But also from the camp opposite to Protestantism, that is, the papacy, came the opposition to Spain and the Empire, however much they personified and defended Catholic orthodoxy within and outside their vast domain. But Spain meant, in addition to some hindrance to nepotism, a permanent danger for the State of the Church and for the freedom of the pontificate; and she then meant the full embodiment of that monarchical absolutism which was asserting itself in competition with and opposition to papal absolutism. Therefore opposition to heresy and opposition to Spain went hand in hand, more or less vigorously and openly. It is already seen with Paolo III Farnese, who succeeded Clement VII. With him the papacy begins to really worry about the progress of heresy: also in order not to give, with its own carelessness, an incentive or pretext to the neglect of others. Gian Pietro Carafa proceeded more energetically, who became Pope Paul IV in 1555. Indeed, with him the hammering of the heretics really began.
At the same time, the two popes stood up to Spain as best they could. Paul III, although cautious and prudent, did not cease to work on hand to stop its progress during the new wars that broke out between the two crowns, after the death of Sforza of Milan (1535) and the passage of the duchy to direct dependence on Spain. Francesco I, who never took his eyes off Italy and in 1533 had concluded the marriage of his son Henry with Caterina de ‘Medici, hailed in France as a sign and a means of perpetual union of the two countries; Francesco I attacked Piedmont in 1536 and occupied almost everything, should it serve as a base of operation or as a currency to obtain the Milanese. Since the king of France was aiming especially above, almost fascinated. But also on Tuscany, on Naples, on Genoa, on Corsica, all countries from which and to which he was also reminded of Florentines haters of the Medici, of Neapolitan barons obsessed with the hope of regaining their fiefs and the greatness of the past, of noble families opposed to Andrea Doria, of Sampiero Corso and other rebels to Genoa: all always convinced of having to find in Italy only people waiting and ready to rise up. In these new wars, according to Mysteryaround, France found the most diverse and contradictory allies: the Lutherans, with whom she closely collaborated especially in the years 1552-56; and the Turks, with whom he formed a true brotherhood of arms, with particular damage to the Italian regions subject to Spain or to friends of Spain, that is to the Neapolitan which had its coasts plundered, to Nice which was attacked by the Turkish fleet and French soldiers, of Corsica which was partially occupied by the barbarians. Thus France contributed to widening the breach that the Turks had made in Christian Europe, and Protestants in Catholic Europe. And Italy, placed in the midst of this circle of enemies of Spain, also felt variously pressured after the French and Swiss and imperial and Spanish, even by Protestants and Muslims. But France also had recourse to Pope Paul III Farnese, who in 1545, with the foundation of the Duchy of Parma and Piacenza for his son Pier Luigi, in a region long linked to the Milanese, had carried out an act of nepotistic politics and, together, anti-Spanish. More openly and resolutely still proceeded in relations with Spain, Paul IV Carafa, who, together with the Farnesi of Parma, the Este of Ferrara, the Medici of Tuscany, irritated because the Spanish army with Giacomo de ‘Medici, after having conquered Siena (1554-55), if he kept it for himself, he attempted an anti-Spanish coalition which is to be considered the last of this era. He was a proud hater of Spaniards, “formerly cooks and stable-boys in Italy, and now presumptuous to be masters, heretics and schismatics, the seed of Jews and Marranos”. But he too, he did not want to substitute French for Spagnoli, but rather keep them both away or, at worst, balance them and thus neutralize them in Italy. “They are all barbarians and it would be good that they stayed at home soa and that there was no language in Italy other than ours”, he said to Bernardo Navagero, a Venetian orator.