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Perhaps the most important factor to give rise to the Italian Renaissance was the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in November, 1453. With the collapse of that city a number of Greek scholars abandoned it and moved to Italy, the seat of the old Roman Empire, and brought their books and learning with them. Thus the wisdom of the classical age which had been lost to Western Europe was returned to it. Some scholars have said that because of this, the proper term should be "replanting" rather than "rebirth."
Other factors were important, including Italy's unique geographical position at the crossroads between East and West. It profited a great deal from the trade routes which converged there. Among those who profited were the diMedici family, originally wool merchants who soon engaged in banking. So successful were they that they became bankers for the Pope. The diMedici felt an obligation to share their wealth with the community, and as a result, sponsored a substantial number of artists and sculptors who became famous during the Italian Renaissance. Since Italy was the home of the old Western Roman Empire, much of the work of the period had a distinctly Greco-Latin element.
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