1. Development of an agrarian economy: population growth, reclamation of land, technological advancements; social change: peasant proletarization, freeing of "servi della gleba," erosion of ecclesiastic landed property in favor of a new urban middle class.
2. Rise of urban life: aggressive conquest of "contado" by the towns; the "comuni;" permeation between feudal and landed ranks and the urban middle classes; the town as a center of artisan production and exchange of goods.
3. Relationship between the "comuni" and the universal powers: Papacy and Emperor; Guelfism and Ghibellinism; consular administration of the "comune;" popular involvement in social life; "Comune" infighting; podesta administration of "comune."
4. The town as center of culture; the first urban schools and universities; end of monastic isolation; the renewed study of law; the intellectual as exponent of communal and urban society and member of an
intercommunal cultural elite; the question of language: early Italian.
5. Church and heretical dissentions; religious renewal in the cities; deep influence of folkloric and civic ritual in the life of the common people; Church reaction: the Inquisition and the Mendicant Orders.
6. The development of commercial capitalism; the constitution of new social groups; monetary economy; the role of the Tuscan bankers; primitive capitalistic character of social relations.
7. Comune: from the consular and podesta administratione to the popular fase; explosion of social contrasts; overpopulation and famine; the plague of 1347-51.
8. Florence: the oligarchic comune; the "popolo minuto" and the uprising of Ciompi; the wool industry and its decline; the idealization of the city-state and the formation of an intellectual class (humanists); the "signoria" of the Medici; 1434-94 and Renaissance splendor; the importance of public patronage in art and culture.
9. Milan: the "signoria" of Visconti; a policy of territorial expansion; the Sforza dynasty; administrative centralization; textile and military industries.
10. Venice: the commercial and the military fleet; the Turkish threat; Expansion tendencies and relations with Milan and the rest of Lombardy and the Adriatic regions of Central and Southern Italy; The League of Cambrai; the end of Venice as a political power on the mainland; Venice as a center of cultural freedom in Italy.
11. The Papal State: a theocratic power dominated by the clergy and by a divided nobility; Alexander VI: a papacy of nepotism and worldliness; a backward society.
12. The French and Spanish in Italy, marking the end to Italy's leading cultural role in Europe and the beginning of Italian decadence: the invasion of Carlo VIII; Milan and Venice, along with Austria, Spain and the Pope form a league; Milan passes under French domination following the invasion of Francesco
I; defeat of the French at Pavia (1525) by Charles V; Treaty of Cambresis (1559) sanctions Spanish domination of Milan and the rest of Italy (except Venice); immobilization and social polarization; the role of women in society; the importance of family.
13. The Papacy and the Counterreformation: Venice reaffirms its autonomy from the Church; Paolo Sarpi; Rome and the Baroque; heresy: Giordano Bruno and Galileo Galilei; a parasitic aristocracy and a backward economy.