Italy served as the birthplace of the Renaissance, a cultural movement which soon spread throughout all of Europe, during the 15th century. At this point, Italy was not yet a unified country, and was divided into numerous city-states that each strove to conquer the other lands of Italy. The primary city-states were the Republic of Florence, the Republic of Venice and the Papal States. While the Assassin Order and Templar Order had been active in Italy as far back as the time of the Roman Empire, it was during the Renaissance that both orders had their primary presence in Italy.
When Rodrigo Borgia became Grand Master of the Templar Order in 1476, the Templars made plans to take over the main cities of northern Italy; notably Milan, Florence, Venice and Rome. Although most of their initial attempts were thwarted by the Assassins, thanks to the actions of Ezio Auditore, the Templars nonetheless managed to seize control of Rome and the rest of the Papal States when Rodrigo Borgia was crowned Pope Alexander VI. His son, Cesare Borgia, further conquered several other regions of Italy in his role as Captain General of the Papal Armies. Due to the subsequent actions of the Assassins, the Templars' influence in Rome and Italy reduced, and after Cesare Borgia, who blamed his father for his misfortunes, killed him in anger. The succeeding Popes Pius III and Julius II did not favor Cesare, and the Templars' influence in Italy fell to collapse, while the Assassins maintained a strong presence in the country.