The Lombard kingdom had never been very centralized and usually became less so over time, especially since the Emperors usually spent most of their time outside of Italy.
However, Italian rulers sometimes underestimated the power of the Holy Roman Empire and came to regret it. During the War of the Spanish Succession of 1701 to 1714 French armies invaded and occupied northern Italy and many Italian rulers collaborated with them.
Then Austrian armies drove the French out of northern Italy and occupied it. Joseph I, emperor of the Romans, (reigned 1705-1711) collected millions of Florins in imperial war tax from northern Italy in 1708, more than from the states in the Kingdom of Germany except for his hereditary domains. Some Italian fiefs were confiscated from their owners for treason. Most famously, the Duchies of Montferrat and Mantua were confiscated from Duke Ferdinand Charles for his treason.