Jacob Burckhardt best describes the renaissance as the prototype of the modern world, for it was the period between the fourteenth and fifteenth century in Italy, when the base of modern civilisation was formed. It was mainly through the revival of ancient learning that new scientific values first began to overthrow traditional religious beliefs. People started to accept a new rational and objective approach to reality and most important of all to rediscover the importance of the individual. The result in Burckhardt words was the release of the' full whole nature of man'. However the Renaissance biggest contribution was the way different important individuals through their logical revelations managed to diminish the power of the Catholic Church. (Craig, Graham, Kagan, Ozment, Turner, Medieval Europe before the Renaissance had been a fragmented feudal society with an agriculturally based economy, and its culture and dominated by the Church. After the fourteenth century characterised by the growing national consciousness and political centralisation based on organised commerce and capitalism, along with the secular control of thought and culture. It was in Italy from around the time 1375 to the sack of Rome (1527) that the distinctive features and impacts of the renaissance era are revealed.
Italy having a geographic advantage, laying in the centre of the commerce between the east and west. Due to this fact rich and urban cities were formed in Italy. There started to be more Italian cities than there were people in them. Trade monopolies were formed to ensure profitability of trade and manufacturing, but only those with sufficient capital could engage in either. For example, in Florence 10% of the families controlled 90% of the wealth.