Italy History VIII: The Second Fall: Foreign Domination

Foreign empires take over much of Italy in the 17C and 18C

From the mid-16C until the end of the 18C, Italy suffered economic depression and foreign domination.

As emphasis on world trade shifted away from the Mediterranean, Italy’s influence diminished.

Within Italy itself, Spanish Bourbons controlled the duchies of the south, while Austria ruled those of the north, leaving the Pope in control of he central Papal States around Rome. The foreign overlords kept raising taxes, farming declined, the birthrate sank, and bandits proliferated.

The 18C is viewed as Italy’s nadir. In fact, only Europe’s eager ear for Italian music and eye for art and architecture kept the Italian profile haughty and its cultural patrimony resplendent.

It was the late-18thC French Revolution and the arrival of Napoléon that lit Italy’s nationalistic fire, although it would be the mid–19C before the Risorgimento movement and a new king could spread the flame.


17th century in Italy

18th century in Italy

More on 17th century

 (Photo courtesy of the hotel)
Florence: Santa Maria Novella

Fantasic little hotel with rooms slathered in 17th century frescoes


The Long Snore


More on 18th century

The Grand Canal facade (Photo by Alice Barigelli)
Ca' Rezzonico
Venice: Dorsoduro

This Grand Canal palazzo houses the Museo del '700 Veneziano, or Museum of 18th-Century Venice

Detail of the painted ceramic floor in San Michele (Photo © Reid Bramblett)
San Michele

The story of Eden told in glittering tiles on the floor of an Anacapri church


The Long Snore