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Why did the renaissance begin in Northern Italy?

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Why did the renaissance begin in Northern Italy? The birth of the renaissance in Northern Italy cannot be attributed to one definite reason. However historians point to a number of important factors, which combined to influence its beginning. By the fourteenth century much of northern Italy was extremely wealthy. It was an area active in manufacture, notably of woollen cloth, which was exported at great profit. It was also active in commerce and most importantly, trade. Florence for example, was a major trading centre. Its position just off the west coast of Italy left it close enough to sea for its trade to flourish, yet safe from pirates and corsairs. Therefore Florentine merchants were able to create substantial wealth, importing luxury goods from the Middle East. The cities of Genoa, Venice and Milan also lay on great European trade routes. Genoa dominating the western Mediterranean, Venice the east and Milan keeping contact with Germany. With this substantial wealth these cities created an economic boom, investing their money in banking. They borrowed money to other areas of Europe and even the popes of Rome to further increase their wealth. ...read more.


The high level of work forced the wool guild to redo theirs. This fierce level of competition would have stimulated both the patron and his future commissions. Northern Italy also enjoyed a free intellectual and political climate, which helped the development of the Renaissance. Its area was divided into city-states; a unique condition not mirrored anywhere else in Europe. This gave each city state great independency. With no central court to dictate cultural standards they were left unhindered in their activities. This was also helped by the lack of imperial domination, due to the absence of the holy Roman Emperors whose interests lay only in Germany where they resided. Another key factor was the lack of influence from the papacy, which had been removed from Rome and settled in southern France. This led to the free intellectual climate that allowed painters and sculptors such as Leonardo and Michelangelo to question the images of biblical and stories, such as the last supper and Mary Magdalene. The conditions of Northern Italy led to great individual pride within each city-state. This prompted not only political rivalry as found between Milan and Florence, but also further increased the competition that spurred on artists and patrons. ...read more.


The historian Jacob Burkhardt in 1860 gave appraisal of the Italian people, singling them out as one of the main reasons for the Renaissance beginning in northern Italy. Although there must have been a great deal of talent present in Northern Italy at the time, it's possible that he formed his opinion based on the praise Renaissance artists wrote each other. It is probably inaccurate to say an explosion of Italian genius is one of the main reasons for the Italian Renaissance developing in Northern Italy. It is more likely that the as the ideas of o the classical world spread easily through northern Italy and were heavily influential upon Renaissance figures. So the influences, ideas and talents of Renaissance figures spurred on the following generations. Examples of this would be the Influence of Brunelleschi`s mathematical perspective on Masaccios trinity. And the influence of Michelangelo and Leonardo on Raphael's painting style. Not any one of the reasons I have discussed could have alone bought about the Renaissance in northern Italy. It was instead the ideal situation these reasons created together, which allowed the birth of such a cultural movement. Dean Edmunds ...read more.

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