Wikipedia:Today's featured article/September 11, 2005
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement from the 14th to the 16th century. The word renaissance means "rebirth", and the era is best known for the renewed interest in the culture of classical antiquity. The Italian Renaissance began in northern Italy, centering in Florence. It then spread south, having an especially significant impact on Rome, which was largely rebuilt by the Renaissance popes. The Italian Renaissance is best known for its cultural achievements. This includes works of literature by such figures as Petrarch, Castiglione, and Machiavelli; artists such as Michaelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, and great works of architecture such as The Duomo in Florence and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. At the same time, present-day historians also see the era as one of economic regression and of little progress in science. Furthermore, some historians argue that the lot of the peasants and urban poor, the majority of the population, worsened during this period.