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On 17 March 1861, Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia was crowned as king of Italy. Charlemagne brought Frankish culture to Italy, and under the Franks, the Church of Rome gained much political influence.

Rome was a natural choice for the national capital in 1871 when the modern state was united after the annexation of the Papal States.

Northern and central Italian trade, manufacture, and financial capitalism, together with increasing urbanization, were to continue with extraordinary vigor and to have remarkable influence throughout much of the Mediterranean world and Europe as a whole—a development that served as the necessary preliminary for the expansion of Europe beyond its ancient bounds at the end of the fifteenth century.

Second came the extension of de facto independent city–states, which, whether as republics or as powers ruled by one person or family, created a powerful impression upon contemporaries and posterity.

Three features in particular from this period solidified the notion of a unified culture.

The first was the maturing of the economic development that had originated in the earlier centuries.

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