16th century spanish domination
Under Spanish domination the Italian states enjoyed a period of relative internal peace, in part because they directed their energies primarily against the threat of Ottoman invasion. This victory brought Ottoman expansion to an end in the eastern Mediterranean, but not in the Balkans. The Counter Reformation brought about reforms in the institutions and doctrine of the Catholic Church and reasserted the spiritual power of the church. Baroque religious architecture, which reached its peak in Italy during the 16th and 17th centuries, celebrated the glory of the church. The Counter Reformation war on heresy brought to an end the artistic freedoms of earlier times.