For what reasons did the Renaissance start in Italy and not some other state?
Italy was not one country but city states. These states were at war or competing for resources for hundreds of years after the fall of the Roman Empire. In order to survive you had to smart and adapt quickly to changing times. Italy was also a gate way into to Europe from the Mediterranean Sea. With many ports in Italy these lead new goods and new ideas.
Just want to expand on Paul’s points here, the renaissance occurred in Italy for a number of reasons. The first of these reasons was the dramatic increase in trade and commerce between the Italian city-states, particularly Florence, Milan, Venice, and Genoa and the Middle East. Due to this increase in commerce, many merchants became vastly wealthy due to their profits and endeavors. Due to this large amount of wealth arriving into the country, banks were used in order to provide loans and to store money for these wealthy merchants. Due to this rise in loans and the use of credit, merchants became even wealthier and began to build palaces and stately homes in order to flaunt their newfound wealth.
These merchants then paid artists, sculptors, and architects to design and decorate these buildings which made it possible for these professions to become a stable occupation for the first time in centuries. Furthermore, the increase in trade and interaction with other regions led to a rise in the transferal of ideas and practices from east to west along with new materials, such as new dyes and paints to the region. Furthermore, the invention of the printing press meant that it was far more easy and convenient for individuals to spread their ideas and beliefs through the use of pamphlets and leaflets which again led to the rise of humanism and an increase in the popularity of renaissance art styles.
Finally, during this period the Catholic Church became vastly wealthy due to the donations and contributions of this new merchant class and so they used these funds to pay artists, sculptors, and architects to build and design new cathedrals and churches such as St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican or the cathedrals of Florence, Venice, Milan, and Genoa.