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  • Italy's Four Great Empires
    Part 4 of 5: The Renaissance
    Continued from part 3

    by Joe Diorio

    The Renaissance! The Italians of the fifteenth century were trying to recapture the glory days of Rome, so in the city of Florence, the Italians enlightened the world with the Rinascimento, or Renaissance. Whether saying it in Italian or French, it simply means, "re-birth". Free and spirited thinkers had the right to openly question the world around them without fear of angering the church or state. Art, exploration and other expressions flourished in Italy and literally took the world out of the dark ages. Masters, the likes of which the world still reveres, were everywhere in Renaissance Italy. Due to a new theory called humanism, the period brought forth Italian geniuses and artists like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Botticelli, Raphael and Donatello and, during the same time, Dante and Machiavelli were inspiring the world. Explorers like Columbus, Vespucci and Caboto were discovering new worlds and Galileo was teaching new scientific ideas. To think of the brilliance that come out of Italy during the same period in history is mind boggling! During this period, France learned more from Italy than any other country. Catherine de' Medici brought the art of cooking to the French when she married Henri II in 1533. All the kings of France were impressed with the achievements of the Italians and wanted to share them. Spanish rulers, like Queen Isabella, would drape themselves in Italian influence and genius. German and English universities were teaching Italian art, music and thought. Opera and ballet was created in Florence and became popular throughout Europe. Italy would give the world Vivaldi, Verdi and Rossini. Words and phrases pertaining to music are Italian and nowhere was Italian influence more evident than that art. Remember, it was an Italian who gave the world the musical scale. Guido d'Arezzo taught the world how to record music while Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano and Andrea Amati, the violin. Itís easy to see how the Renaissance had become Italy's third empire. The Renaissance was as much an empire as Rome and Christianity and it changed the thinking of the entire world. As the Romans did in civilizing the planet, Italians now gave it culture.

    Part 5: The New World

    Part 1: Introduction
    Part 2: The Roman Empire
    Part 3: Christianity
    Part 4: The Renaissance
    Part 5: The New World


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