The 16th century, from 1501 to 1600, started with chaos in Rome. The power struggle between the noble families had reached new heights towards the end of the 15th century, after a period of growth and renewal.

In 1527, the Sacco de Roma occured. Imperial troops under Charles V sacked the city over several days, keeping the Pope prisoner in the Castel Sant'Angelo and destroying many buildings.

Under Pius IV and Pius V, the Counter-Reformation gained strength. Especially the latter pontiff, supported by Cardinal Charles Borromeus, did much to reform and rebuild Rome. Sixtus V continued the renewal programmes, and having struck down on corruoption he managed to fund them more effectively than his predecessors.


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