Under the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, much of Italy passed from Spanish to Austrian control. The Papal States, which had lost much of their power during the Reformation, retained independence, along with Venice. After defeating the Ottomans, Venice had fallen into economic stagnation. Naples joined Sicily in protesting against punitive taxes introduced by the Austrians and in 1735, after a series of wars, both Naples and Sicily were relieved to be back under Spanish rule. Sicily was a trading partner of the Spanish and, under Spanish control, enjoyed autonomy. Naples, however, had a less agreeable relationship with Spain; there was resentment that its problems of overcrowding, crime and poverty were not being addressed. The House of Savoy also emerged as a regional power, taking control of Sardinia and Piedmont in 1729. In 1748, the duchies of Parma and Modena were returned to Spain after the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–48).
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