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Rennaissance and Reformation Section 1-The Italian Rennaissance - Italy was not a unified country until the 1860s At the beginning of the Renaissance it consisted of about 250 separate states most of which were ruled by a city Some cities had only 5000 to 10000 people - Others were among the largest cities in Europe For example Florence Milan and Venice had at least 100000 people each in the early 1300s - At the dawn of the Renaissance much of Italy was supposedly controlled by the Holy Roman Empire - However the emperors lived in Germany and had little power over their Italian lands The popes ruled central Italy including the city of Rome but were unable to extend political control to the rest of Italy - No central authority was thus established in Italy to unify all the states - During the mid-1300s and early 1400s a number of major Italian cities came under the control of one family - For example the Visconti family governed Milan from the early 1300s until 1447 when the last male member died Soon after the Sforza family took control of Milan and governed the city until the late 1400s Other ruling families in Italy included the Este family in Ferrara the Gonzaga family in Mantua and the Montefeltro family in Urbino - The form of government established by the ruling families of the Italian cities was called the signoria and the chief official was known as the signore All power was concentrated in the signore and his friends and relatives - An elaborate court slowly grew up around each signorial government At the court the areas leading artists intellectuals and politicians gathered under the sponsorship of the signore - Other Italian cities had a form of government known as republicanism In republican cities a ruling class controlled the government - Members of the ruling class considered themselves superior to the other residents of the city
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