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Rein in Northern Italy
The player can avoid accumulating [[Aggressive Expansion]] by handing off {{flag|Venice}}'s Treviso, Friuli, and Verona (as well as optionally return {{flag|Milan}}'s core Brescia) to {{flag|Milan}} and {{flag|Urbino}}'s Urbino, and {{flag|The Papal State}}'s Ancona, Romagna and Umbria to either (or both) {{flag|Ferrara}} or (and) {{flag|Florence}}. Rome can then be claimed through the [[File:Ab transfer vassal wargoal.png]] Transfer Subject age ability that allows the player to make claims bordering claims. But taking Rome without owning Umbria needs additional coring range, for example from diplomatic technology 7 or another province which is closer than Austria's starting province of Görz.
Releasing {{flag|Aquileia}} from {{flag|Venice}} and {{flag|Urbino}} from {{flag|The Papal State}} and diplo-vasallizing them plus the return of HRE core Brescia to {{flag|Milan}} are actions which do not generate any [[Aggressive Expansion]] for the player. With a lot of luck separatist rebels can spawn and create cores - Ferrarese in Romagna and Urbinese in Umbria and Ancona. Return of core to HRE member is then AE free and reconquest of vassal's cores generate much less of AE then claim-based conquest.
Ultimately, preventing [[the Shadow Kingdom]] event means more Imperial Authority through more princes in the Empire, but it also means more wars to keep minor states in line, and potentially more princes to fall victim to the Reformation spread. Careful management will be needed to ensure that Austria can keep the Italian princes in line with the rest of the Empire. However, it may not be up to you or your ability to keep the Italian Princes in line. If the Burgundian Succession AND Hungary's Automatic Personal Union doesn't fire, the effort to Reign in Italy will allow the Reformation to run rampant in the HRE and will destroy whatever imperial authority you managed to save in Italy.

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