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==Venice and the Renaissance==
The city-state was always somewhat different from the rest of Italy. Its culture was more deeply influenced by the Byzantines than elsewhere. For many centuries, successive Doges had avoided becoming entangled in the mainland. The Venetians somewhat isolated from the rest of Italy did not really participate in the Renaissance until later than other parts of the peninsula. Moreover, the city straddled important Alpine trade routes and was deeply influenced by ideas and technologies from Northern Europe. This meant that the ‘Serene Republic’ had a distinctive culture. Another important aspect of the city-state was its relative independence from the Papacy. The Venetians were very independent- minded and often resisted Papal policies, even during the Counter-Reformation <ref>Ferraro, p. 117</ref>. As a result, the city provided a climate that allowed thinkers and artists a level of freedom that was not available elsewhere after the Counter-Reformation began in the early sixteenth century. This is most evident in the fact that the Inquisition was forbidden from operating in Venetian territories. As a result, while the culture of the Renaissance declined elsewhere it continued in Venice. While other cities began to culturally stagnate by the end 16th century, the city in the Adriatic was enjoying a period of artistic and intellectual brilliance.
[[File: Venetian 2.jpg|200px|thumb|left|Painting of the Battle of Lepanto]]
==Venice and trade==
The city was the most important commercial center in Italy, although it had competitors such as Amalfi and later Genoa. The city after the Crusades and the capture of Byzantium were the major commercial power in the region. The trade of Venice helped to create the prosperity that was essential for the Renaissance. The ‘Serene Republic’ and its fleet of trading ships allowed Italian states to export their wares and products. This meant that it not only did the city grow wealthy, but it greatly boosted the economy of other Italian Republics and for example, allowed Florentine clothiers to export their cloth to Northern Europe and the Levant. The wealth that was produced by Venice and its trade routes was essential in the fostering of the urban milieu that was so important for the development of Civic Humanism <ref> Norwich, p 114</ref>. More importantly, the profits generated by Venice traders for Italian merchants and rulers, allowed them to become patrons of the arts. Without this great artists’ such as Michelangelo and others would not have been able to create their masterpieces. Venice commercial links were crucial in the development of the Renaissance. Moreover, the demands of long-distance trade meant that the Venetians had to develop sophisticated financial instruments and progressive business regulations. This was immensely beneficial to the city and its merchants’, but they were also imitated by other Italian Republics. This helped to foster the economic conditions that promoted the cultural and artistic flourishing of the Renaissance.

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