In short, a certain vigor of restored governments; certain aspiration to greatness; a certain will and effort to give territorial completeness to the state; certain surviving fighting ardor of these principles. In addition to Emanuele Filiberto, Duke Guglielmo Gonzaga, his great opponent, is extremely inclined to the militia. Indeed, he passed from France to Spain precisely to have a greater opportunity for military exploits, as had the neighboring Duke of Parma Alessandro Farnese. A legend of artillery and war tools, a passionate horse breeder is the Duke of Este. And then, concern for justice as equal as possible for all and sometimes with some study to exercise it even more rigorously towards the great ones. Special attention paid to economic and financial problems and to rural production activities, you help both directly and by prohibiting the importation of goods and the export of gold or raw materials and commodities; demographic and population or repopulation policy, since it is now a common idea that the state and its strength are essentially made up of men. Measures to overcome the banking crisis and the lack of credit. Calls and favors to the Israelites who greatly increase in number and often grab every trade in many places in northern and central Italy (Livorno, Mantua, Ferrara, Turin, etc.), even in “cities of the Milanese subject to Spain, which expels Jews from the south but protects them in the north. Tendency to extend the action of the state to all fields of civil life, to perfect the governing bodies, to elaborate institutions that are like connective tissue within the elements subjected in various ways to the authority of the prince. The idea of the state as a public function and public interest makes some progress. The ideal of the “universal prince”, as Botero calls him, substituted for the “party leader”, is better implemented; which is then the ideal of the middle and lower classes which, in an absolute regime, of growing bureaucracy, fill the offices in increasing numbers.
Instead, the municipalities decline or accelerate their descent, both as a juridical condition of autonomy, as a citizen spirit, as a cult of local memories, as an appreciation of the writers and works that best represented the old municipal life. So in Florence. Parliaments and similar consultative bodies decline: and we know the fate of the congregations in Val d’Aosta, in Piedmont, at the time of Emanuele Filiberto; it is known that in the kingdom of Naples, under Philip II, the parliaments were less and less frequent and with less and less prerogatives. The decline of parliaments is also the decline of nobility, after the ephemeral autumnal revival that took place in the first half of the 16th century, in connection with political disorder. She is now made a courtesan, diminished in political power, wealth, credit. Many of the large families extinguished, replaced by too many people of small origin who bought titles and distinctions for cash. However, this old and new aristocracy still feeds the frequent feuding of cities to which Spain in southern Italy especially resorts to make money, without for this renouncing too many prerogatives of the crown; and also the great mastery that, especially in Spanish Italy, the noble class has of the municipal administrations, where it collects duties, elects mayors, jurors, officers, manages the patrimony of the universities, etc. In Sicily, a robust citadel of the aristocracy that from there watches over in defense of the island’s institutions, that is, basically, in defense of feudal and proper privileges, it becomes the deputation of the kingdom, born as a temporary balia of parliament, but in 1567 it became a stable body, with administrative functions, with a certain capacity to impose itself on both the king and the people. Hence a certain solidarity between the people and Spain. You always live in these classes, everywhere, desire to excel, passion for weapons, sometimes some not ignoble ambition for military glory. According to Nexticle, this especially in the South and in some northern states, that is where the nobility, instead of being all of recent bourgeois origin, as in Tuscany, well preserved old ferments of chivalric life, as in the Este state. And the opportunities to give vent to these ardors are not entirely lacking. If the wars in Italy are over, there are those of the empire and Spain. And there is a large participation of Italians, even in regular formations, organized by the Spanish viceroys and governors or sent by the pope, the Estensi, the Farnese, from the Gonzagas, from the Medici, to the wars of the king of Spain or those of the emperor against Turks and Flemings and Barbary peoples of Africa and American Indies, in the second half of the 16th century and in the first half of the 17th century. In 1595, they also left Tuscany to help Stephen Báthory, Prince of Transylvania, for that year’s successful campaign against the infidels. And let’s not count all those who individually went off to join this or that army, perhaps with the Turks, who actually recruited many people, volunteers or prisoners of war or men pillaged along the coasts and made “renegades”.