Which Medieval and Early Modern Italian state/city-state is your favourite to read and learn about?

Mar 2016
451
Australia
#1
For the sake of setting a limit on what we define as 'Medieval' and 'Early Modern' in this context, let's say from between the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire in 962 to the official unification of Italy in 1861, and also within the context of this discussion, "Italian" will mean the mainland, as well as the islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica (until 1768, that is).
 

AlpinLuke

Ad Honoris
Oct 2011
24,685
Lago Maggiore, Italy
#3
In that long period the Italian history offers a really wide group of important cities with a very interesting history to read about.

And they are quite different, with visible regional differentiations [also because of different external contributions ... not in temporal order: Arab, Spanish, French, Germanic, Norman, Austrian ...]. So the choice is more about personal likes and interests.

My favorite city-state is Milan with its incredibly rich history, from when it was the greatest and more active municipality in Italian lands, to when it became a dukedom, to when it was the center of reference for the Spanish presence in Northern Italy, to when it became a center of rebellion against the Austrian domination.

Probably who is more interested in art, science and philosophy, would prefer Florence.
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,616
Portugal
#4
For the sake of setting a limit on what we define as 'Medieval' and 'Early Modern' in this context, let's say from between the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire in 962 to the official unification of Italy in 1861, and also within the context of this discussion, "Italian" will mean the mainland, as well as the islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica (until 1768, that is).
Since my usual readings for this wide period are usually centred in the Iberian Peninsula, mostly in Portugal, I prefer to read mostly about the Bankers, Merchants and Navigators from Florence (and in a lesser degree from Genoa), and their influence in the Portuguese discoveries.

On other different perspective, I also find interesting the Aragonese expansion in the Mediterranean and its huge influence in Italy (Naples, Sicily and Sardinia).

Your mention to Corsica recalled me the not that much known case of the maritime republic of Pisa, and its influence in the High Medieval Period.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,384
Sydney
#5
Venice hands down , Genoa was always its challenger in trade but they were the champion
culture go to Florence of course with a mention of Ferrara
politics and juicy stories are a toss between Rome and Milan
sienna was big for a while but faded in the second half
 
Mar 2016
451
Australia
#6
On other different perspective, I also find interesting the Aragonese expansion in the Mediterranean and its huge influence in Italy (Naples, Sicily and Sardinia).
I've been meaning to read up more on Aragon's so-called 'Consulate of the Sea' of the 14th and 15th centuries. It seems to me to be a very unique and interesting part of Mediterranean history that I know next to nothing about. I'm always interested in historical situations where a major power in one part of Europe (or elsewhere) comes to rule over land in another distinct region (similar to French rule in Italy).
 
Sep 2017
564
United States
#7
I find Venice’s origin story really cool.

Built by Roman refugees fleeing Gothic/Hunnic invasion. Started off as subservient to Constantinople but eventually came to sack it.
 
Likes: Futurist
Mar 2016
451
Australia
#8
I find Venice’s origin story really cool.

Built by Roman refugees fleeing Gothic/Hunnic invasion. Started off as subservient to Constantinople but eventually came to sack it.
To be fair, it was mostly the Franks that sacked Constantinople, not the Venetians. The Venetians tried to preserve as much valuable material as they could find, whereas the Franks just wanted to destroy everything and slaughter everyone. Not for nothing did Voltaire call the Franks more savage and barbaric than the Arabs (a rare stance for an 18th century European to hold).
 
Likes: Futurist

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
4,616
Portugal
#9
I've been meaning to read up more on Aragon's so-called 'Consulate of the Sea' of the 14th and 15th centuries. It seems to me to be a very unique and interesting part of Mediterranean history that I know next to nothing about. I'm always interested in historical situations where a major power in one part of Europe (or elsewhere) comes to rule over land in another distinct region (similar to French rule in Italy).
Well, to be fair, among the Crowns of the Iberian Peninsula, the crown of Aragon is the one that I know less.

I think that there were several Consulates of the Sea, that were like trade courts; often one in each of the main costal cities of the Crown.

But the expansion of the Crown is quite interesting, not only in military in Italy, but also in Greece, and its attempt in the Atlantic, in the Canary Islands, and competing in the Mediterranean trade with Genoa and Venice, with routes to the East and North of Africa.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,384
Sydney
#10
" To be fair, it was mostly the Franks that sacked Constantinople, not the Venetians "

The Franks were blackmailed by the Venetians , against their better feelings of doing the hatchet job for them
they owned them money for the charter of their ships , which they didn't have .

the whole sad sorry episode was the brainchild of an arguably deranged Venetian ,
Scion of an exalted familly , Enrico Dandolo had lost his sight during the Byzantine "slaughter of the Italians " as a young man
forty years later , still sputtering poison , he was elected Dodge and engineered the fall of his enemy

Arm twisting the Crusaders in an actions they didn't want and thought shameful ( if profitable )
that was piracy on a grand scale
during the three pronged assault the Venician fleet went for the sea wall ,
at first daunted by the defense ,
they were encouraged by their mad 90 years old Doge , stone blind , throwing himself first on the shore
 

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