When you think of the Italian Renaissance, chances are you think of what it gave us. The extraordinary sculptures of Michelangelo. The incomparable paintings of Leonardo da Vinci. The immortal written works of Petrarch and Machiavelli.
But have you ever wondered why there was such an artistic, cultural and intellectual explosion in Italy at the start of the 14th century?
Why did it occur in Italy and not another part of Europe, and why did it happen in certain Italian city-states, such as Florence?
Why did it ultimately fail in the middle of the 16th century?