→The End of Renaissance Rome
*[[What was the Borgias contribution to Renaissance Italy?]]
[[File: Papacy 2.jpg|thumbnail|350px|left|St Peter’s Basilica]]
Before 1527, Rome had become arguably the center of the Renaissance. Milan had been devastated by successive military occupations, while Florence had been destabilized and impoverished by twenty years of internal conflict. Apart from Venice, only the Pope had the means to sponsor and commission works of art. The Papal Court was extremely wealthy, and the Pope became the patron of many of the greatest artists, such as Michelangelo and Raphael. This was especially the case after the 1500s because of a dramatic change in the economy.
After Columbus discovered America in 1492, the Italian economy went into a gradual but steep decline, which was noticeable by 1527. New trade routes were established in the Atlantic, and the trade of the Mediterranean dropped off. This led to less money being spent on art in Italy.<ref> Burke, p. 113</ref> The Papacy had could continue to support artists and writers, as its main revenue streams were from pilgrims and Church taxes,
which Popes such as Clement VII, continued to spend on commissioning great works of art or on architecture, such as the ‘rebuilding of St Peter’s Basilica.'<ref>Burke, p 119</ref>
Rome's capture and the Imperial army's occupation caused massive economic dislocation
, and much of the city’s wealth was spent on ransoms or stolen. Rome was devastated by the Sack and its aftermath. The city population fell dramatically; it was approximately 55,000 before 1527 but was only estimated to be 10,000 the following year. The city’s economy was in ruins , and the Colonna family revolted in the Papal States and established a virtually independent principality. Following the end of the occupation of Rome, a plague decimated the survivors. Rome was in a state of collapse, and the Sack had set the city back by a century. The Pope could no longer afford to pay artists and writers, and they gradually drifted away from the city. The capture of Rome in 1527, ended the Renaissance in Rome which had become the one of the last centres of the great cultural flourishing in Italy.<ref>Ruggiero, Guido. <i>[https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0521719380/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0521719380&linkCode=as2&tag=dailyh0c-20&linkId=099fc32a1ba347508fdb90b622912ce0 The Renaissance in Italy: A Social and Cultural History of the Rinascimento]</i> (Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 648 </ref>