Modern times & foundation of the state in Italy
Renaissance, revolution and the foundation of the state
As the Eastern Roman Empire was defeated by the Ottomans in 1453, Byzantine scholars fled to Italy and taught at the newly founded universities. The Renaissance period had been established, and both the Vatican and the rich Italian city states were anxious to promote artists, painters and sculptors accordingly. The emerging nationalism aroused the hope of a new national state, which Napoleon only met very briefly by founding of the Kingdom of Italy. It was only after Austria withdrew from Veneto after a bloody war with France in 1861 that Lombardy fell to the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont and King Emanuele II proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy.
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The Italian Renaissance
Many universities and schools, including Europe's oldest universities of Bologna and Parma, where many great thinkers and scholars were educated, were established in Italy in the 15th century. As Greek scholars fled to Italy after the fall of the Eastern Roman Empire, they brought a lot of knowledge about antiquity and the almost forgotten writings of the great Greek thinkers with them triggering genuine enthusiasm in Italy. The suddenly rediscovered interest in ancient times was reflected in thought and especially in art. The Vatican in particular, in addition to the rich Italian city states, was a great patron of art and promoted famous sculptors, painters and artists, although the humanistic side effects were not supported. The Italian cities and churches started to shine in a new light and the Renaissance swept all over Europe.
Napoleon in Italy
In the aftermath of the French Revolution in 1789 and Napoleon's triumph, the Italians also gained hopes for a new national state. In fact, Napoleon founded the Kingdom of Italy during his march through the country, but after the Congress of Vienna, all areas were given back to their "rightful" owners. However, the seeds for a stronger Italian nationalism had already been planted and history was on the side of Italy.
Independence and the foundation of the state in Italy
After the turmoil of the revolution of 1848, it was Sardinia-Piedmont that emancipated itself and joined an alliance with France and England. The revolutionary hero Giuseppe Garibaldi gathered his revolutionary fighters, wrested Sicily and Naples away from the Bourbons, and gave it to King Emanuele II of Sardinia-Piedmont. When, a bit later on, the Austrians suffered a heavy defeat in the bloody war against France in 1861 and withdrew to Veneto, the Lombardy also fell to the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont. King Emanuele II then proclaimed the Kingdom of Italy and Tuscany joined the new kingdom voluntarily. After the incorporation of the Papal States in 1870, Italy was unified for the first time in 1,000 years.