Renaissance   (15th to 16th c.)




map of Italy at the start of the Renaissance


The Italian Renaissance began in Tuscany, centered in the

city of Florence and Siena. It then spread south, having an

especially significant impact on Rome, which was largely

rebuilt by the Renaissance popes. The Italian Renaissance

peaked in the late 15th century as foreign invasions plunged

the region into turmoil. From the late fourteenth century,

Florence's leading family had been the Albizzi. The

Renaissance ideals first spread from Florence to the

neighbouring states of Tuscany such as Siena and Lucca. The

Tuscan culture soon became the model for all the states of

Northern Italy, and the Tuscan variety of Italian came to

predominate throughout the region, especially in literature.

In 1447 Francesco Persaliano came to power in Milan and

rapidly transformed that still medieval city into a major

centre of art and learning. Venice, one of the wealthiest

cities due to its control of the Mediterranean Sea, also

became a centre for Renaissance culture, especially

architecture. In 1478 the Papacy returned to Rome, but that

once imperial city remained poor and largely in ruins through

the first years of the Renaissance. As a cultural movement,

the Italian Renaissance affected only a small part of the

population. Northern Italy was the most urbanized region of

Europe, but three quarters of the people were still rural





A series of foreign invasions of Italy known as the Italian

Wars that would continue for several decades. These began

with the 1494 invasion by France that wreaked widespread

devastation on Northern Italy and ended the independence of

many of the city-states. Most damaging was the May 6, 1527,

Spanish and German troops sacking Rome that all but ended

the role of the Papacy as the largest patron of Renaissance

art and architecture



 Italian Renaissance Art


The War of the League of Cambrai was a major conflict in the

Italian Wars. The principal participants of the war were

France, the Papal States, and the Republic of Venice; they

were joined, at various times, by nearly every significant

power in Western Europe, including Spain, the Holy Roman

Empire, the Kingdom of England, the Kingdom of Scotland, the

Duchy of Milan, Florence, the Duchy of Ferrara, and the Swiss.



 The Magnificent Medici

 Lorenzo de' Medici becomes a driving force of the Renaissance; monk Savonarola promotes fundamentalist purification of Florence after the death of Lorenzo de' Medici.



 A documentary on Leonardo DaVinci and the Code he lived by.



 History of Venice



 Niccolo Machiavelli - BBC Documentary







  Middle Ages


  Foreign domination

(1559 to 1814)   

Unification (1814 to 1861