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The Renaissance was a cultural and intellectual movement that most scholars would say truly began in the fifteenth-century Italian city-states, especially Florence and Venice. There are several reasons it happened. One is that Italian city-states (and the papacy in Rome) were becoming more politically powerful, and very rich through trade and banking. Their leaders could afford to provide patronage to the architects, painters, and sculptors that we associate with the Renaissance. Another is that Italian merchants and others were rediscovering classical (Greek and Roman) texts, and these influenced their thinking. It should be noted that scholars disagree about the origins of the movment, with many viewing its origins as having been much earlier. Some also think that we overstate the importance of the Renaissance, pointing out that the Middle Ages were a vibrant period for art, architecture and literature in its own right.
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