When the exarchate was established, the town became part of it, and in 748 it was taken by Liutprand.
The struggle was accompanied by an armed outbreak in the exarchate of Ravenna (727), which Leo finally endeavoured to subdue by means of a large fleet.
At the end of the 6th century the exarchate included Istria; the maritime part of Venetia as distinct from the interior which was in the hands of the Lombard kings at Pavia; the exarchate proper, or territory around Ravenna on the eastern side of the Apennines, to which was added Calabria, which at that period meant the heel and not the toe of the boot; the Pentapolis, or coast from Rimini to Ancona with the interior as far as the mountains; the duchy of Rome, or belt of territory connecting the Pentapolis with the western coast, the coast of Naples, w i th Bruttium the toe of the boot, the modern Calabria, and Liguria, or the Riviera of Genoa.
He concluded a concordat with Rudolph of Habsburg in May 1278, by which the Romagna and the exarchate of Ravenna were guaranteed to the pope; and in July he issued an epochmaking constitution for the government of Rome, which forbade foreigners taking civil office.
The Orthodox Church has metropolitans at Prizren, Durazzo, Berat, Iannina and Kortcha; the Bulgarian exarchate maintains a bishop at Dibra.
About 740 it consisted of Istria, Venetia (the maritime portion of which was ceasing to be a province and was becoming a protected state, the forerunner of the future republic of Venice), Ferrara, Ravenna (the exarchate in the limited sense), Pentapolis, Perusia, Rome, the coast of Naples and Calabria (in the sense of the toe and not the heel of the boot) which was being overrun by the Lombards of the duchy of Beneventum, which with Spoletum held the interior.
We may note that, owing to the growth of the temporal power of the popes, there was never a dux Romae dependent on the exarchate of Ravenna, similar to those established by Narses in the other districts of Italy.
The superiority of the empire was a mechanical one, and during the two centuries or so that the exarchate lasted it lost ground.
In 542 Totila besieged it and compelled it to surrender, but being soon after recovered by Narses, it remained long a dependency of the exarchate of Ravenna, under the immediate government of a duke, appointed by the East Roman emperors.
Qualified by letters of the papal chancery as liberator and defender of the Church, his armies twice (75.4 756) crossed the Alps, despite the opposition of the Frankish aristocracy, and forced Aistuif, king of the Lombards, to cede to him the exarchate of Ravenna and the Pentapolis.