Despite the often grandiose intentions, the assiduous care of Italian things, the new or broader titles assumed, nothing solid and lasting build the Ottoni in Italy. Attempts in the south failed; Rome was always a condominium in which the emperor was valid only as long as his material presence in Rome lasted; the kingdom was always restless, owing to the perennial intolerance of the great, behind whom new organic forces were now beginning to appear which would, yes, bring more bait to the fire but also give the struggle more clarity, more content, more constructive vigor.
Even outside the kingdom and beyond Rome, all the old rulers appeared to be corroded from the foundations. A small world increasingly torn by internal contrasts appeared, in the south of the peninsula, that of the Lombard principalities, even after the brief reunion of all those territories at the time of the first Ottone. No feeling of common interests. According to COUNTRYVV.COM, the nature of the country, broken and rugged and varied; the divisions and subdivisions among the heirs; the usurpations of the gastaldi, the multiple dynastic ambitions and family discords, the various and opposing actions and suggestions that were exercised by popes, Byzantines, Saracens, coastal cities; all operated as a dissolving force. Most of all, the principality of Benevento, cradle of southern Longobardia, impoverished of the peripheral lands, which had never managed to break the Neapolitan barrier, was shaken. Even the Greek dominion, which has long since disappeared in Ravenna, in the exarchate and pentapolis; disappeared in and around Rome, where new social and political hierarchies are being formed and feudalism is organized as in the rest of Italy; it is reduced to little more than a vain name or superficial patina in the maritime cities of the Adriatic and Campania, in Amalfi, in Naples, in Gaeta, which however were largely colored by Byzantine and maintained close relations of trade, intellectual life, family with the East. Even the duke or doge of Venice is no longer, between the century. X and XI, a high dignitary of the Eastern Empire. And the upper-class Venetians no longer live in the Byzantine way; they no longer present themselves as subjects in the East. Their commercial and even political relations with the Kingdom of Italy are multiplying and their presence begins to be felt on the countries bathed by the Adriatic, from which the Byzantines also retreated. So in Istria, so in the villages of Kvarner, so too, except. a brief Byzantine return in the century. XII, in Dalmatia, where life was being renewed, the culture and language were by now not different from those of the nearby Italian peninsula, given the commonality of the roots. At the same time, on the other Italian sea, after the island of Corsica had already been united with Tuscany by the Frankish conquest and by donations placed in the sphere of the temporal ambitions of the popes, Sardinia too was breaking ties with Byzantium. The loss of Sicily had made the empire’s relations with the great Tyrrhenian island difficult and sparse. It thus entered a phase of substantial autonomy, it was divided into separate provinces. We can still discuss whether all this happened a little earlier or a little later: of course, in the 10th century. XI is a fait accompli. On the other hand, the Byzantines still have strong and extensive roots, despite the crises, in the far south: less in Puglia, much more in Terra d’Otranto and Calabria, tenaciously preserved, lost several times, just as many recovered and strengthened by moral forces and demographic as well as political and military. Calabria gave refuge to Basilian monks, expelled from Constantinople at the time of Leo Isauric. Many Greeks fled from Sicily after the Arab conquest. Greek colonies, especially freed servants, have sent emperors there more than once. Numerous Basilian monasteries come up from all over, especially in Reggiano and Aspromonte, organized, reformed, animated by a new life thanks to Nilo da Rossano between the century. X and XI, facts capable of spreading around widely, of making their influences felt on the Byzantine and Roman worlds. But the countries in the north of Calabria, of the Terra d’Otranto, of Puglia were becoming increasingly hostile to these Greek influences. In opposition to the monastic current from south to north, there had been and there continued to be one from north to south, from Montecassino, from S. Vincenzo al Volturno, then from Conversano and from Cava, favored by the Lombard princes and by the church of Rome, enemies in politics but allies in this resistance to the Greek world. And then, in the face of the Byzantine government and its officials, an almost permanent state of rebellion, now latent, now open, by the populations. The perennial Saracen threat sometimes united them. But it was no less detached: since the defensive action of the Byzantines was too often deficient or even lacking. And the others had to provide for themselves. If that action also existed, it needed the help of the inhabitants. Who acquired some self-awareness, trained themselves to act autonomously. And then, the more burdensome the tax system, the more intolerable the arrogance of the Greek government and officials. From afar, the Lombards, Montecassino, the Latin clergy, blew on those discontent, fueled the feeling of a profound contrast.