With Charles VIII’s procession from France to Naples (1494/95), which he wanted to take possession of as the heir of the Anjou, and the interventions of his successor Louis, which failed because of the Holy League of Pope, Emperor, Milan, Venice and Spain XII. in Milan and Naples in 1499/1501 the struggle between France, Spain and the empire for supremacy on the Italian peninsula began. This initially forced the Italian states to change alliances with France and the House of Habsburg (which had been dynastically linked to Spain since 1496) or made them try to expand their territorial holdings against each other. The crisis, reflected in political thinking, among other things. N. Machiavellis and F. Guicciardinis, shook most rulers (including C. Borgia, G. Savonarola). Milan remained French for the time being, but Ferdinand II, the Catholic, won Naples back in 1504 and placed it under the Spanish crown as a viceroyalty. In 1508, Emperor Maximilian I, Ludwig XII allied . , Ferdinand II., Some smaller Italian states and later also Pope Julius II. in the League of Cambrai against Venice and temporarily took the Terra ferma from it in 1509 (Battle of Agnadello, Province of Cremona); it had to forego further expansion, while its economic importance declined as a result of the newly discovered sea trade routes and the Levantine losses, although it was stabilized again in the course of the 16th century. For the time being, a changed investment behavior of the urban elite had a stronger effect here than elsewhere, which in the long term expected greater profits from the expansion of agricultural production in the changing price structure than, for example, in risky long-distance trade. In 1510, however, Julius II agreed . with Venice and renewed the anti-French Holy League, which, despite the help of the Confederates (victory of the Swiss at Novara, 1513), failed to succeed (victory of the French at Marignano, 1515). The struggle for supremacy in Italy led to four protracted and bloody wars between Francis I of France and Emperor Charles V.
With the Battle of Pavia (1525), in which Francis I was captured, according to militarynous, the battle for Milan against France was decided. This was confirmed by the second war (1527-29) against the League of Cognac, in which Charles’s unauthorized mercenaries forced the Pope to surrender in 1527 (Sacco di Roma) and Andrea Doria with the Genoese fleet joined the imperial side, which led to the long special relationships of his Hometown especially to the Spanish Habsburgs and thus co-founded the special position in the financial implementation of the precious metal flows of the Spanish empire. In the Peace of Cambrai in 1529 France renounced Naples and Milan in favor of the Habsburgs, that in 1535 after their death Francesco Sforzas fell to the emperor. After the final displacement of France and the division of the Habsburg property (after the abdication of Charles V), the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis in 1559 reorganized Italy’s world of states under the sign of the supremacy of Philip II of Spain. His possession of Naples, Sicily, Sardinia and Milan as well as the Stato dei Presidi were recognized, and dynasties that were acceptable to the Habsburgs were reinstated in many cases. The Medici, expelled from Florence in 1494 with French help and raised to dukes after their return (1512) and repeated expulsion (1527-30) in 1531, becamehereditary grand dukes of Tuscany, which had also included Siena since 1555/57, from Cosimo I (1569).
Parma and Piacenza, founded in 1545 as the hereditary duchy of the Farnese, initially remained under the Habsburg sphere of influence. The Duchy of Savoy received Philibert under Emanuel 1559–62 its countries that had been under French occupation since 1536, and Turin in Piedmont became the center of its early absolutist state. The power of the Renaissance popes had suffered severe losses due to their fluctuating alliance policy, excessive nepotism, the triumphant advance of the Reformation and the confessionalization of the church. To consolidate the papacy, v. a. the Tridentinum, the successes of the Counter-Reformation and Catholic Reform, the efforts to balance papal diplomacy between the Catholic powers and the incorporation of the Duchies of Ferrara (1598) and Urbino (1631) into the now absolutist Papal States.
The extraordinary economic boom in Italy up to the 16th century came into a crisis due to the shift in world trade routes, the emergence of the large economic centers in Western Europe and, since the beginning of the 17th century, also due to English and Dutch competition in Levant trade (rise of Livorno), which, however, was much became noticeable more slowly than was often assumed. Even after 1600 Italy had more prosperous regions than any other comparable metropolitan area in Europe, and the wealth of the upper classes and princes carried the baroque cultural model of Italy from the invention of the opera to the fine arts and painting. Agricultural crises, feudal and fiscal exploitation of the Spanish-Italian states triggered regional popular uprisings (1647/48 in Palermo and Naples, 1674 and 1678 in Messina). The overall position of the Habsburg-French front during the Thirty Years’ War also had an impact in Italy. Before and in Mantuan War of Succession(1628–31), Richelieu succeeded for the first time again in creating French zones of influence in northern Italy (Valtellina, then Pinerolo in Piedmont), which also included Parma and Modena after the Peace of the Pyrenees (1659).
The growing threat from the Ottomans led to closer cooperation between the papacy and Venice, which lost Crete in its Turkish wars (1645–71, 1684–99) in 1669, but in the Peace of Karlowitz (1699) Morea (until 1718), the Ionian Islands and could claim parts of Dalmatia. New competition arose for him in the Habsburg claim to own Adriatic trade (Trieste 1719 free port).
The Bourbon-Habsburg struggle for the Spanish inheritance in Italy after the extinction of the Spanish Habsburgs (1700) ushered in a profound change of territorial rule within a few decades, at the same time as the extinction of most of the native dynasties (except Savoy). After the War of the Spanish Succession, which initially confirmed Austria in the Treaty of Rastatt in 1714 with Naples, Sardinia, Milan and Mantua in possession of its Spanish inheritance, against which only Savoy asserted itself by winning the Kingdom of Sicily (exchanged for Austrian Sardinia in 1720) Italy as an object of the politics of the equilibrium of the European powers battleground of the Spanish-Bourbon, by the wife of King Philip V, Elisabeth Farnese, pursued Italian policy (War of the Polish Succession, War of the Austrian Succession). After several changes of country, the territorial relations were finally confirmed in the Peace of Aachen in 1748. The agriculturally leading Lombardy was now Austrian; After the Medici died out in 1737, Tuscany came to Franz Stephan of Lorraine, the husband of Maria Theresa. The two kingdoms of Naples and Sicily were held by the Spanish Bourbons from 1738 onwards; Parma and Piacenza were also Bourbon since the Farnese became extinct (1731). The House of Savoy was particularly under the politically energetic and militarily successful rule of Viktor Amadeus II. in his striving for power after the rise to royal dignity (Sardinia) and acquisition of western Lombardy advanced to European rank. The republics of Venice (in the Adriatic in increasingly unsuccessful struggle against Turkish pirates), Genoa (sale of the rebellious Corsica to France in 1768) and Lucca and the Papal States, which had long since become insignificant in international politics, were still able to hold their own. The Habsburg and Bourbon states, but not Sardinia-Piedmont, experienced a number of legal, economic, school and administrative reforms (centers above all Milan, Florence and Naples) in the spirit of enlightened absolutism in the peacetime of 1748-92. In these states also worked and wrote the Italian scouts of European standing (including L. A. Muratori, P. Giannone, A. Genovesi, P. Verri, C. Beccaria, F. Galiani [* 1728, † 1787]).