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 Republic, 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 da Firenze, the Templars nonetheless managed to seize control of Rome and the rest of the Papal States when Rodrigo Borgia was crowned Pope Alexander VI.
Rodrigo's son, Cesare Borgia, further conquered several other regions of Italy in his role as Captain General of the Papal Armies. However, due to the subsequent actions of the Assassins, coupled with Rodrigo's death at the hands of his son, the Templars' influence in Rome and Italy reduced. The succeeding Popes, Pius III and Julius II, did not favor Cesare, and the Templars' influence in Italy collapsed, while the Assassins maintained a strong presence in the country.
By the early 21st Century the Templars had returned to prominence in the country, thanks mainly to the establishment of an Abstergo Industries laboratory in Rome. In 2012, a team of Assassins consisting of Desmond Miles, Lucy Stillman, Shaun Hastings, and Rebecca Crane traveled through the country in the weeks after Desmond escaped from the Roman facility.