1556: Charles V abdicates and his son Philip II, king of Spain, takes over the dominion of the Italian peninsula, becoming the armed hand of the Counter-Reformation: with him, in Italy religious order and political order coincide.
According to HOLIDAYSORT, the Reformation in Italy is on the whole a phenomenon of minorities: the major centers of the reform nuclei are Naples, with Juan de Valdés and the preacher Bernardino Ochino; Ferrara, thanks to the presence of the Duchess Renata of France; Lucca, with Pier Martire Vermigli and Celio Secondo Curione. In the Republic of Venice there is a diffusion of new ideas both of an aristocratic-cultured type (Pier Paolo Vergerio) and of a popular type (groups of Anabaptists, formed above all in the artisanal class). Finally, the ancient Waldensian Church joined the Reformation in 1532. Instead the peninsula, around the middle of the 16th century, became the stronghold of the reaction to Luther and Calvin and of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Not that the Italy from the end of the 15th century. and of the early 16th century does not know major reform forces in the religious field: Savonarola not only rules Florence in the name of Christ the King and denounces the simony of the curia and Pope Alexander VI, but, after his tragic death, he leaves behind a legacy of aspirations, ideals and needs, which are, for example., clearly visible in the Republic of Lucca; less linked to politics, more adherent to the world of piety and prayer, is the Catholic Reformation, which is not the Counter-Reformation and moves parallel to the Lutheran Reformation, both expressions of that atmosphere of expectation and reform hopes with which it ended the 15th century. On the one hand there is the official action of the papacy, from the fifth Lateran Council, opened by Julius II and continued by Leo X, to Consilium de emendanda ecclesia (1537) of the commission established by Paul III; on the other hand, the less resonant, more widespread and more fruitful work of the teeming with new congregations and new religious orders (in 1525 Gaetano da Thiene and Giampietro Carafa gave life to the Theatines, in 1528 the Capuchins were born within the Franciscan order, in 1553 it was the turn of the Barnabites, followed shortly after by the Somascans and the oratorians of Filippo Neri). The fate of the Catholic Reformation is not decided in Italy, but at the court of Charles V, and they are identified with the cause of Erasmus: as long as the emperor hopes to reduce the Protestants to obedience, an entire imperial party protects Erasmus from attacks by the old religious orders and the Inquisition. When Charles V abandoned the cause, the Council of Trent had already been called (1545-63). In 1534 Ignatius of Loyola founded the fierce militia of the Society of Jesus, which was confirmed in 1540. Since 1542 the court of the Inquisition has been operating in Italy, created by Paul III under the inspiration of Carafa, with the declared function of control of the new confessions, managing to penetrate states that once had, like Venice, a jealous feeling of their own sovereign autonomy. The institution of the Inquisition is only one of the first steps towards the Counter-Reformation: it becomes complete with the elevation to the papacy of Cardinal Carafa, Paul IV (1554-59). managing to penetrate states that once had, like Venice, a jealous feeling of their sovereign autonomy. The institution of the Inquisition is only one of the first steps towards the Counter-Reformation: it becomes complete with the elevation to the papacy of Cardinal Carafa, Paul IV (1554-59). managing to penetrate states that once had, like Venice, a jealous feeling of their sovereign autonomy. The institution of the Inquisition is only one of the first steps towards the Counter-Reformation: it becomes complete with the elevation to the papacy of Cardinal Carafa, Paul IV (1554-59).
April 3, 1559
The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis ( fig. 6 ) puts an end to the long conflict between the Habsburgs and France. It crystallizes the Italian territorial order in a triple reality: direct possessions of a foreign power, vassal states of a foreign power, autonomous and free states.
Spain emerges in the first group, under whose direct sovereignty are the Duchy of Milan, the Kingdom of Naples, that of Sicily, that of Sardinia and the State of the garrisons (Talamone, Orbetello, Porto Ercole, Porto Santo Stefano and Monte Argentario), torn from the territory of the former Republic of Siena; France has only the marquisate of Saluzzo, which it retains until 1588, the year in which it passes under the Dukes of Savoy.
Formally autonomous, but in fact vassals of Spain, are the states of the second group: the duchy of Parma and Piacenza, left to the Farnese with the small annexed duchy of Castro and Ronciglione; the Duchy of Mantua in the hands of the Gonzagas, who since 1536 have also been Marquesses of Monferrato; the oligarchic Republic of Lucca; the duchy of Urbino under the Della Rovere family; that of Massa and Carrara under the Cybo and, in an extremely uncertain situation, the tiny principality of Piombino in the hands of the Appiani, but for a long time occupied first by the imperials (1603-11) and then by the Spaniards (1628-34), to finish from last under the Ludovisi (1634). In an unstable position is also the possession of the house of Este, which dominates Ferrara, a papal fief, and Modena and Reggio, imperial fiefs, but in 1598, when the main branch was extinguished with Duke Alfonso II, Ferrara is reunited with the Papal State by Clement VIII (1592-1605). Although with a margin of autonomy, especially due to the complex financial relationships that exist with Spain, the Republic of Genoa must also be considered among the vassal states, which since 1569 has directly owned Corsica, already owned by the Banco di San Giorgio, and it was eroded by the internal struggles between the oligarchy of the old nobility and the demands of the new one, whose revolt of 1575 was appeased only with the constitutional reform of the following year.
There are four truly sovereign states: the Duchy of Savoy, the Republic of Venice, the Grand Duchy (since 1569) of Tuscany and the Papal State, which however cannot ignore the predominant influence of Spain on the peninsula: Venice can be attacked by ancestral possessions of the Habsburgs, on the eastern frontier, and from the Spanish duchy of Milan; the Savoys are threatened by the Monferrato and by the Spanish Lombardy; Tuscany is exposed to an attack by the state of the garrisons, and the papal state borders on the Spanish kingdom of Naples. With the exception of Venice, they all gravitate towards the Tyrrhenian Sea which, via Genoa, Corsica and Sardinia, is a sea easily controlled by the Spanish fleet.