According to Healthvv, the age of the Counter-Reformation was also an age of restoration and state establishment, in the form and by means of princely absolutism and centralization of powers. What occurs in the government of the Church, with the powerful subsidy of religious orders, also occurs in the government of the Italian states, both of those subject to Spain and of those that arose from scratch .or restored after the warlike turmoil. It was a resumption of a work that had lasted for centuries, in relation to the decline of the aristocracy and the disruption of municipal life; and now the need to heal the evils of long wars, to put the brakes on eslegi forces, to restore finances, to increase the prince’s resources made it more urgent. Nor this only in Italy, but more or less everywhere, including countries aimed at Protestantism, which indeed contributed strongly to strengthening the prince’s powers. The absolutism of the Italian states is a little reflection of the foreign one, Spanish first, then French: as it is also a weapon to defend against their invasion. Formative efficacy on Italian absolutism also had the papacy of the Counter-Reformation which, if on the one hand it tended to limit the power of secular princes.
As a State of the Church, Rome did not little endeavor to bring order and make the authority of the center effective and firm: although in this field it operated much less effectively, deeply and permanently than in the other, more appropriate to its nature, than in the other, more appropriate to its nature. church, religion, moral life. Communities and barons were forced to pay new taxes. Small feudal states were claimed and forfeited. The city of Ferrara was also confiscated against the Estense: a big blow that had a wide resonance and brought the boundaries of the Papal States to the Po. The actual conditions, the very substance of this state did not escape attentive observers. His existence was certainly less troubled and threatened than it once was. But the more it all came into the hands of the church, the more it resented that theoretical conception, revalued by the Counter-Reformation, for which the State of the Church had to serve the Church, be an instrument of the Church; more and more he resented that situation whereby, in fact, in that state, the Church was the hierarchy, the cleric and the families from which they emerged.
But the constructive effort of the principality was seen, in all its genuineness, in the newly formed secular states. Here the impulse, the confidence, the very need to work to heal the many wounds, to affirm the power of the prince in the face of the nobility that had certainly regained, albeit ephemeral vigor, to protect a certain freedom in the face of the great protector monarch, which was Spain. We see this in the small principality of the Farnese, where great work was done to unify the state, eliminating autonomies, making municipal magistrates instrument of the prince, lowering the feudal lords and linking their lands to the bulk of the state territory. Hence the noble reaction of which Pier Luigi Farnese was the victim. But his successors continued. The lordship of Borgotaro was taken away from the Fieschis, over an important transit route; to the Gonzagas, Poviglio; to the Dal Verme, Romanese; to the Pallavicino, Cortemaggiore. Even the old state Pallavicino, with its capital city Busseto, which cut the Farnese lordship in two and almost separated it from the Milanese, fell, when in 1587 the Busseto branch died out and Alessandro Farnese had the small state occupied, to the detriment of the adoptive heir: hence a fierce and long dispute. Rude blows were given to all more or less the great Piacenza families, which were among the most turbulent in Italy, and to their fiscal and judicial rights over the rural populations. And the fiefdoms fell one after the other.
More from scratch yet, although not among so many contrasts, Cosimo de ‘Medici, son of Giovanni dalle Bande Nere and successor of Alessandro, first duke, had to build. Multiplicity and variety of elements made up the state; there were already very hostile cities of Florence; families who did not forgive the death of the republic, and, if exiled, plotted against them. But Cosimo really had the quality of a builder; and, no less, he faced tired forces. Many are those, people of the cities and subjects of the territory, who joyfully saw the republic collapse and hope much from a prince. The greatest and most widespread aspiration is for a government that is common to all. Cosimo then returned to Florence not serving a faction, not flattering and corrupting the plebs, but by his own right: what meant independence from anyone, and ability to act without shackles. In fact, he also got rid of those who had exalted him and who deluded themselves that they could constitute a narrow ruling aristocracy alongside the prince. He showed favor to the diminutive people, who gained a certain confidence to live safe from the injuries of the nobles. He exercised very severe justice with everyone. He also helped the mercantile activity of all the subjects, in the country and outside it: and, among other things, he helped Pisa to recover from the previous oppression regime and reconstitute its industrial life, already canceled for the benefit of the dominant .