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The Italian Wars is a historical map released with Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Knights of the Mediterranean.
- The game starts with a timer. The player with most captured city-states win.
Players start in a fortified city. A large river separates four influential Italian city-states that must be captured and retained.
City States must be captured to win. Each of the four city-states offers unique upgrades, units, and resources. All City States have one Trading Post and Two City Towers sockets, while they can have either a Papal Embassy or a Great Bank.
- City-State Trading Post: Is the center of the City-State, and needs to be claimed from neutral City Guards or Enemy. Capturing the majority of them grants victory to the player or team. It allows 5 technologies and a City Defenders call to arms that spawn City Guards.
- Fortified City State (II): Trading Post and City Towers hitpoints greatly increased. City Towers damage increased.
- Pike and Shot Drill (III): Military buildings' work rate increased by 40%.
- TEAM Puppet Rulers (III): TEAM villagers gather resources and construct buildings faster for each TEAM City State controlled.
- Condotierro Army (III): Ships 1 Li'l Bombard and 8 random local Mercenaries.
- Artillery Innovations (III): Unlocks Industrial Age artillery.
- Papal Embassy: generates XP (2/s), trains mercenaries (Elmetto, Swiss Pikeman and Armored Pistoleer) and has 3 technologies:
- TEAM Patron of the arts: Papal Embassies generate XP faster
- TEAM Papal Legation:
- TEAM Papal Blessing: All TEAM units in the vicinity of a City State slowly heal.
- Excommunication (III): Disables Homecity shipments for all enemy players for 2 minutes.
- Great Bank: generates gold, trains mercenaries (Landskenecht, Canoneer and Li'l Bombard) and has 4 technologies:
- TEAM Taula de canvi
- TEAM Medici patronage
- TEAM Bank Loan
- TEAM Mercenary Bounties (III):
- Taula de canvi is based on an Aragonese Crown institution, described as the first-ever public central bank.
- The Italian Wars, also known as the Habsburg–Valois Wars, refers to a series of conflicts covering the period 1494 to 1559 that took place in the Italian peninsula. The primary belligerents were the Valois kings of France and their Habsburg opponents in Spain and the Holy Roman Empire, supported at different times by Milan, Venice, and other Italian city-states. They ended in 1559 with the Treaty of Cateau-Cambrésis, which established the Habsburgs as the leading power in Italy.
- The 1454 Italic League (created after the recognition of Francesco Sforza as Duke of Milan) achieved a balance of power in Italy and resulted in a period of rapid economic growth which ended with the death of Lorenzo de' Medici in 1492. Combined with the ambition of Ludovico Sforza (fourth son of Francesco Sforza), its collapse allowed Charles VIII of France to invade Naples in 1494, which drew in Spain and the Holy Roman Empire. Despite being forced to withdraw in 1495, Charles showed the Italian states were both wealthy and vulnerable due to their political divisions. Italy became a battleground in the struggle for European domination between France and the Habsburgs, with the conflict expanding into Flanders, the Rhineland, and the Mediterranean Sea. Other external powers were involved for short periods, notably England and the Ottoman Empire.
- Fought with considerable brutality, the wars took place against the background of religious turmoil caused by the Reformation, particularly in France and the Holy Roman Empire. They are seen as a turning point in the evolution from medieval to modern warfare, with the use of the Arquebus or handgun becoming common, along with significant technological improvements in siege artillery. Literate commanders and modern printing methods also made the wars one of the first conflicts with a significant number of contemporary accounts, including Francesco Guicciardini, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Blaise de Montluc.
- After 1503, most of the fighting was initiated by French invasions of Lombardy and Piedmont, but although the French were able to hold territory for periods of time, they could not do so permanently. By 1557, both France and the Empire were confronted by internal divisions over religion, while Spain faced a potential revolt in the Spanish Netherlands. The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis largely expelled France from northern Italy and established Spain as the dominant power in the south, controlling Naples and Sicily, as well as Milan in the north.