Italy's geographical position, strongly situated in the Mediterranean, made it a very powerful nation throughout the Middle Ages. Although the Visigoths under King Alaric sacked Rome in 410 a.d. and destroyed most of the Western Roman Empire, Italy was far from vanquished; its rise continuing through religion and trade.
The following centuries saw the development of many Italian famous cities. By the year 811, Venice was founded by refugees. Even though Rome failed to reach the power it had during the Roman Empire, it continued to be a very important city supported by commerce.