Vittoriano, Rome


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Falling under the tutelage of the Dukes of Spoleto, who intervened by defending the City after the Saracene raid (846), Rome was continually troubled by feuds between the nobility and the clergy (9th-10th Centuries). All in all, notwithstanding imperial attempts, the aristocracy continued the feud for political supremacy, which brought about a division between the Papacy and the Emperor during the feud for investiture.
Occupied by Henry VIth (1084) who had to immediately abandon the City due to the arrival of the Normans of Roberto il Guiscardo, who pillaged the City, whilst the opposing population were massacred and banished. Once again prey to the feuds of the nobility, after the communal experiment of Arnaldo of Brescia (1144-55), the City returned to the hands of the Papacy (Pontificate) (1188). Renewed under Innocenzo III (1198-1216), the City experienced a period of particular cultural and economic splendour with the Jubilee of 1300 (the first in the history of the Church) promoted by Bonifacio VIII. But the political feuds and decline recommenced with the capture of the Avignonese (1309-77) despite the efforts of Cola di Rienzo (1347; 1353-54) to restore order by leading the City back under the protection of the Emperor. The Plague of 1348 and earthquake of 1349 devastated the City and depopulated it until the beginning of the 15th Century. After the return of Pontificate Gregorio XI of Avignone, the City began to reassume the role of capital of the State of the Church, under Martino V.

Despite the pillage of the lanzichenecchi or Imperial mercenary troops (1527), the City began its rise during the 16th Century which transformed it into one of the major artistic and cultural centres in the world, whilst the Papal authority was consolidated after the ecumenical council of Trento (1545-63) and the beginning of the counter-reformation. At the threshold of the Pontificate, succession of members of the powerful aristocracy was orderly, whilst State territory amplified with the acquisition of Ferrara (1598) and Urbino (1631).

Prosperity and balance proceeded, apart from a brief moment during the Spanish war of succession (1701-14), until the French occupation in 1808, following the attempts of revolt of the neighbouring Giocobini. Returned to the Pope, it was reoccupied by the French (1809) who tried to reorganize the administrative and economic markets, whilst Pope Pio VII was forced into exile to Savona. After the fall of Napoleon (1814) and the Restoration (1815), the first Carbonare Associations were active in the City and in legation. In 1849, after the escape of Pio IX to Gaeta, G. Mazzini constituted the Roman Republic, which had fallen due the intervention of the French Army. French protection delayed Rome being occupied and its annexation to the New Kindom of Italy. After the attempts of the Garibaldini of Aspromonte (1862) and Mentana (1867), it was taken by Italian troops on 20.9.1870 (breccia di porta Pia – breach in the wall), becoming the effective capital (in 1861 it was proclaimed symbolic capital). In 1871, the Court transferred its residence to the Quirinale.

During the years between the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century, there was a rapid development of the City, characterized by speculative construction, subjected to the brief experience of a committee led by E. Nathan (1907-13) who introduced the town planning. After the 1st World War, it became the centre for attempts of a Fascist reign (March on Rome, 28.10.1922) which took B. Mussolini into power. During the Fascist regime the City suffered grand demolishment, needed to celebrate the capital of the Empire. During the Second World War, the City was occupied by the Germans (September 1943) and finally liberated (4.6.1944). After the war, a phenomenal incivility of vast areas of central-southern Italy accentuated, which was also accompanied by foolish political town planning carried out by the local administration.

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