpt. New York: Vintage Books, 1994), p. 156:
And in one of his last letters, Niccolò exclaims to his old friend Vettori: "I love my country more than my soul." Certainly this declaration can and does mean willingness to suffer anything for one's country—shame, torture, mistreatment, dishonor, exile. It can and does mean willingness to lie, cheat, and kill, to do evil for one's country, thereby forfeiting one's soul. It can and does mean dying for one's country and—if necessary—going to hell for her.
Note on p. 420:
amo la patria mia più dell'anima (L to Francesco Vettori, April 16, 1527: 5.505)