The Arabs, specifically, the Moors, had a significant impact on the Northern Italian Renaissance alongside the Greco-Byzantines-(as I had discussed in a previous posting).
During my pre-collegiate years, when I was taught about the Middle Ages, specifically, "The Dark Ages"-(476 AD/CE-1050 AD/CE), I was taught that continental Europe, more specifically, lands and countries to the NORTH AND WEST of Rome, were intellectually stagnant and primitive.....essentially, a "Dark Age", bereft of creative light ingenuity and sophistication. (The phrase, "Dark Ages", was actually coined by the Northern Italian Renaissance Poet Petrarch).
Even though this was widely considered to be an accurate description of Northern and Western Europe 1000-1500 years ago, it was, as you can see, geographically and demographically limited in its description. It failed to contrast the so-called "Dark Ages" of Northern and Western Europe with the culturally advanced civilizations of Southern Europe........specifically, the Greco-Byzantine Christian civilization based in Constantinople-(present-day Istanbul), as well as greater Byzantine Greece and in particular, Muslim Spain, specifically, the cities of Toledo and Cordoba-(The Capital of the Medieval Iberian Caliphate).
The Islamic world during the Middle Ages had thriving intellectual and academic cities, such as Cairo, Baghdad-(yes.......the same beleaguered city you hear about in the news), Bukhara, Fez, Toledo and Cordoba. Its intellectual and academic influence was multi-continental and lasted throughout much of the Middle Ages-(including the so-called, "Dark Ages"). Arguably, the most advanced centers of Islamic arts, letters, sciences and Classical scholarship, were the Castilian city of Toledo and particularly, the Andalusian city of Cordoba.
The city of Cordoba, like its Medieval counterpart, Constantinople, was a massive Metropolis with hundreds of thousands of residents-(including, Jewish and Christian residents.......though admittedly, with less religious and legal equality). The city was a major urban Capital with great wealth; it had a Palace, splendid buildings, its famed Mezquitta/Mosque, a Library, as well as a University.......(and that's just a limited description). Though it was the vibrant intellectual life of the city which made it distinguishable from the rest of continental Europe-(Constantinople, as well as Charlemagne's capital Aachen in Northwest Germany, being the exceptions). Ancient Greek scientific, medical, mathematical and especially, philosophical/metaphysical works, were translated into Arabic-(with great assistance from Jewish Translators and Scribes). The writings of Plato, Aristotle-(in particular), Euclid, Archimedes, Hippocrates-(just to name a few), were translated into Arabic throughout Medieval Muslim Spain, though its Epicenter, was Cordoba and its most learned resident, was Ibn-Rushd/Averroes.
Although Aristotle's writings were well preserved and commented on by the Greco-Byzantines, it was actually Averroes who rejuvenated the centuries old Greek Philosopher......so much so, that the study of Averroes' Aristotelian commentaries and writings would later be described by the West as, "Averroeism".
The writings of Averroes, as well as the sizable collection of Arabic translations of Ancient Greek texts from Medieval Muslim Spain, would actually have a profound impact on The European Late Middle Ages-(1050 AD/CE-1400 AD/CE), which of course precedes, the Northern Italian Renaissance. These Ancient Greek "classics", were translated into Latin from either Medieval Byzantine Greek copies from Constantinople or from Medieval Muslim Arabic copies from Toledo and particularly, Cordoba.
Galileo-(the Great intellectual Titan of the Northern Italian Renaissance), studied Italian-(and possibly Latin) copies of Aristotle, Archimedes, as well as the Ancient Greco-Alexandrian Scientists and Mathematicians. However, there is a very good chance, that those Italian-(and/or Latin) copies may have been Medieval Greek or in all likelihood, Arabic translations from Toledo or Cordoba.
Galileo's school, The University of Padua in the Veneto-(Northeast Italy), had, during his time, the most prestigious Medical School in Europe-(and perhaps the world). The process of Surgery and dissection were taught at The University of Padua; though such a supposedly novel process and approach was directly influenced and preceded by the earlier writings of various Medieval Arab Physicians. Galileo's famed telescope could not have existed without the early pioneering work of Medieval Arab Opticians and their research into the anatomy of the eye, as well as the Science of Lens crafting.
The early Modern Universities and Libraries of Europe-(which include, The University of Padua), were certainly influenced by the older Medieval European Universities. However, the Medieval European Universities and Libraries were preceded by the earlier Medieval Universities and Libraries of Constantinople, Cordoba and Fez-(which exists to this day).
One can find examples of Medieval Arab Andalusian architectural influence in some of the public buildings, stucco and pastel designs, narrowly paved lanes and yes even some religious buildings throughout Tuscany and the Veneto-(the Epicenters of the Northern Italian Renaissance). Of course many of these above mentioned examples were deeply rooted in Roman civil architecture and engineering. However, it was the Muslim Moors who, (along with the Greco-Byzantines from Constantinople), picked up where the Romans ended and in turn, helped to shape the memorable and long lasting brilliance, ingenuity and aesthetic beauty..........of The Northern Italian Renaissance.