2017-06-07 23:10:18 UTC
First of all, I commend to everybody the recent and ongoing TL: The Iron Serpent: A Visconti Italy timeline. [only on AH.com, pre-1900 forum]
That said, sometimes, I like to expand on things just for discussions sake and go further ahead by a century or more, which genuine TLs often take a very long time to get to if they get there at
So, what would the age of exploration and the modern era look like for an early unified Italy.
I'd have to say that a unified Visconti Italy is my favorite at this point because its early enough to make Italy a strong power during the age of exploration but late enough that the renaissance has started and recognizable Italian culture and language is coming into being.
So, a unified Visconti Italy could come in many sizes, as a state encompassing Italy west of Venice and north of Rome and Umbria, or a larger state containing one or all of the Papal States, Venice or Naples-Sicily.
With a unified Italy in the 1400s and 1500s, how is its power position going to compare with the HRE, Spain and France? If sufficiently powerful, what would be the directions of expansion beyond Italy that you would consider least implausible to most implausible.
A few ideas here:
1) Italy gets in on the Atlantic: Yes Italy is in the Med and not directly on the Atlantic seaboard, but despite Italy being on the wrong side of Gibraltar, it is not like those straits are super tight or easily commanded by 15th and 16th century artillery making blockade likely or even feasible. So, conceivably Italy could horn in on areas where the Portuguese and Spanish (and their unification is not guaranteed) ventured in OTL either around the Cape or west to the Americas.
2) Italy takes Venice and becomes super-Venice: Basically anything the Venetians got historically in the eastern Med, is controlled by united Italy, in a bigger longer way, so Albania, Greece, Cyprus, the Aegean islands. Really sank up the Italian state, maybe they are a major territorial contender over the whole Balkans
3) Italy goes for the cash and capital: Italy after unifying starts its own version of the 100 Years War and seeks to dominate the prosperous lands of Burgundy, Lotharingia and the Netherlands, the richest parts of western Europe. Instead of a "Spanish Road" to the Netherlands, there is an Italian road, and Italian soldiers, bureaucrats and flags follow the traders who earlier first expanding their banking and other enterprises to Antwerp and the Low Countries.
Naturally this state would be permanent enemies of France and the HRE (or if the Visconti become the HREs they have a lot of resisting enemies in the German portion) but this could be interesting.