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In archaic times, ancient Greeks,
settlements in the south, the centre and the north of Italy
respectively, while various Italian tribes and Italic peoples
Italian peninsula and insular Italy. The Italic tribe
Latins formed the city of
Rome as a Kingdom, which eventually
became a Republic that united
Italy by the third century BC and
emerged as the dominant power of
Europe and the
Mediterranean Sea as a
consequence of the military victories of generals such as Scipio,
Aemilius Paullus, Scipio Aemilianus, Gaius Marius, Lucius Sulla,
Pompey and Julius Caesar.
In 27 BC,
Augustus established the
Roman Empire and inaugurated the
Pax Romana, a period of stability and relative peace in which Italy
flourished as the leading cultural, political and economic centre of
the known world. The death of the last of the good emperors,
Marcus Aurelius, and the crisis of the third century marked the
beginning of the decline of Rome. The Empire went through major
changes in the following centuries, including the division between a
Western and an Eastern half in 284 under
Diocletian and the end of the
persecutions of Christians with the
Edict of Milan
Edict of Milan of 313 under
Constantine. The Bishop of
Rome was granted religious primacy
Edict of Thessalonica in 380 and the West collapsed amid
barbarian invasions in 476, when
Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus.
During the early middle ages, the
Italian peninsula was conquered by
the Goths, the Byzantines and the Lombards, until
Pope Leo III crowned
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor the day of Christmas of the year 800 in
Rome. The Roman Pontiff and the German Emperor became the universal
Italy and Europe, but soon entered in conflict for the
investiture controversy and the clash between their factions: the
Guelphs and Ghibellines. The struggle for power between the Papacy and
the Empire led to the decline of Imperial influence in Italy,
especially after the
Humiliation of Canossa
Humiliation of Canossa of
Emperor Henry IV
Emperor Henry IV and
the victory of Italian forces over
Friedrich Barbarossa in the Battle
of Legnano: by the 12th century
Italy was organized in independent
The crusades launched by
Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II and his successors proved to be
successful for the maritime republics:
Italy first experienced the
Commercial Revolution, which caused the European economy to shift from
agriculture to trade.
Northern Italy saw the birth of banking and the
appearance of the first universities of the west.
Venice entered in
control of the mediterranean trade routes and consolidated a maritime
empire after the
Sack of Constantinople (1204)
Sack of Constantinople (1204) and the
Venetian-Genoese wars. The
Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily also experienced a
political and economic golden age after his King Frederick II obtained
the German crown and became King of Jerusalem during the Sixth
Crusade. These socio-economic factors paved the way for the beginning
Renaissance in Florence, Tuscany, in the 14th century.
Renaissance humanism, art, science and exploration marked the
transition to the modern era and notable figures such as Leonardo,
Dante, Marco Polo, Machiavelli, Michelangelo, Giotto, Columbus,
Amerigo Vespucci, and
Galileo made important contributions in their
fields between the
Trecento and the Seicento. The period was also
characterised by the activities of the condottieri in the Italian
Renaissance Wars (1494-1559), a long conflict that broke the peace
between the city-states and left them exhausted and prey to foreign
invasions. The peace of Cateau-Cambresis established
Habsburg Spain as
the ruler of the
South of Italy
South of Italy and Milan, while the Duchy of Florence
Venetian Republic remained independent.
Meanwhile, the Papacy reached its zenith of political power by
reacting to protestantism with the Catholic Reformation, a movement
that resulted in: the Council of Trent, the activities of the Roman
Inquisition, the adoption of the
Gregorian Calendar and the formation
of Holy Leagues to prevent Ottoman expansion in the West. However, the
end of the
Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War in 1648 and the birth of Westphalian
sovereignty diminished Roman Catholic influence in
Europe and led to
the consolidation of large states, while
Italy was fragmented and
divided. The 17th and 18th centuries were a period of decline in much
of Italy, except for the cultural impact of
Baroque and Neoclassicism.
Following a series of wars of succession in Europe,
Lombardy went to
Habsburg Austria, who later acquired also Tuscany and Venice, and the
South passed to the Spanish Bourbons.
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna in 1815, the
emerged to unite
Italy and liberate it from foreign control. After the
unsuccessful attempt of 1848, the
Italian Wars of Independence against
Austria in the North, the
Expedition of the Thousand
Expedition of the Thousand against the
Spanish Bourbons in the South, and the capture of
Rome in 1870,
resulted in the formation of the nation-state. Giuseppe Mazzini,
Giuseppe Garibaldi, King
Victor Emmanuel II
Victor Emmanuel II and Prime Minister Camillo
Cavour became known as the four fathers of the fatherland. The
new Kingdom of Italy obtained
Great Power status, acquired a
colonial Empire and rapidly industrialised, although mainly in the
north, while the south remained largely impoverished
fuelling a large and influential diaspora.
In World War I,
Italy joined the Entente with France and Britain,
despite having been a member of the Triple Alliance with
Austria-Hungary, and gave a fundamental contribution to the victory of
the conflict as one of the so-called Big Four.
Italy completed the
unification by acquiring
Trento and Trieste, and gained a permanent
seat in the League of Nations's executive council. Nevertheless,
Italian nationalists considered
World War I
World War I a mutilated victory and
that sentiment led to the rise of the fascist dictatorship of Benito
Mussolini in 1922. The subsequent participation in
World War II
World War II on the
Germany and Japan ended in military defeat and an Italian
civil war. Following the liberation of Italy, the country
abolished the monarchy with a referendum, reinstated democracy,
enjoyed an economic miracle, and founded the European Union,
Group of Six
Group of Six (later G8 and G20).
1.1 Nuragic civilization
2 Iron Age
2.1 Etruscan civilization
2.2 Magna Graecia
3 Roman period
3.1 Roman Kingdom
3.2 Roman Republic
3.3 Roman Empire
4 Middle Ages
5.1 Literature, philosophy and science
5.2 Architecture, sculpture and painting
5.3 Incessant warfare
5.4 The Italian Wars
6 Early Modern
Italy (1559 to 1814)
6.1 The 17th century
6.2 The 18th century
6.3 The Age of Napoleon
7 Unification (1814 to 1861)
7.1 Southern Question
Italy in World War I
9 Fascist Italy,
World War II
World War II and Civil War (1922 to 1946)
9.1 Rise of Fascism into power
9.3 Foreign politics
World War II
World War II and the fall of Fascism
9.5 Civil War, Allied advance and Liberation
10 Italian Republic (1946 to present)
10.1 Birth of the Republic
Marshall Plan aid from the United States
10.2 The economic miracle
10.3 The Years of Lead
10.5 The Second Republic (1992–present)
11 See also
14 Further reading
14.2 Geography and environment
14.6 Early modern
14.8 Since 1860
15 External links
Main article: prehistoric Italy
Matera, which dates from
Palaeolithic 10th millennium BCE, (region of
Mesolithic petroglyph in Valcamonica, Lombardy. The largest collection
of prehistoric petroglyphs in the world (10th millennium BCE).
In prehistoric times, the
Italian peninsula was rather different from
its current shape. During the last Ice Age, the islands of
Sicily were connected to the mainland. The
Adriatic Sea was far
smaller, since it started at what is now the
Gargano peninsula, and
what is now the bay of
Venice was a fertile plain with a humid
The arrival of the first hominins was 850,000 years ago at Monte
Poggiolo. The presence of the
Homo neanderthalensis has been
demonstrated in archaeological findings near
Verona dating to
c. 50,000 years ago (late Pleistocene).
Homo sapiens sapiens
Homo sapiens sapiens appeared
during the upper Palaeolithic: in November 2011 tests conducted at the
Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit in England on what were previously
thought to be Neanderthal baby teeth, which had been unearthed in 1964
dating from between 43,000 and 45,000 years ago. Remains of the
later prehistoric age have been found in Liguria,
carvings in Valcamonica) and in
Sardinia (nuraghe). The most famous is
perhaps that of
Ötzi the Iceman, the mummy of a mountain hunter found
Similaun glacier in South Tyrol, dating to c. 3000 BCE (Copper
Monte d'Accoddi is an archaeological site in northern
Sardinia, Italy, located in the territory of
Sassari near Porto
Torres. 4th millennium BCE.
Ötzi the oldest mummy in the world discovered in the southern Alps
(region of Trentino-Alto Adige) with extremely sophisticated equipment
to that time. 4th millennium BCE.
During the Copper Age, Indoeuropean people migrated to Italy.
Approximatively four waves of population from north to the
been identified. A first Indoeuropean migration occurred around the
mid-3rd millennium BCE, from population who imported copper smithing.
Remedello culture took over the Po Valley. A second wave of
immigration occurred in the Bronze Age, from the late 3rd to the early
2nd millennium BCE, with tribes identified with the
Beaker culture and
by the use of bronze smithing, in the Padan Plain, in Tuscany and on
the coasts of
Sardinia and Sicily.
In the mid-2nd millennium BCE, a third wave arrived, associated with
the Apenninian civilization and the
Terramare culture which takes its
name from the black earth (terremare) residue of settlement mounds,
which have long served the fertilizing needs of local farmers. The
occupations of the Terramare people as compared with their Neolithic
predecessors may be inferred with comparative certainty. They were
still hunters, but had domesticated animals; they were fairly skillful
metallurgists, casting bronze in moulds of stone and clay, and they
were also agriculturists, cultivating beans, the vine, wheat and flax.
In the late Bronze Age, from the late 2nd millennium to the early 1st
millennium BCE, a fourth wave, the Proto-Villanovan culture, related
to the Central European Urnfield culture, brought iron-working to the
Italian peninsula. Proto-villanovans practiced cremation and buried
the ashes of their dead in pottery urns of distinctive double-cone
shape. Generally speaking, Proto-Villanovan settlements were centered
in the northern-central part of the peninsula. Further south, in
Campania, a region where inhumation was the general practice,
Proto-villanovan cremation burials have been identified at Capua, at
the "princely tombs" of Pontecagnano near Salerno (finds conserved in
the Museum of Agro Picentino) and at Sala Consilina.
Main article: Nuragic civilization
Su Nuraxi nuraghe, Sardinia, Italy, 2nd millennium BCE.
Giants of Mont'e Prama, Sardinia, Italy, early 1st millennium BCE.
Sardinia and southern Corsica, the nuraghe civilization
lasted from the early
Bronze Age (18th century BCE) to the 2nd century
CE, when the islands were already Romanized. They take their name from
the characteristic nuragic towers, which evolved from the pre-existing
megalithic culture, which built dolmens and menhirs. The nuraghe
towers are unanimously considered the best preserved and largest
megalithic remains in Europe. Their effective use is still debated:
some scholars considered them as fortresses, others as temples.
A warrior and mariner people, the ancient Sardinians held flourishing
trades with the other
Mediterranean peoples. This is shown by numerous
remains contained in the nuraghe, such as amber coming from the Baltic
Sea, small bronzes portraying African apes and animals, Oxhide ingots
and weapons from Eastern Mediterranean, Mycenaean ceramics. It has
been hypothesized that the ancient Sardinians, or part of them, could
be identified with one of the so-called
Peoples of the Sea
Peoples of the Sea (in
particular, the Sherden) who attacked ancient Egypt and other regions
of eastern Mediterranean.
Other original elements of the Sardinian civilization include the
temples known as "Sacred Pits", perhaps dedicated to the holy water
related to the Moon and astronomical cycles, the Giants' graves, the
Megaron temples, several structures for juridical and leisure
functions, and some refined statuettes. Some of them have been
discovered in Etruscan tombs, suggesting a strong relationship between
the two peoples.
Main article: Iron Age Italy
Italy gradually enters the proto-historical period in the 8th century
BCE, with the introduction of the
Phoenician script and its adaptation
in various regional variants.
The name Italia was in origin applied only to a portion of what is now
Calabria, possibly from an Oscan name Víteliú, interpreted as
"[land] of young cattle". It was not applied to the entire peninsula
(now under Roman rule) until the 1st century BCE.
Main article: Etruscan civilization
Map of Etruscan civilisation.
Etruscan fresco, 5th century BCE.
Etruscan civilization flourished in central
Italy after 800 BCE.
The origins of the
Etruscans are lost in prehistory. The main
hypotheses are that they are indigenous, probably stemming from the
Villanovan culture, or that they are the result of invasion from the
north or the Near East. A more recent study has suggested a Near
Eastern origin. The researchers conclude that their data, taken
from the modern Tuscan population, 'support the scenario of a
post-Neolithic genetic input from the
Near East to the present-day
population of Tuscany’. In the absence of any dating evidence there
is however no direct link between this genetic input and the
Etruscans. By contrast, a mitochondrial DNA study of 2013 has
suggested that the
Etruscans were probably an indigenous population.
Among ancient populations, ancient
Etruscans are found to be closest
to a Neolithic population from Central Europe.
It is widely accepted that
Etruscans spoke a non-Indo-European
language. Some inscriptions in a similar language have been found on
the Aegean island of Lemnos.
Etruscans were a monogamous society that
emphasized pairing. The historical
Etruscans had achieved a form of
state with remnants of chiefdom and tribal forms. The Etruscan
religion was an immanent polytheism, in which all visible phenomena
were considered to be a manifestation of divine power, and deities
continually acted in the world of men and could, by human action or
inaction, be dissuaded against or persuaded in favor of human affairs.
Necropolis of Banditaccia located in
Cerveteri in Lazio.
Etruscan pendant with swastika symbols, Bolsena, Italy, 700–650 BCE.
Etruscan expansion was focused across the Apennines. Some small towns
in the 6th century BCE have disappeared during this time, ostensibly
consumed by greater, more powerful neighbors. However, there exists no
doubt that the political structure of the Etruscan culture was
similar, albeit more aristocratic, to
Magna Graecia in the south. The
mining and commerce of metal, especially copper and iron, led to an
enrichment of the
Etruscans and to the expansion of their influence in
Italian peninsula and the western
Mediterranean sea. Here their
interests collided with those of the Greeks, especially in the 6th
century BCE, when
Italy founded colonies along the coast
of France, Catalonia and Corsica. This led the
Etruscans to ally
themselves with the Carthaginians, whose interests also collided with
Around 540 BCE, the
Battle of Alalia
Battle of Alalia led to a new distribution of
power in the western
Mediterranean Sea. Though the battle had no clear
Carthage managed to expand its sphere of influence at the
expense of the Greeks, and
Etruria saw itself relegated to the
Tyrrhenian Sea with full ownership of Corsica. From the first
half of the 5th century, the new international political situation
meant the beginning of the Etruscan decline after losing their
southern provinces. In 480 BCE, Etruria's ally
Carthage was defeated
by a coalition of
Magna Graecia cities led by Syracuse.
A few years later, in 474, Syracuse's tyrant Hiero defeated the
Etruscans at the Battle of Cumae. Etruria's influence over the cities
Campania weakened, and it was taken over by Romans and
Samnites. In the 4th century,
Etruria saw a Gallic invasion end its
influence over the Po valley and the Adriatic coast. Meanwhile, Rome
had started annexing Etruscan cities. This led to the loss of their
Etruscia was assimilated by
Rome around 500
Main article: Magna Graecia
Greek temple of Hera, Selinunte, Sicily.
Ancient Greek colonies and their dialect groupings in Southern
Fresco of dancing Peucetian women in the
Tomb of the Dancers
Tomb of the Dancers in Ruvo
di Puglia, 4th–5th century BCE
In the eighth and seventh centuries BCE, for various reasons,
including demographic crisis (famine, overcrowding, etc.), the search
for new commercial outlets and ports, and expulsion from their
Greeks began to settle in
Southern Italy (Cerchiai,
pp. 14–18). Also during this period, Greek colonies were
established in places as widely separated as the eastern coast of the
Black Sea, Eastern
Libya and Massalia (Marseille). They included
Sicily and the southern part of the Italian peninsula.
The Romans called the area of
Sicily and the foot of
Graecia (Latin, “Great Greece”), since it was so densely inhabited
by the Greeks. The ancient geographers differed on whether the term
Sicily or merely
Strabo being the
most prominent advocate of the wider definitions.
With this colonization,
Greek culture was exported to Italy, in its
dialects of the Ancient Greek language, its religious rites and its
traditions of the independent polis. An original Hellenic civilization
soon developed, later interacting with the native Italic and Latin
civilisations. The most important cultural transplant was the
Chalcidean/Cumaean variety of the Greek alphabet, which was adopted by
the Etruscans; the
Old Italic alphabet
Old Italic alphabet subsequently evolved into the
Latin alphabet, which became the most widely used alphabet in the
Many of the new Hellenic cities became very rich and powerful, like
Neapolis (Νεάπολις, Naples, "New City"), Syracuse, Acragas,
Sybaris (Σύβαρις). Other cities in
Magna Graecia included
Tarentum (Τάρας), Epizephyrian
Ἐπιζεφύριοι), Rhegium (Ῥήγιον), Croton
Thurii (Θούριοι), Elea (Ἐλέα), Nola
Ancona (Ἀγκών), Syessa (Σύεσσα), Bari
(Βάριον), and others.
Pyrrhus of Epirus
Pyrrhus of Epirus failed in his attempt to stop the spread of
Roman hegemony in 282 BCE, the south fell under Roman domination and
remained in such a position well into the barbarian invasions (the
Gladiator War is a notable suspension of imperial control). It was
held by the
Byzantine Empire after the fall of
Rome in the West and
Lombards failed to consolidate it, though the centre of the
south was theirs from Zotto's conquest in the final quarter of the 6th
Main article: Ancient Rome
Main articles: Founding of
Rome and Roman Kingdom
According to legend,
Rome was founded in 753 BCE by Romulus and Remus,
who were raised by a she-wolf.
Founding of Rome, 8th century BCE.
Little is certain about the history of the Roman Kingdom, as nearly no
written records from that time survive, and the histories about it
that were written during the Republic and Empire are largely based on
legends. However, the history of the
Roman Kingdom began with the
city's founding, traditionally dated to 753 BCE with settlements
Palatine Hill along the river
Tiber in Central Italy, and
ended with the overthrow of the kings and the establishment of the
Republic in about 509 BCE.
The site of
Rome had a ford where the
Tiber could be crossed. The
Palatine Hill and hills surrounding it presented easily defensible
positions in the wide fertile plain surrounding them. All of these
features contributed to the success of the city.
The traditional account of Roman history, which has come down to us
through Livy, Plutarch, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, and others, is
that in Rome's first centuries it was ruled by a succession of seven
kings. The traditional chronology, as codified by Varro, allots 243
years for their reigns, an average of almost 35 years, which, since
the work of Barthold Georg Niebuhr, has been generally discounted by
modern scholarship. The
Gauls destroyed much of Rome's historical
records when they sacked the city after the
Battle of the Allia
Battle of the Allia in 390
BCE (Varronian, according to
Polybius the battle occurred in 387/6)
and what was left was eventually lost to time or theft. With no
contemporary records of the kingdom existing, all accounts of the
kings must be carefully questioned.
According to the founding myth of Rome, the city was founded on 21
April 753 BCE by twin brothers Romulus and Remus, who descended from
the Trojan prince Aeneas and who were grandsons of the
Numitor of Alba Longa.
Main article: Roman Republic
Further information: Roman conquest of Italy
The expansion of the notion of Italy.
The Roman Forum, the commercial, cultural, and political center of the
city and the Republic which housed the various offices and meeting
places of the government.
According to tradition and later writers such as Livy, the Roman
Republic was established around 509 BCE, when the last of the
seven kings of Rome, Tarquin the Proud, was deposed by Lucius Junius
Brutus, and a system based on annually elected magistrates and various
representative assemblies was established. A constitution set a
series of checks and balances, and a separation of powers. The most
important magistrates were the two consuls, who together exercised
executive authority as imperium, or military command. The consuls
had to work with the senate, which was initially an advisory council
of the ranking nobility, or patricians, but grew in size and
In the 4th century BCE the Republic came under attack by the Gauls,
who initially prevailed and sacked Rome. The Romans then took up arms
and drove the
Gauls back, led by Camillus. The Romans gradually
subdued the other peoples on the Italian peninsula, including the
Etruscans. The last threat to Roman hegemony in
Italy came when
Tarentum, a major Greek colony, enlisted the aid of Pyrrhus of Epirus
in 281 BCE, but this effort failed as well.
In the 3rd century BCE
Rome had to face a new and formidable opponent:
the powerful Phoenician city-state of Carthage. In the three Punic
Carthage was eventually destroyed and
Rome gained control over
Sicily and North Africa. After defeating the Macedonian and
Seleucid Empires in the 2nd century BCE, the Romans became the
dominant people of the
Mediterranean Sea. The conquest of the
Hellenistic kingdoms provoked a fusion between Roman and Greek
cultures and the Roman elite, once rural, became a luxurious and
cosmopolitan one. By this time
Rome was a consolidated empire – in
the military view – and had no major enemies.
Italy, 1st century BCE.
Death of Caesar by Vincenzo Camuccini, 1798.
In the mid-1st century BCE, the Republic faced a period of political
crisis and social unrest. Into this turbulent scenario emerged the
figure of Julius Caesar. Caesar reconciled the two more powerful men
in Rome: Marcus Licinius Crassus, his sponsor, and Crassus' rival,
First Triumvirate ("three men"), had satisfied the
interests of these three men: Crassus, the richest man in Rome, became
Pompey exerted more influence in the Senate; and Caesar held
consulship and military command in Gaul.
In 53 BCE, the Triumvirate disintegrated at Crassus' death. Crassus
had acted as mediator between Caesar and Pompey, and, without him, the
two generals began to fight for power. After being victorious in the
Gallic Wars and earning respect and praise from the legions, Caesar
was a clear menace to Pompey, that tried to legally remove Caesar's
legions. To avoid this, Caesar crossed the Rubicon River and invaded
Rome in 49 BCE, rapidly defeating Pompey. With his sole preeminence
over Rome, Caesar gradually accumulated many offices, eventually being
granted a dictatorship for perpetuity. He was murdered in 44 BCE, in
Ides of March
Ides of March by the Liberatores.
Caesar's assassination caused political and social turmoil in Rome;
without the dictator's leadership, the city was ruled by his friend
and colleague, Mark Antony. Octavius (Caesar's adopted son), along
Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Caesar's best
friend, established the Second Triumvirate. Lepidus was forced to
retire in 36 BCE after betraying Octavian in Sicily. Antony settled in
Egypt with his lover, Cleopatra VII. Mark Antony's affair with
Cleopatra was seen as an act of treason, since she was queen of a
foreign power and Antony was adopting an extravagant and Hellenistic
lifestyle that was considered inappropriate for a Roman statesman.
Following Antony's Donations of Alexandria, which gave to Cleopatra
the title of "Queen of Kings", and to their children the regal titles
to the newly conquered Eastern territories, the war between Octavian
Mark Antony broke out. Octavian annihilated Egyptian forces in the
Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium in 31 BCE.
Mark Antony and Cleopatra committed
suicide, leaving Octavianus the sole ruler of the Republic.
Roman Empire and Roman Italy
Roman Empire at its greatest extent under
Trajan in CE 117.
Colosseum in Rome, built in the 1st century.
In 27 BCE, Octavian was the sole Roman leader. His leadership brought
the zenith of the Roman civilization, that lasted for four decades. In
that year, he took the name Augustus. That event is usually taken by
historians as the beginning of Roman Empire. Officially, the
government was republican, but
Augustus assumed absolute
powers. The Senate granted Octavian a unique grade of
Proconsular imperium, which gave him authority over all Proconsuls
The unruly provinces at the borders, where the vast majority of the
legions were stationed, were under the control of Augustus. These
provinces were classified as imperial provinces. The peaceful
senatorial provinces were under the control of the Senate. The Roman
legions, which had reached an unprecedented number (around 50) because
of the civil wars, were reduced to 28.
This mosaic depicts some of the
Gladiators entertainments that would
have been offered at the games.
Under Augustus's rule, Roman literature grew steadily in the Golden
Latin Literature. Poets like Vergil, Horace,
Ovid and Rufus
developed a rich literature, and were close friends of Augustus. Along
with Maecenas, he stimulated patriotic poems, as Vergil's epic Aeneid
and also historiographical works, like those of Livy. The works of
this literary age lasted through Roman times, and are classics.
Augustus also continued the shifts on the calendar promoted by Caesar,
and the month of August is named after him. Augustus' enlightened
rule resulted in a 200 years long peaceful and thriving era for the
Empire, known as Pax Romana.
Roman Empire in 3rd century.
Despite its military strength, the Empire made few efforts to expand
its already vast extent; the most notable being the conquest of
Britain, begun by emperor
Claudius (47), and emperor Trajan's conquest
of Dacia (101–102, 105–106). In the 1st and 2nd century, Roman
legions were also employed in intermittent warfare with the Germanic
tribes to the north and the
Parthian Empire to the east. Meanwhile,
armed insurrections (e.g. the Hebraic insurrection in Judea) (70) and
brief civil wars (e.g. in 68 CE the year of the four emperors)
demanded the legions' attention on several occasions.
After the death of Emperor
Theodosius I (395), the Empire was divided
into an Eastern and a Western Roman Empire. The Western part faced
increasing economic and political crisis and frequent barbarian
invasions, so the capital was moved from
Mediolanum to Ravenna. In
476, the last Western Empreror
Romulus Augustulus was deposed by
Odoacer; for a few years
Italy stayed united under the rule of
Odoacer, but soon after it was divided between several barbarian
kingdoms, and did not reunite under a single ruler until thirteen
Italy in the Middle Ages
Italian Lombard kingdom (781–1014).
Odoacer's rule came to an end when the Ostrogoths, under the
leadership of Theodoric, conquered Italy. This led to the Gothic War
against the armies of Byzantine Emperor Justinian, that devastated the
whole country with famine and epidemics, ultimately allowing another
Germanic tribe, the Lombards, to take control over vast regions of
Italy. In 751 the
Lombards seized Ravenna, ending the Byzantine
presence in central Italy. Facing a new Lombard offensive, the Papacy
appealed to the
Franks for aid.
The Frankish King
Chlothar II fighting the Lombards.
In 756 Frankish forces defeated the
Lombards and gave the Papacy legal
authority over much of central Italy, thus establishing the Papal
States. In 800,
Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman
Empire by the Pope in Saint Peter's Basilica. After the death of
Charlemagne (814), the new empire soon disintegrated under his weak
successors. There was a power vacuum in
Italy as a result of this.
This coincided with the rise of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, North
Africa and the Middle East. In the South, there were attacks from the
Umayyad Caliphate and the Abbasid Caliphate. In the North, there was a
rising power of communes. In 852, the Saracens took
Bari and founded
an emirate there. Islamic rule over
Sicily was effective from 902, and
the complete rule of the island lasted from 965 until 1061. The turn
of the millennium marked the end of the darkest period of Italian
history. In the 11th century, trade slowly recovered as the cities
started to grow again. The Papacy regained its authority, and
undertook a long struggle against the Holy Roman Empire.
The Investiture controversy, a conflict over two radically different
views of whether secular authorities such as kings, counts, or dukes,
had any legitimate role in appointments to ecclesiastical offices such
as bishoprics, was finally resolved by the
Concordat of Worms
Concordat of Worms in 1122,
although problems continued in many areas of
Europe until the end of
the medieval era. In the north, a
Lombard League of communes launched
a successful effort to win autonomy from the Holy Roman Empire,
Frederick Barbarossa at the
Battle of Legnano
Battle of Legnano in
1176. In the south, the
Normans occupied the Lombard and Byzantine
possessions, ending the six century old presence of both powers in the
The few independent city-states were also subdued. During the same
Normans also ended Muslim rule in Sicily. In 1130, Roger
Sicily began his rule of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. Roger II
was the first King of
Sicily and had succeeded in uniting all the
Norman conquests in
Southern Italy into one kingdom with a strong
centralized government. In 1155, Emperor
Manuel Komnenos attempted to
Southern Italy from the Normans, but the attempt failed and in
1158 the Byzantines left Italy. The Norman
Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily lasted
until 1194 when
Sicily was claimed by the German Hohenstaufen Dynasty.
Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily would last under various dynasties until the
Castel del Monte, built in 1240–50 by
Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick
Italy's Naval Jack, featuring the coats of arms of the four major
Maritime Republics. Clockwise from upper left: Venice, Genoa, Pisa,
Between the 12th and 13th centuries,
Italy developed a peculiar
political pattern, significantly different from feudal
Europe north of
the Alps. As no dominant powers emerged as they did in other parts of
Europe, the oligarchic city-state became the prevalent form of
government. Keeping both direct Church control and Imperial power at
arms length, the many independent city states prospered through
commerce, based on early capitalist principles ultimately creating the
conditions for the artistic and intellectual changes produced by the
Italian towns had appeared to have exited from Feudalism, so that
their society was based on merchants and commerce. Even northern
cities and states were also notable for their merchant republics,
especially the Republic of Venice. Compared to feudal and absolute
monarchies, the Italian independent communes and merchant republics
enjoyed relative political freedom that boosted scientific and
Thanks to their favorable position between East and West, Italian
cities such as
Venice became international trading and banking hubs
and intellectual crossroads. Milan,
Florence and Venice, as well as
several other Italian city-states, played a crucial innovative role in
financial development, devising the main instruments and practices of
banking and the emergence of new forms of social and economic
During the same period,
Italy saw the rise of numerous Maritime
Republics, the most notable being Venice, Genoa,
Pisa and Amalfi. From
the 10th to the 13th centuries these cities built fleets of ships both
for their own protection and to support extensive trade networks
across the Mediterranean, leading to an essential role in the
Genoa soon became Europe's main gateways to trade
with the East, establishing colonies as far as the
Black Sea and often
controlling most of the trade with the
Byzantine Empire and the
Mediterranean world. The county of
Savoy expanded its
territory into the peninsula in the late Middle Ages, while Florence
developed into a highly organized commercial and financial city-state,
becoming for many centuries the European capital of silk, wool,
banking and jewelry.
Main article: Italian Renaissance
Italy was the main center of the Renaissance, whose flourishing of the
arts, architecture, literature, science, historiography and political
theory influenced all of Europe.
By the late Middle Ages, central and southern Italy, once the
heartland of the
Roman Empire and
Magna Graecia respectively, was far
poorer than the north.
Rome was a city largely in ruins, and the Papal
States were a loosely administered region with little law and order.
Partly because of this, the Papacy had relocated to Avignon in France.
Naples, Sicily, and
Sardinia had for some time been under foreign
domination. The Italian trade routes that covered the Mediterranean
and beyond were major conduits of culture and knowledge. The
Italy expanded greatly during this period and grew in
power to become de facto fully independent of the Holy Roman Empire.
Vitruvian man by
Leonardo da Vinci, representing the ideal human
proportions as described by Roman architect Vitruvius, is a
quintessential masterpiece of the Renaissance.
Michelangelo's David, one of the symbols of Italian Renaissance.
Santa Maria del Fiore
Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence, which has the biggest
brick dome in the world, and is considered a masterpiece of
Italian architecture and world architecture.
Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, ca. 1468.
Black Death in 1348 inflicted a terrible blow to Italy, killing
perhaps one third of the population. The recovery from the
demographic and economic disaster led to a resurgence of cities, trade
and economy which greatly stimulated the successive phase of the
Renaissance (15th–16th centuries) when
returned to be the center of Western civilization, strongly
influencing the other European countries with Courts like Este in
De Medici in Florence.
Renaissance was so called because it was a "rebirth" not only of
economy and urbanization, but also of arts and science. It has been
argued that this cultural rebirth was fuelled by massive rediscoveries
of ancient texts that had been forgotten for centuries by Western
civilization, hidden in monastic libraries or in the Islamic world, as
well as the translations of Greek and Arabic texts into Latin. The
migration west into
Italy of intellectuals fleeing the crumbling
Roman Empire at this time also played a significant part.
Italian Renaissance began in Tuscany, centered in the city of
Florence. It then spread south, having an especially significant
impact on Rome, which was largely rebuilt by the
Italian Renaissance peaked in the late 15th century as foreign
invasions plunged the region into turmoil. The
first spread from
Florence to the neighbouring states of Tuscany such
Siena and Lucca. Tuscan architecture and painting soon became a
model for all the city-states of northern and central Italy, as the
Tuscan variety of
Italian language came to predominate throughout the
region, especially in literature.
Literature, philosophy and science
Renaissance literature usually begin with
known for the elegantly polished vernacular sonnet sequence of the
Canzoniere and for the craze for book collecting that he initiated)
and his friend and contemporary
Boccaccio (author of the Decameron).
Famous vernacular poets of the 15th century include the renaissance
Luigi Pulci (Morgante),
Matteo Maria Boiardo
Matteo Maria Boiardo (Orlando
Ludovico Ariosto (Orlando Furioso).
Renaissance scholars such as
Niccolò de' Niccoli
Niccolò de' Niccoli and Poggio
Bracciolini scoured the libraries in search of works by such classical
authors as Plato,
Cicero and Vitruvius. The works of ancient Greek and
Hellenistic writers (such as Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, and Ptolemy)
and Muslim scientists were imported into the Christian world,
providing new intellectual material for European scholars. 15th
century writers such as the poet
Poliziano and the Platonist
Marsilio Ficino made extensive translations from both
Latin and Greek. Other Greek scholars of the period were two monks
from the monastery of Seminara in Calabria. They were Barlaam of
Seminara and his disciple
Leonzio Pilato of Seminara. Barlaam was a
master in Greek and was the initial teacher to
Petrarch and Giovanni
Boccaccio of the language.
Leonzio Pilato made an almost word for word
translation of Homer's works into
Latin for Giovanni
In the early 16th century, Baldassare Castiglione with the Book of the
Courtier laid out his vision of the ideal gentleman and lady, while
Machiavelli in The Prince, laid down the foundation of modern
philosophy, especially modern political philosophy, in which the
effective truth is taken to be more important than any abstract ideal.
It was also in direct conflict with the dominant Catholic and
scholastic doctrines of the time concerning how to consider politics
Architecture, sculpture and painting
Italian Renaissance painting exercised a dominant influence on
subsequent European painting (see Western painting) for centuries
afterwards, with artists such as
Giotto di Bondone, Masaccio, Piero
della Francesca, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Michelangelo,
Leonardo da Vinci, and Titian.
The same is true for architecture, as practiced by Brunelleschi, Leone
Alberti, Andrea Palladio, and Bramante. Their works include Florence
St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, and the Tempio Malatestiano
in Rimini. Finally, the Aldine Press, founded by the printer Aldo
Manuzio, active in Venice, developed
Italic type and the small,
relatively portable and inexpensive printed book that could be carried
in one's pocket, as well as being the first to publish editions of
books in ancient Greek.
Yet cultural contributions notwithstanding, some present-day
historians also see the era as one of the beginning of economic
Italy (due to the opening up of the Atlantic trade
routes and repeated foreign invasions) and of little progress in
experimental science, which made its great leaps forward among
Protestant culture in the 17th century.
Italian states in 1494.
The Battle of San Romano
The Battle of San Romano by
Paolo Uccello (ca. 1438–40).
In the 14th century,
Northern Italy and upper
Central Italy were
divided into a number of warring city-states, the most powerful being
Milan, Florence, Pisa, Siena, Genoa, Ferrara, Mantua,
Venice. High Medieval
Northern Italy was further divided by the long
running battle for supremacy between the forces of the Papacy and of
the Holy Roman Empire. Each city aligned itself with one faction or
the other, yet was divided internally between the two warring parties,
Guelfs and Ghibellines.
Warfare between the states was common, invasion from outside Italy
confined to intermittent sorties of Holy Roman Emperors. Renaissance
politics developed from this background. Since the 13th century, as
armies became primarily composed of mercenaries, prosperous
city-states could field considerable forces, despite their low
populations. In the course of the 15th century, the most powerful
city-states annexed their smaller neighbors.
Padua and Verona, while the Duchy of Milan
annexed a number of nearby areas including
Pavia and Parma.
The first part of the
Renaissance saw almost constant warfare on land
and sea as the city-states vied for preeminence. On land, these wars
were primarily fought by armies of mercenaries known as condottieri,
bands of soldiers drawn from around Europe, but especially
Switzerland, led largely by Italian captains. The mercenaries were not
willing to risk their lives unduly, and war became one largely of
sieges and maneuvering, occasioning few pitched battles. It was also
in the interest of mercenaries on both sides to prolong any conflict,
to continue their employment.
Mercenaries were also a constant threat
to their employers; if not paid, they often turned on their patron. If
it became obvious that a state was entirely dependent on mercenaries,
the temptation was great for the mercenaries to take over the running
of it themselves—this occurred on a number of occasions.
Italian city-states sent many fleets out to do battle. The
main contenders were Pisa, Genoa, and Venice, but after a long
conflict the Genoese succeeded in reducing Pisa.
Venice proved to be a
more powerful adversary, and with the decline of Genoese power during
the 15th century
Venice became pre-eminent on the seas. In response to
threats from the landward side, from the early 15th century Venice
developed an increased interest in controlling the terrafirma as the
On land, decades of fighting saw Florence,
Venice emerge as
the dominant players, and these three powers finally set aside their
differences and agreed to the
Peace of Lodi
Peace of Lodi in 1454, which saw
relative calm brought to the region for the first time in centuries.
This peace would hold for the next forty years, and Venice's
unquestioned hegemony over the sea also led to unprecedented peace for
much of the rest of the 15th century. In the beginning of the 15th
century, adventurers and traders such as Niccolò Da Conti
(1395–1469) traveled as far as Southeast Asia and back, bringing
fresh knowledge on the state of the world, presaging further European
voyages of exploration in the years to come.
The Italian Wars
The Battle of
Pavia by Ruprecht Heller, 1529.
Italy and the
Spanish Empire in 1547.
The foreign invasions of
Italy known as the
Italian Wars began with
the 1494 invasion by France that wreaked widespread devastation on
Northern Italy and ended the independence of many of the city-states.
Originally arising from dynastic disputes over the Duchy of
the Kingdom of Naples, the wars rapidly became a general struggle for
power and territory among their various participants, marked with an
increasing number of alliances, counter-alliances, and betrayals. The
French were routed by Emperor Charles V at the Battle of
and again in the
War of the League of Cognac
War of the League of Cognac (1526–30). Eventually,
after years of inconclusive fighting, with the Peace of
Cateau-Cambrésis (1559) France renounced all its claims in
inaugurating a long Spanish hegemony over the Peninsula.
Much of Venice's hinterland (but not the city itself) was devastated
by the Turks in 1499 and again invaded and plundered by the League of
Cambrai in 1509. In 1528 most of the towns of
Apulia and Abbruzzi had
been sacked. Worst of all was the 6 May 1527 Sack of
Rome by Spanish
and German troops that all but ended the role of the Papacy as the
largest patron of
Renaissance art and architecture. The long Siege of
Florence (1529–1530) brought the destruction of its suburbs, the
ruin of its export business and the confiscation of its citizens'
wealth. Italy's urban population fell in half, ransoms paid to the
invaders and emergency taxes drained the finances. The wool and silk
Lombardy collapsed when their looms were wrecked by
invaders. The defensive tactic of scorched earth only slightly delayed
the invaders, and made the recovery much longer and more painful.
Italy (1559 to 1814)
Main article: Early Modern Italy
The history of
Italy in the
Early Modern period
Early Modern period was characterized by
foreign domination and economic decline. Nonetheless, following the
Italian Wars (1494 to 1559),
Italy saw a long period of relative
peace, first under
Habsburg Spain (1559 to 1713) and then under
Habsburg Austria (1713 to 1796) in which some important cultural and
scientific achievements were made. During the Napoleonic era, Italy
was invaded by the French Empire and divided into a number of client
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna (1814) restored the situation of the
late 18th century, which was however quickly overturned by the
incipient movement of Italian unification.
The 17th century
Physician attire for protection from the Bubonic plague or Black
The 17th century was a tumultuous period in Italian history, marked by
deep political and social changes. These included the increase of
Spanish influence over the Peninsula, as well as of the power of the
Pope and the Roman Catholic Church at the peak of the Counter
Reformation, the Catholic reaction against the Protestant Reformation.
Despite important artistic and scientific achievements, such as the
Galileo in the field of astronomy and physics and the
flourishing of the
Baroque style in architecture and painting, Italy
experienced overall economic decline.
Effectively, in spite of
Italy having given birth to some great
explorers such as Cristopher Columbus,
Amerigo Vespucci and Giovanni
da Verrazzano, the discovery of the
New World undermined the
Venice and other Italian ports as commercial hubs by
shfting Europe's center of gravity westward towards the Atlantic.
In addition, Spain’s involvement in the Thirty Years' War
(1618–48), financed in part by taxes on its Italian possessions,
heavily drained Italian commerce and agriculture; so, as Spain
declined, it dragged its Italian domains down with it, spreading
conflicts and revolts (such as the Neapolitan 1647 tax-related "Revolt
Black Death returned to haunt
Italy throughout the century. The
plague of 1630 that ravaged northern Italy, notably
Milan and Venice,
claimed possibly one million lives, or about 25% of the
population. The plague of 1656 killed up to 43% of the population
of the Kingdom of Naples. Historians believe the dramatic
reduction in Italian cities population (and, thus, in economic
activity) contributed to Italy's downfall as a major commercial and
political centre. By one estimate, while in 1500 the GDP of Italy
was 106% of the French GDP, by 1700 it was only 75% of it.
The 18th century
War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession (1701–14) was triggered by the
death without issue of the last
Habsburg king of Spain, Charles II,
who fixed the entire Spanish inheritance on Philip, Duke of Anjou, the
second grandson of King Louis XIV of France. In face of the threat of
a French hegemony over much of Europe, a Grand Alliance between
Austria, England, the
Dutch Republic and other minor powers (within
which the Duchy of Savoy) was signed in The Hague. The Alliance
successfully fought and defeated the Franco-Spanish "Party of the Two
Crowns", and the subsequent
Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht and Rastatt pass control
of much of
Naples and Sardinia) from Spain to Austria,
Sicily was ceded to the Duchy of Savoy. However, Spain tried
again to retake territories in
Italy and to claim the French throne in
War of the Quadruple Alliance
War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718–1720), but was again
defeated. As a result of the Treaty of The Hague, Spain agreed to
abandon its Italian claims, while Duke Victor Amadeus II of Savoy
agreed to exchange
Sicily with Austria, for the island of Sardinia,
after which he was known as the King of Sardinia.
The Age of Napoleon
Italian states in 1796.
Further information: Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary
At the end of the 18th century,
Italy was almost in the same political
conditions as in the 16th century; the main differences were that
Austria had replaced Spain as the dominant foreign power after the War
of Spanish Succession (and that too was not true with regards to
Naples and Sicily), and that the dukes of
Savoy (a mountainous region
Italy and France) had become kings of
Sardinia by increasing
their Italian possessions, which now included
Sardinia and the
north-western region of Piedmont.
This situation was shaken in 1796, when the French Army of
Napoleon invaded Italy, with the aims of forcing the First Coalition
Sardinia (where they had created an anti-revolutionary
puppet-ruler) and forcing
Austria to withdraw from Italy. The first
battles came on 9 April, between the French and the Piedmontese, and
within only two weeks Victor Amadeus III of
Sardinia was forced to
sign an armistice. On 15 May the French general then entered Milan,
where he was welcomed as a liberator. Subsequently, beating off
Austrian counterattacks and continuing to advance, he arrived in the
Veneto in 1797. Here occurred the Veronese Easters, an act of
rebellion against French oppression, that tied down Napoleon for about
Napoleon conquered most of
Italy in the name of the French Revolution
in 1797–99. He consolidated old units and split up Austria's
holdings. He set up a series of new republics, complete with new codes
of law and abolition of old feudal privileges. Napoleon's Cisalpine
Republic was centered on Milan.
Genoa the city became a republic while
its hinterland became the Ligurian Republic. The
Roman Republic was
formed out of the papal holdings while the pope himself was sent to
France. The Neapolitan Republic was formed around Naples, but it
lasted only five months before the enemy forces of the Coalition
recaptured it. In 1805 he formed the Kingdom of Italy, with himself as
king and his stepson as viceroy. In addition, France turned the
Netherlands into the Batavian Republic, and
Switzerland into the
Helvetic Republic. All these new countries were satellites of France,
and had to pay large subsidies to Paris, as well as provide military
support for Napoleon's wars. Their political and administrative
systems were modernized, the metric system introduced, and trade
barriers reduced. Jewish ghettos were abolished. Belgium and Piedmont
became integral parts of France.
In 1805, after the French victory over the
Third Coalition and the
Peace of Pressburg, Napoleon recovered
Veneto and Dalmatia, annexing
them to the Italian Republic and renaming it the Kingdom of Italy.
Also that year a second satellite state, the Ligurian Republic
(successor to the old Republic of Genoa), was pressured into merging
with France. In 1806, he conquered the Kingdom of
Naples and granted
it to his brother and then (from 1808) to Joachim Murat, along with
marrying his sisters Elisa and Paolina off to the princes of
Massa-Carrara and Guastalla. In 1808, he also annexed Marche and
Tuscany to the Kingdom of Italy.
In 1809, Bonaparte occupied Rome, for contrasts with the pope, who had
excommunicated him, and to maintain his own state efficiently,
exiling the Pope first to Savona and then to France.
After Russia, the other states of
Europe re-allied themselves and
defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Leipzig, after which his Italian
allied states, with Murat first among them, abandoned him to ally with
Austria. Defeated at Paris on 6 April 1814, Napoleon was compelled
to renounce his throne and sent into exile on Elba. The resulting
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna (1814) restored a situation close to that of 1795,
Austria (in the north-east and Lombardy), the
Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of the
Two Sicilies (in the south and
in Sicily), and Tuscany, the
Papal States and other minor states in
the centre. However, old republics such as
Genoa were not
Venice went to Austria, and
Genoa went to the Kingdom of
On Napoleon's escape and return to France (the Hundred Days), he
regained Murat's support, but Murat proved unable to convince the
Italians to fight for Napoleon with his
Proclamation of Rimini
Proclamation of Rimini and was
beaten and killed. The Italian kingdoms thus fell, and Italy's
Restoration period began, with many pre-Napoleonic sovereigns returned
to their thrones. Piedmont,
Nice came to be united, as did
Sardinia (which went on to create the State of Savoy), while Lombardy,
Dalmatia were re-annexed to Austria. The dukedoms
Parma and Modena re-formed, and the
Papal States and the Kingdom of
Naples returned to the Bourbons. The political and social events in
the restoration period of
Italy (1815–1835) led to popular uprisings
throughout the peninsula and greatly shaped what would become the
Italian Wars of Independence. All this led to a new Kingdom of Italy
and Italian unification.
Artz emphasizes the benefits the
Italians gained from the French
For nearly two decades the
Italians had the excellent codes of law, a
fair system of taxation, a better economic situation, and more
religious and intellectual toleration than they had known for
centuries.... Everywhere old physical, economic, and intellectual
barriers had been thrown down and the
Italians had begun to be aware
of a common nationality.
Unification (1814 to 1861)
Main article: Italian unification
Italian states (1815–1859).
Risorgimento was the political and social process that unified
different states of the
Italian peninsula into the single nation of
It is difficult to pin down exact dates for the beginning and end of
Italian reunification, but most scholars agree that it began with the
end of Napoleonic rule and the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna in 1815, and
approximately ended with the
Franco-Prussian War in 1871, though the
last "città irredente" did not join the Kingdom of
Italy until the
Italian victory in World War I.
As Napoleon's reign began to fail, other national monarchs he had
installed tried to keep their thrones by feeding those nationalistic
sentiments, setting the stage for the revolutions to come. Among these
monarchs were the viceroy of Italy, Eugène de Beauharnais, who tried
to get Austrian approval for his succession to the Kingdom of Italy,
and Joachim Murat, who called for Italian patriots' help for the
Italy under his rule. Following the defeat of
Napoleonic France, the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna (1815) was convened to
redraw the European continent. In Italy, the Congress restored the
pre-Napoleonic patchwork of independent governments, either directly
ruled or strongly influenced by the prevailing European powers,
At the time, the struggle for
Italian unification was perceived to be
waged primarily against the
Austrian Empire and the Habsburgs, since
they directly controlled the predominantly Italian-speaking
northeastern part of present-day
Italy and were the single most
powerful force against unification. The
Austrian Empire vigorously
repressed nationalist sentiment growing on the Italian peninsula, as
well as in the other parts of
Habsburg domains. Austrian Chancellor
Franz Metternich, an influential diplomat at the Congress of Vienna,
stated that the word
Italy was nothing more than "a geographic
Artistic and literary sentiment also turned towards nationalism; and
perhaps the most famous of proto-nationalist works was Alessandro
Manzoni's I Promessi Sposi (The Betrothed). Some read this novel as a
thinly veiled allegorical critique of Austrian rule. The novel was
published in 1827 and extensively revised in the following years. The
1840 version of I Promessi Sposi used a standardized version of the
Tuscan dialect, a conscious effort by the author to provide a language
and force people to learn it.
Italian unification in 1860.
Those in favour of unification also faced opposition from the Holy
See, particularly after failed attempts to broker a confederation with
the Papal States, which would have left the Papacy with some measure
of autonomy over the region. The pope at the time, Pius IX, feared
that giving up power in the region could mean the persecution of
Even among those who wanted to see the peninsula unified into one
country, different groups could not agree on what form a unified state
would take. Vincenzo Gioberti, a Piedmontese priest, had suggested a
confederation of Italian states under rulership of the Pope. His book,
Of the Moral and Civil Primacy of the Italians, was published in 1843
and created a link between the Papacy and the Risorgimento. Many
leading revolutionaries wanted a republic, but eventually it was a
king and his chief minister who had the power to unite the Italian
states as a monarchy.
One of the most influential revolutionary groups was the Carbonari
(charcoal-burners), a secret organization formed in southern Italy
early in the 19th century. Inspired by the principles of the French
Revolution, its members were mainly drawn from the middle class and
intellectuals. After the
Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna divided the Italian
peninsula among the European powers, the
Carbonari movement spread
into the Papal States, the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Grand Duchy of
Duchy of Modena
Duchy of Modena and the Kingdom of Lombardy-Venetia.
The revolutionaries were so feared that the reigning authorities
passed an ordinance condemning to death anyone who attended a
Carbonari meeting. The society, however, continued to exist and was at
the root of many of the political disturbances in
Italy from 1820
until after unification. The
Napoleon III to death
for failing to unite Italy, and the group almost succeeded in
assassinating him in 1858. Many leaders of the unification movement
were at one time members of this organization. (Note: Napoleon III, as
a young man, fought on the side of the 'Carbonari'.)
Two prominent radical figures in the unification movement were
Giuseppe Mazzini and Giuseppe Garibaldi. The more conservative
constitutional monarchic figures included the Count of Cavour and
Victor Emmanuel II, who would later become the first king of a united
Italian kingdom in 1864.
Giuseppe Garibaldi, hero of Italian unification.
Mazzini's activity in revolutionary movements caused him to be
imprisoned soon after he joined. While in prison, he concluded that
Italy could – and therefore should – be unified and formulated his
program for establishing a free, independent, and republican nation
Rome as its capital. After Mazzini's release in 1831, he went to
Marseille, where he organized a new political society called La
Giovine Italia (Young Italy). The new society, whose motto was "God
and the People," sought the unification of Italy.
The creation of the Kingdom of
Italy was the result of concerted
efforts by Italian nationalists and monarchists loyal to the House of
Savoy to establish a united kingdom encompassing the entire Italian
The Kingdom of
Sardinia industrialized from 1830 onward. A
Statuto Albertino was enacted in the year of
revolutions, 1848, under liberal pressure. Under the same pressure,
First Italian War of Independence
First Italian War of Independence was declared on Austria. After
initial success the war took a turn for the worse and the Kingdom of
Garibaldi, a native of
Nice (then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia),
participated in an uprising in
Piedmont in 1834, was sentenced to
death, and escaped to South America. He spent fourteen years there,
taking part in several wars, and returned to
Italy in 1848.
After the Revolutions of 1848, the apparent leader of the Italian
unification movement was Italian nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi. He
was popular amongst southern Italians. Garibaldi led the Italian
republican drive for unification in southern Italy, but the northern
Italian monarchy of the House of
Savoy in the Kingdom of
Sardinia whose government was led by Camillo Benso, Count of
Cavour, also had the ambition of establishing a united Italian state.
Though the kingdom had no physical connection to
Rome (deemed the
natural capital of Italy), the kingdom had successfully challenged
Austria in the Second Italian War of Independence, liberating
Lombardy-Venetia from Austrian rule. The kingdom also had established
important alliances which helped it improve the possibility of Italian
unification, such as Britain and France in the Crimean War.
The transition was not smooth for the south (the "Mezzogiorno"). The
path to unification and modernization created a divide between
Northern and Southern Italy. People condemned the South for being
"backwards" and barbaric, when in truth, compared to Northern Italy,
"...where there was backwardness, the lag, never excessive, was always
more or less compensated by other elements..." Of course, there
had to be some basis for singling out the South like
Italy did. The
entire region south of
Naples was afflicted with numerous deep
economic and social liabilities. However, many of the South's
political problems and its reputation of being "passive" or lazy
(politically speaking) was due to the new government (that was born
out of Italy's want for development) that alienated the South and
prevented the people of the South from any say in important matters.
However, on the other hand, transportation was difficult, soil
fertility was low with extensive erosion, deforestation was severe,
many businesses could stay open only because of high protective
tariffs, large estates were often poorly managed, most peasants had
only very small plots, and there was chronic unemployment and high
Cavour decided the basic problem was poor government, and believed
that could be remedied by strict application of the Piedmonese legal
system. The main result was an upsurge in brigandage, which turned in
a bloody civil war that lasted almost ten years. The insurrection
reached its peak mainly in
Basilicata and northern Apulia, headed by
Carmine Crocco and Michele Caruso.
With the end of the southern riots, there was a heavy outflow of
millions of peasants in the Italian diaspora, especially to the United
States and South America. Others relocated to the northern industrial
cities such as Genoa,
Milan and Turin, and sent money home.
Main article: Kingdom of Italy
Italy became a nation-state belatedly on 17 March 1861, when most of
the states of the peninsula were united under king Victor Emmanuel II
of the House of Savoy, which ruled over Piedmont. The architects of
Italian unification were Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, the Chief
Minister of Victor Emmanuel, and Giuseppe Garibaldi, a general and
national hero. In 1866 Prussian Prime Minister Otto von Bismarck
Victor Emmanuel II
Victor Emmanuel II an alliance with the
Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia in
the Austro-Prussian War. In exchange Prussia would allow
annex Austrian-controlled Venice. King Emmanuel agreed to the alliance
Third Italian War of Independence
Third Italian War of Independence began. The victory against
Italy to annex Venice. The one major obstacle to
Italian unity remained Rome.
In 1870, France started the
Franco-Prussian War and brought home its
soldiers in Rome, where they had kept the pope in power.
in to take over the Papal State.
Italian unification was completed,
and the capital was moved from
Florence to Rome.
Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour, the first Prime Minister in the
history of Italy.
In Northern Italy, industrialisation and modernisation began in the
last part of the 19th century. The south, at the same time, was
overpopulated, forcing millions of people to search for a better life
abroad. It is estimated that around one million Italian people moved
to other European countries such as France, Switzerland, Germany,
Belgium and Luxembourg.
Parliamentary democracy developed considerably in the 20th century.
Statuto Albertino of 1848, extended to the whole Kingdom
Italy in 1861, provided for basic freedoms, but the electoral laws
excluded the non-propertied and uneducated classes from voting.
Italy's political arena was sharply divided between broad camps of
left and right which created frequent deadlock and attempts to
preserve governments, which led to instances such as conservative
Marco Minghetti enacting economic reforms to appease
the opposition such as the nationalization of railways. In 1876,
Minghetti lost power and was replaced by the Democrat Agostino
Depretis, who began a period of political dominance in the 1880s, but
continued attempts to appease the opposition to hold power.
Depretis began his term as Prime Minister by initiating an
experimental political idea called
Trasformismo (transformism). The
Trasformismo was that a cabinet should select a variety of
moderates and capable politicians from a non-partisan perspective. In
practice, trasformismo was authoritarian and corrupt, Depretis
pressured districts to vote for his candidates if they wished to gain
favourable concessions from Depretis when in power. The results of the
1876 election resulted in only four representatives from the right
being elected, allowing the government to be dominated by Depretis.
Despotic and corrupt actions are believed to be the key means in which
Depretis managed to keep support in southern Italy. Depretis put
through authoritarian measures, such as the banning public meetings,
placing "dangerous" individuals in internal exile on remote penal
Italy and adopting militarist policies. Depretis
enacted controversial legislation for the time, such was abolishing
arrest for debt, making elementary education free and compulsory while
ending compulsory religious teaching in elementary schools.
The first government of Depretis collapsed after his dismissal of his
Interior Minister, and ended with his resignation in 1877. The second
government of Depretis started in 1881. Depretis' goals included
widening suffrage in 1882 and increasing the tax intake from Italians
by expanding the minimum requirements of who could pay taxes and the
creation of a new electoral system called which resulted in large
numbers of inexperienced deputies in the Italian parliament. In
1887, Depretis was finally pushed out of office after years of
Francesco Crispi (1818–1901) was Prime Minister for a total of six
years, from 1887 until 1891 and again from 1893 until 1896. Historian
R.J.B. Bosworth says of his foreign policy that Crispi:
pursued policies whose openly aggressive character would not be
equaled until the days of the Fascist regime. Crispi increased
military expenditure, talked cheerfully of a European conflagration,
and alarmed his German or British friends with this suggestions of
preventative attacks on his enemies. His policies were ruinous, both
for Italy's trade with France, and, more humiliatingly, for colonial
ambitions in East Africa. Crispi's lust for territory there was
thwarted when on 1 March 1896, the armies of Ethiopian Emperor Menelik
routed Italian forces at Adowa, ... In what has been defined as an
unparalleled disaster for a modern army. Crispi, whose private life
(he was perhaps a trigamist) and personal finances...were objects of
perennial scandal, went into dishonorable retirement.
Crispi had been in the Depretis cabinet minister and was once a
Garibaldi republican. Crispi's major concerns before during 1887–91
Italy from Austria-Hungary. Crispi worked to build
Italy as a great world power through increased military expenditures,
advocation of expansionism, and trying to win Germany's favor even by
joining the Triple Alliance which included both
Austria-Hungary in 1882 which remained officially intact until 1915.
Italy develop strategically, he continued trasformismo
and was authoritarian, once suggesting the use of martial law to ban
opposition parties. Despite being authoritarian, Crispi put through
liberal policies such as the Public Health Act of 1888 and
establishing tribunals for redress against abuses by the
The overwhelming attention paid to foreign policy alienated the
agricultural community which needed help. Both radical and
conservative forces in the Italian parliament demanded that the
government investigate how to improve agriculture in Italy. The
investigation which started in 1877 and was released eight years
later, showed that agriculture was not improving, that landowners were
swallowing up revenue from their lands and contributing almost nothing
to the development of the land. There was aggravation by lower class
Italians to the break-up of communal lands which benefited only
landlords. Most of the workers on the agricultural lands were not
peasants but short-term labourers who at best were employed for one
year. Peasants without stable income were forced to live off meager
food supplies, disease was spreading rapidly, plagues were reported,
including a major cholera epidemic which killed at least 55,000
The Italian government could not deal with the situation effectively
due to the mass overspending of the Depretis government that left
Italy in huge debt.
Italy also suffered economically because of
overproduction of grapes for their vineyards in the 1870s and 1880s
when France's vineyard industry was suffering from vine disease caused
Italy during that time prospered as the largest exporter
of wine in
Europe but following the recovery of France in 1888,
Italy was overproducing and had to split in two which caused
greater unemployment and bankruptcies. In 1913 male universal
suffrage was allowed. The Socialist Party became the main political
party, outclassing the traditional liberal and conservative
Starting from the last two decades of the 19th century, Italy
developed its own colonial Empire. It took control of
Eritrea. Its attempt to occupy
Ethiopia failed in the First
Italo–Ethiopian War of 1895–1896. In 1911, Giovanni Giolitti's
government sent forces to occupy
Libya and declared war on the Ottoman
Empire which held Libya.
Italy soon conquered and annexed
the Dodecanese Islands. Nationalists advocated Italy's domination of
Mediterranean Sea by occupying Greece as well as the Adriatic
coastal region of
Dalmatia but no attempts were made.
Italy in World War I
See also: Italian Front (World War I), Military history of Italy
during World War I, and Italian Campaign (World War I)
First World War
First World War (1914–1918) was an unexpected development that
forced the decision whether to honor the alliance with
Austria. For six months
Italy remained neutral, saying that the Triple
Alliance was only for defensive purposes.
Italy took the initiative in
entering the war in spring 1915, despite strong popular and elite
sentiment in favor of neutrality.
Italy was a large, poor country
whose political system was chaotic, its finances were heavily
strained, and its army was very poorly prepared. The Triple
Alliance meant little either to
Italians or Austrians – Vienna had
declared war on Serbia without consulting Rome. Two men, Prime
Antonio Salandra and Foreign Minister
Sidney Sonnino made all
the decisions, as was typical in Italian foreign policy. They operated
in secret, enlisting the king later on, but keeping military and
political leaders entirely in the dark. They negotiated with both
sides for the best deal, and got one from the Entente, which was quite
willing to promise large slices of the Austro-Hungarian Empire,
including the Tyrol and Trieste, as well as making
protectorate. Russia vetoed giving
Italy Dalmatia. Britain was willing
to pay subsidies and loans to get 36 million
Italians as new allies
who threatened the southern flank of Austria.
When the Treaty of London was announced in May 1915, there was an
uproar from antiwar elements. Salandra resigned but no one could form
a majority against him, and he returned to office. Most politicians,
and indeed most
Italians opposed the war, including most Catholics.
Reports from around
Italy showed the people feared war, and cared
little about territorial gains. Rural folk saw war is a disaster, like
drought, famine or plague. Businessmen were generally opposed, fearing
heavy-handed government controls and taxes, and loss of foreign
markets. Reversing the decision seemed impossible, for the Triple
Alliance did not want
Italy back, and the king's throne was at risk.
Pro-war supporters mobbed the streets with tens of thousands of
shouting by nationalists, Futurists, anti-clericals, and angry young
men. Benito Mussolini, an important Socialist Party editor took a
leadership role, but he was expelled from the Party and only a
minority followed him. Apart from Russia this was the only far left
Europe that opposed the war. The fervor for war represented a
bitterly hostile reaction against politics as usual, and the failures,
frustrations, and stupidities of the ruling class.
The military cemetery of Redipuglia, resting place of 100,000 Italian
soldiers. More than 650,000 died on the battlefields of World War I.
The total deaths for
Italy amounted to 1,240,000.
Italy entered the war with an army of 875,000 men, but the army was
poorly led and lacked heavy artillery and machine guns, their war
supplies having been largely depleted in the war of 1911–12 against
Italy proved unable to prosecute the war effectively, as fighting
raged for three years on a very narrow front along the Isonzo River,
where the Austrians held the high ground. In 1916,
Italy declared war
on Germany, which provided significant aid to the Austrians. Some
650,000 Italian soldiers died and 950,000 were wounded, while the
economy required large-scale Allied funding to survive.
Before the war the government had ignored labor issues, but now it had
to intervene to mobilize war production. With the main working-class
Socialist party reluctant to support the war effort, strikes were
frequent and cooperation was minimal, especially in the Socialist
Piedmont and Lombardy. The government imposed high wage
scales, as well as collective bargaining and insurance schemes.
Many large firms expanded dramatically. The workforce at Ansaldo grew
from 6,000 to 110,000 as it manufactures 10,900 artillery pieces,
3,800 warplanes, 95 warships and 10 million artillery shells. At Fiat
the workforce grew from 4,000 to 40,000. Inflation doubled the cost of
living. Industrial wages kept pace but not wages for farm workers.
Discontent was high in rural areas since so many men were taken for
service, industrial jobs were unavailable, wages grew slowly and
inflation was just as bad.
Italy participated in the war primarily to gain new territory in the
North and the East; it blocked a major Austrian peace proposal in
1918. The Treaty of St. Germain awarded the victorious Italian
nation the Southern half of the County of Tyrol, Trieste, Istria, and
the city of Zadar.
Italy did not receive other territories promised by
the Pact of London, so this outcome was denounced as a "Mutilated
World War II
World War II and Civil War (1922 to 1946)
Rise of Fascism into power
Main article: Italian Fascism
Italian kingdom in 1919.
Fiume cheering D'Annunzio and his Legionari, September
1919. At the time,
Fiume had 22,488 (62% of the population) Italians
in a total population of 35,839 inhabitants.
The Italian Fascist movement was founded on March 23, 1919 by Benito
Mussolini. Mussolini was a
World War I
World War I veteran, working for the
Socialist newspapers until he broke off and established his new
Nationalist organization, Fasci di Combattimento.
In 1919, at the Paris Peace Conference,
Italy was denied the execution
of wartime secret
Treaty of London (1915)
Treaty of London (1915) it had concorded with the
Triple Entente; wherein
Italy was to leave the Triple Alliance and
join the enemy, by declaring war against the
German Empire and
Austria-Hungary, in exchange for territories (
Istria and Dalmatia), at
war’s end, upon which the Kingdom of
Italy held claims. The
disrespect for the promises caused widespread indignation among
Italian nationalists, while poet and adventurer Gabriele D'Annunzio
led an expedition to occupy ethnic Italian Fiume, assigned to
At the same time, the so-called
Biennio Rosso (red biennium) took
place in the two years following the first world war in a context of
economic crisis, high unemployment and political instability. The
1919–20 period was characterized by mass strikes, worker
manifestations as well as self-management experiments through land and
factories occupations. In
Turin and Milan, workers councils were
formed and many factory occupations took place under the leadership of
anarcho-syndicalists. The agitations also extended to the agricultural
areas of the
Padan plain and were accompanied by peasant strikes,
rural unrests and guerilla conflicts between left-wing and right-wing
Giacomo Matteotti was murdered a few days after he
openly denounced Fascist violence during the 1924 elections.
Thenceforth, the Fasci di Combattimento (forerunner of the National
Fascist Party, 1921) of
Benito Mussolini successfully exploited the
claims of Italian nationalists and the quest for order and
normalization of the middle class. In 1920, old Prime Minister
Giolitti was reappointed in a desperate attempt to solve Italy's
deadlock, but his cabinet was weak and threatened by a growing
socialist opposition. Giolitti believed that the Fascists could be
toned down and used to protect the monarchy from the socialists. He
decided to include Fascists on his electoral list for 1921
elections. In the elections, the Fascists did not
make large gains, but Giolitti's government failed to gather a large
enough coalition to govern and offered the Fascists placements in his
government. The Fascists rejected Giolitti's offers and joined with
socialists in bringing down his government.
Benito Mussolini during the March on
Rome in 1922.
In October 1922, Mussolini took advantage of a general strike to
announce his demands to the Italian government to give the Fascist
Party political power or face a coup. With no immediate response, a
group of 30,000 Fascists began a long trek across
March on Rome), claiming that Fascists were intending to restore law
and order. The Fascists demanded Prime Minister Luigi Facta's
resignation and that Mussolini be named to the post.
Although the Italian Army was far better armed than the Fascist
militias, the liberal system and King Victor Emmanuel III were facing
a deeper political crisis. The King was forced to choose which of the
two rival movements in
Italy would form the government: Mussolini's
Fascists, or the marxist Italian Socialist Party. He selected the
Upon taking power, Mussolini formed a coalition with nationalists and
liberals. In 1923, Mussolini's coalition passed the electoral Acerbo
Law, which assigned two thirds of the seats to the party that achieved
at least 25% of the vote. The Fascist Party used violence and
intimidation to achieve the threshold in the 1924 election, thus
obtaining control of Parliament. Socialist deputy Giacomo Matteotti
was assassinated after calling for a nullification of the vote because
of the irregularities.
Over the next four years, Mussolini eliminated nearly all checks and
balances on his power. On 24 December 1925, he passed a law that
declared he was responsible to the king alone, making him the sole
person able to determine Parliament's agenda. Local governments were
dissolved, and appointed officials (called "Podestà") replaced
elected mayors and councils. In 1928, all political parties were
banned, and parliamentary elections were replaced by plebiscites in
which the Grand Council of Fascism nominated a single list of 400
Official portrait of Benito Mussolini.
Duggan (2012), using private diaries and letters, and secret police
files, argues that Mussolini enjoyed a strong, wide base of popular
support among ordinary people across Italy. Mussolini elicited
emotional responses unique in modern Italian history, and kept his
popularity despite the military reverses after 1940. Duggan argues
that his regime exploited Mussolini's appeal and forged a cult of
personality that served as the model that was emulated by dictators of
other fascist regimes of the 1930s.
In summary historian
Stanley G. Payne says Fascism in
A primarily political dictatorship....The Fascist Party itself had
become almost completely bureaucratized and subservient to, not
dominant over, the state itself. Big business, industry, and finance
retained extensive autonomy, particularly in the early years. The
armed forces also enjoyed considerable autonomy....The Fascist militia
was placed under military control....The judicial system was left
largely intact and relatively autonomous as well. The police continued
to be directed by state officials and were not taken over by party
leaders...nor was a major new police elite created....There was never
any question of bringing the Church under overall subservience....
Sizable sectors of Italian cultural life retained extensive autonomy,
and no major state propaganda-and-culture ministry existed....The
Mussolini regime was neither especially sanguinary nor particularly
In 1929 Mussolini and the Catholic Church came to an agreement that
ended a standoff that reached back to 1860 and had alienated the
Church from the Italian government. The Orlando government had started
the process of reconciliation during the World War, and the pope
furthered it by cutting ties with the Christian Democrats in 1922.
Mussolini and the leading fascists were atheists but they recognized
the opportunity of warmer relations with Italy's large Catholic
The Lateran Accord of 1929 was a treaty that recognized the pope as
the sovereign of the tiny
Vatican City inside Rome, which gave it
independent status and made the Vatican an important hub of world
diplomacy. The Concordat of 1929 made Catholicism the sole religion of
the state (although other religions were tolerated), paid salaries to
priests and bishops, recognized church marriages (previously couples
had to have a civil ceremony), and brought religious instruction into
the public schools. In turn the bishops swore allegiance to the
Italian state, which had a veto power over their selection. A third
agreement paid the Vatican 1750 million lira (about $100 million) for
the seizures of church property since 1860. The Church was not
officially obligated to support the Fascist regime; the strong
differences remained but the seething hostility ended. The Church
especially endorsed foreign policies such as support for the
anti-Communist side in the Spanish Civil War, and support for the
conquest of Ethiopia. Friction continued over the Catholic Action
youth network, which Mussolini wanted to merge into his Fascist youth
group. In 1931 Pope Pius XI issued the encyclical Non abbiamo
bisogno ("We Have No Need") that denounced the regime's persecution of
the church in
Italy and condemned "pagan worship of the State."
Spanish Republican poster against "the Italian invader".
Italian irredentism map.
Lee identifies three major themes in Mussolini's foreign-policy. The
first was a continuation of the foreign-policy objectives of the
preceding Liberal regime. Liberal
Italy had allied itself with Germany
and Austria, and had great ambitions in the Balkans and North Africa.
Ever since it had been badly defeated in
Ethiopia in 1896, there was a
strong demand for seizing that country. Second was a profound
disillusionment after the heavy losses of the First World War. The
small territorial gains from
Austria were not enough to compensate for
the war's terrible costs; other countries especially Poland and
Yugoslavia received much more and
Italy felt cheated. Third was
Mussolini's promise to restore the pride and glory of the old Roman
Mussolini promised to bring
Italy back as a great power in Europe,
building a "New Roman Empire" and holding power over the Mediterranean
Sea. In propaganda, Fascists used the ancient Roman motto "Mare
Latin for "Our Sea") to describe the Mediterranean. The
Fascist regime engaged in interventionist foreign policy in Europe. In
1923, the Greek island of
Corfu was briefly occupied by Italy, after
the assassination of General Tellini in Greek territory. In 1925,
Albania to become a de facto protectorate. Relations with
France were mixed. The Fascist regime planned to regain
Italian-populated areas of France, but with the rise of Nazism, it
became more concerned of the potential threat of
Germany to Italy. Due
to concerns of German expansionism,
Italy joined the
Stresa Front with
France and the United Kingdom, which existed from 1935 to 1936. The
Fascist regime held negative relations with Yugoslavia, as it
continued to claim Dalmatia.
Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War between the socialist Republicans and
nationalists led by Francisco Franco,
Italy sent arms and over 60,000
troops to aid the nationalist faction. This secured Italy's naval
access to Spanish ports and increased Italian influence in the
Mediterranean. During all the 1930s,
Italy strongly pursued a policy
of naval rearmament; by 1940 the
Regia Marina was the fourth largest
navy in the world.
From left to right, Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini and
Italian Foreign Minister
Count Ciano at the signing of Munich
Adolf Hitler first met in June 1934, as the issue of
Austrian independence was in crisis. Mussolini sought to ensure that
Germany would not become hegemonic in Europe. To do this, he
opposed German plans to annex
Austria after the assassination of
Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, and promised the Austrians
military support if
Germany were to interfere. Public appearances and
propaganda constantly portrayed the closeness of Mussolini and Hitler
and the similarities between
Italian Fascism and German National
Socialism. While both ideologies had significant similarities, the two
factions were suspicious of each other, and both leaders were in
competition for world influence.
Mussolini and Hitler in June, 1940.
In 1935 Mussolini decided to invade Ethiopia. The Second
Italo-Abyssinian War resulted in the international isolation of Italy,
as France and Britain quickly abandoned their trust of Mussolini. The
only nation to back Italy's aggression was Nazi Germany. After being
condemned by the League of Nations,
Italy decided to leave the League
on 11 December 1937 and Mussolini denounced the League as a mere
"tottering temple". At this point, Mussolini had little choice but
to join Hitler in international politics, thus he reluctantly
abandoned its support of Austrian independence. Hitler proceeded with
the Anschluss, the annexation of Austria, in 1938. Mussolini later
supported German claims on Sudetenland, a province of Czechoslovakia
inhabited mostly by Germans, at the Munich Conference. In 1938, under
influence of Hitler, Mussolini supported the adoption of anti-semitic
racial laws in Italy. After
Czechoslovakia in March
1939, Mussolini decided to occupy
Albania to avoid becoming
second-rate member of the Axis. On 7 April 1939,
As war approached in 1939, the Fascist regime stepped up an aggressive
press campaign against France claiming that Italian people were
suffering in France. This was important to the alliance as both
regimes mutually had claims on France,
Germany on German-populated
Italy on the mixed Italian and French populated
Nice and Corsica. In May 1939, a formal alliance with
signed, known as the Pact of Steel. Mussolini felt obliged to sign the
pact in spite of his own concerns that
Italy could not fight a war in
the near future. This obligation grew from his promises to Italians
that he would build an empire for them and from his personal desire to
not allow Hitler to become the dominant leader in Europe.
Mussolini was repulsed by the
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact agreement
Germany and the
Soviet Union agreed to partition the Second
Polish Republic into German and Soviet zones for an impending
invasion. The Fascist government saw this as a betrayal of the
Anti-Comintern Pact, but decided to remain officially silent.
World War II
World War II and the fall of Fascism
Military history of Italy
Military history of Italy during World War II
Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 beginning World War
II, Mussolini chose to stay non-belligerent, although he declared his
support for Hitler. In drawing out war plans, Mussolini and the
Fascist regime decided that
Italy would aim to annex large portions of
Africa and the Middle East to be included in its colonial empire.
Hesitance remained from the King and military commander Pietro
Badoglio who warned Mussolini that
Italy had too few tanks, armoured
vehicles, and aircraft available to be able to carry out a long-term
war and Badoglio told Mussolini "It is suicide" for
Italy to get
involved in the European conflict. Mussolini and the Fascist
regime took the advice to a degree and waited as France was invaded by
Germany in June 1940 (Battle of France) before deciding to get
As France's defeat was obviously inevitable,
Italy entered the war on
10 June 1940, fulfilling its obligations towards the Pact of Steel.
Mussolini hoped to quickly capture Savoy, Nice, Corsica, and the
African colonies of Tunisia and Algeria from the French, but Germany
signed an armistice (June 22: Second Armistice at Compiègne) with
Philippe Pétain establishing Vichy France, that retained
control over southern France and colonies. This decision angered the
Fascist regime. In summer 1940, Mussolini ordered the invasion of
Egypt, but Italian forces were soon driven back by the British (see
Operation Compass). Hitler had to intervene with the sending of the
Afrika Korps of General Erwin Rommel, that was the mainstay in the
North African campaign.
Italian prisoners in El Alamein, November 1942.
Continuing indications of Italy's increasing subordination to Germany
arose during the disastrous Greco-Italian War. Mussolini had intended
the invasion of Greece to prove Italy's strategic autonomy, but the
Greeks humiliatingly put Italian forces on the defensive. Because
of a putsch in Yugoslavia,
Germany began a Balkans Campaign which had
as result the dissolution of this country and Greece's defeat. On that
Italy gained south Slovenia and part of Dalmatia. By 1942:
it was faltering as its economy failed to adapt to the conditions of
war, and Italian cities were being heavily bombed by the Allies. Also,
despite Rommel's advances, the campaign in North Africa began to fail
in late 1942. Complete collapse came after the decisive defeat at El
Italy was losing on every front. By January of the year, half
of the Italian forces fighting in the
Soviet Union had been
destroyed, the African campaign had failed, the Balkans remained
Italians wanted an end to the war. In July 1943, the
Sicily in an effort to knock
Italy out of the war and
establish a foothold in Europe. On 25 July, Mussolini was ousted by
the Great Council of Fascism and arrested by order of King Victor
Emmanuel III, who appointed General
Pietro Badoglio as new Prime
Minister. Badoglio stripped away the final elements of Fascist rule by
banning the National Fascist Party, then signed an armistice with the
Allied armed forces and the Kingdom of
Italy joined the Allies in
their war against Nazi Germany.
Donald Detwiler notes that, "Italy's entrance into the war showed very
early that her military strength was only a hollow shell. Italy's
military failures against France, Greece,
Yugoslavia and in the
African Theatres of war shook Italy's new prestige mightily."
Historians have long debated why Italy's military and its Fascist
regime were so remarkably ineffective at an activity - war - that was
central to their identity. MacGregor Knox says the explanation, "was
first and foremost a failure of Italy's military culture and military
institutions." Norman Polmar and Thomas B. Allen argue that "the
Regia Aeronautica failed to perform effectively in modern conflict.
Although the Italian Air Force had been in action in the conquest of
Ethiopia and the Spanish Civil War, it was totally unprepared for
combat...in June 1940. At the time
Italy had about 2,500 military
aircraft in service. Only 11,000 more were produced during the next
three years, far fewer than any of the other major belligerents."
James Sadkovich gives the most charitable interpretation of Italian
failures, blaming inferior equipment, overextension, and inter-service
rivalries. Its forces had "more than their share of handicaps."
Civil War, Allied advance and Liberation
Italian Civil War
Italian Civil War and Liberation of Italy
Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic poster saying: "
Germany is truly your friend".
Soon after being ousted, Mussolini was rescued by a German commando in
Operation Eiche ("Oak"). The
Germans brought Mussolini to northern
Italy where he set up a Fascist puppet state, the Italian Social
Republic. Meanwhile, the Allies advanced in southern Italy. In
Naples rose against the occupying German forces. The
Allies organized some royalist Italian troops into the Italian
Co-Belligerent Army, while troops loyal to Mussolini continued to
fight alongside Nazi
Germany in the Esercito Nazionale Repubblicano,
the National Republican Army. In addition, a large Italian resistance
movement started a long guerrilla war against the German and Fascist
Mussolini reviewing adolescent soldiers, late 1944.
The Germans, often helped by Fascists, committed several atrocities
against Italian civilians in occupied zones, such as the Ardeatine
massacre and the Sant'Anna di Stazzema massacre. On 4 June 1944, the
German occupation of
Rome came to an end as the Allies advanced. As
the Allies advanced north, they encountered increasingly difficult
terrain, as mountains offered excellent defensive position to Axis
forces. The final Allied victory over the Axis in
Italy did not come
until the spring offensive of 1945, after Allied troops had breached
the Gothic Line, leading to the surrender of German and Fascist forces
Italy on 2 May shortly before
Germany finally surrendered ending
World War II
World War II in
Europe on 8 May. It is estimated that between
September 1943 and April 1945 some 60,000 Allied and 50,000 German
soldiers died in Italy.[nb 1]
Mussolini was captured on 27 April 1945, by communist Italian
partisans near the Swiss border as he tried to escape Italy. On the
next day, he was executed for high treason, as sentenced in absentia
by a tribunal of the CLN. Afterwards, the bodies of Mussolini, his
mistress, and about fifteen other Fascists were taken to
they were displayed to the public. Days later on 2 May 1945, the
German forces in
Italy surrendered. The government of Badoglio had
remained in being for some nine months. On 9 June 1944 he was replaced
as Prime Minister by the 70-year-old anti-fascist leader Ivanoe
Bonomi. In June 1945 Bonomi was in turn replaced by Ferruccio Parri,
who in turn gave way to
Alcide de Gasperi
Alcide de Gasperi on 4 December 1945. Finally,
De Gasperi supervised the transition to a Republic following the
abdication of Vittorio Emanuele III on 9 May 1946, the one-month-long
reign of his son
Umberto II ("King of May") and the Constitutional
Referendum that abolished the monarchy; De Gasperi briefly became
acting Head of State as well as Prime Minister on 18 June 1946, but
ceded the former role to Provisional President
Enrico de Nicola
Enrico de Nicola ten
Italian Republic (1946 to present)
Main article: History of the Italian Republic
Birth of the Republic
Main article: Italian constitutional referendum, 1946
Umberto II, the last King of Italy, was exiled to Portugal.
Alcide De Gasperi, Prime Minister 1945–53, is revered as a founding
father of modern
Italy and Europe.
The aftermath of
World War II
World War II left
Italy with a destroyed economy and
a divided society. Following Victor Emmanuel III's abdication, his
son, the new king Umberto II, was pressured by the threat of another
civil war to call a Constitutional Referendum to decide whether Italy
should remain a monarchy or become a republic. On 2 June 1946, the
republican side won 54% of the vote and
Italy officially became a
republic. All male members of the House of
Savoy were barred from
entering Italy, a ban which was only repealed in 2002. Under the
Treaty of Peace with Italy, 1947, the eastern border area was annexed
Yugoslavia causing the Istrian exodus, while
Italy lost all its
The General Elections of 1946, held at the same time as the
Constitutional Referendum, elected 556 members of a Constituent
Assembly, of which 207 were Christian Democrats, 115 Socialists and
104 Communists. A new constitution was approved, setting up a
parliamentary democracy. In 1947, under American pressure, the
communists were expelled from the government. The Italian general
election, 1948 saw a landslide victory for Christian Democrats, that
dominated the system for the following forty years.
Marshall Plan aid from the United States
Italy joined the
Marshall Plan (ERP) and NATO. By 1950, the economy
had largely stabilized and started booming. In 1957
Italy was a
founding member of the European Economic Community, which later
transformed into the
European Union (EU).
The Marshall Plan's long-term legacy was to help modernize Italy's
economy. How Italian society built mechanisms to adapt, translate,
resist, and domesticate this challenge had a lasting effect on the
nation's development over the subsequent decades. After Fascism's
failure, the United States offered a vision of modernization that was
unprecedented in its power, internationalism, and invitation to
emulation. However Stalinism was a powerful political force. The ERP
was one of the main ways that this modernization was operationalized.
The old prevailing vision of the country's industrial prospects had
been rooted in traditional ideas of craftsmanship, frugality and
thrift, which stood in contrast to the dynamism seen in automobiles
and fashion, anxious to leave behind the protectionism of the Fascist
era and take advantage of the opportunities offered by rapidly
expanding world trade. By 1953 industrial production had doubled
compared with 1938 and the annual rate of productivity increase was
6.4%, twice the British rate. At Fiat, automobile production per
employee quadrupled between 1948 and 1955, the fruit of an intense,
Marshall Plan-aided application of American technology (as well as
much more intense discipline on the factory-floor). Vittorio Valletta,
Fiat's general manager, helped by trade barriers that blocked French
and German cars, focused on technological innovations as well as an
aggressive export strategy. He successfully bet on serving the more
dynamic foreign markets from modern plants built with the help of
Marshall Plan funds. From this export base he later sold into a
growing domestic market, where
Fiat was without serious competition.
Fiat managed to remain at the cutting edge of car manufacturing
technology, enabling it to expand production, foreign sales, and
The economic miracle
Fiat 600, iconic middle-class dream car and status symbol of the
Main article: Italian economic miracle
In the 1950s and 1960s the country enjoyed prolonged economic boom,
which was accompanied by a dramatic rise in the standard of living of
ordinary Italians. The so-called
Italian economic miracle
Italian economic miracle lasted
almost uninterrupted until the "Hot Autumn's" massive strikes and
social unrest of 1969–70, that combined with the later 1973 oil
crisis, gradually cooled the economy, that has never returned to its
heady post-war growth rates.
It has been calculated that the Italian economy experienced an average
rate of growth of GDP of 5.8% per year between 1951–63, and 5.0% per
year between 1964–73. Italian rates of growth were second only,
but very close, to the German rates, in Europe, and among the OEEC
countries only Japan had been doing better. Between 1955 and
1971, around 9 million people are estimated to have been involved in
inter-regional migrations in Italy, uprooting entire communities.
Emigration was especially directed to the factories of the so-called
"industrial triangle", a region encompassed between the major
manufacturer centers of
Turin and the seaport of Genoa.
The needs of a modernizing economy demanded new transport and energy
infrastructures. Thousands of miles of railways and highways were
completed in record times to connect the main urban areas, while dams
and power plants were built all over Italy, often without regard for
geological and environmental conditions. Strong urban growth led to
uncontrolled urban sprawl.
The natural environment was constantly under threat by wild industrial
expansion, leading to ecological disasters like the Vajont Dam
inundation and the Seveso chemical accident. The boom had also a huge
impact on Italian society and culture. The pervasive influence of mass
media and consumerism on society has often been fiercely criticized by
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini and film directors like Dino
Vittorio De Sica
Vittorio De Sica and Ettore Scola, that stigmatized selfishness
and immorality that characterized miracle's years.
The Years of Lead
Main article: Years of lead (Italy)
Attack of the far-right terrorist group NAR at the
station on 2 August 1980, which caused the death of 85 people.
Italy faced political instability in the 1970s, which ended in the
1980s. Known as the Years of Lead, this period was characterized by
widespread social conflicts and terrorist acts carried out by
extra-parliamentary movements. The assassination of the leader of the
Christian Democracy (DC), Aldo Moro, led to the end of a "historic
compromise" between the DC and the Communist Party (PCI). In the
1980s, for the first time, two governments were managed by a
Giovanni Spadolini 1981–82) and a socialist (Bettino
Craxi 1983–87) rather than by a Christian-democrat.
At the end of the Lead years, the PCI gradually increased their votes
thanks to Enrico Berlinguer. The Socialist party (PSI), led by Bettino
Craxi, became more and more critical of the communists and of the
Soviet Union; Craxi himself pushed in favour of US president Ronald
Reagan's positioning of
Pershing II missiles in Italy.
From 1992 to 1997,
Italy faced significant challenges as voters
disenchanted with political paralysis, massive government debt,
extensive corruption, and organized crime's considerable influence
collectively called the political system Tangentopoli. As Tangentopoli
was under a set of judicial investigations by the name of Mani pulite
(Italian for "clean hands"), voters demanded political, economic, and
ethical reforms. The
Tangentopoli scandals involved all major parties,
but especially those in the government coalition: between 1992 and
1994 the DC underwent a severe crisis and was dissolved, splitting up
into several pieces, among whom the Italian People's Party and the
Christian Democratic Center. The PSI (along with other minor governing
parties) completely dissolved.
The Second Republic (1992–present)
The 1994 elections also swept media magnate
Silvio Berlusconi (leader
of "Pole of Freedoms" coalition) into office as Prime Minister.
Berlusconi, however, was forced to step down in December 1994 when his
Lega Nord partners withdrew support. The Berlusconi government was
succeeded by a technical government headed by Prime Minister Lamberto
Dini, which left office in early 1996.
In April 1996, national elections led to the victory of a centre-left
coalition under the leadership of Romano Prodi. Prodi's first
government became the third-longest to stay in power before he
narrowly lost a vote of confidence, by three votes, in October 1998. A
new government was formed by
Democrats of the Left
Democrats of the Left leader and former
communist Massimo D'Alema, but in April 2000, following poor
performance by his coalition in regional elections, D'Alema resigned.
The succeeding centre-left government, including most of the same
parties, was headed by
Giuliano Amato (social-democratic), who
previously served as Prime Minister in 1992–93, from April 2000
until June 2001. In 2001 the centre-right formed the government and
Silvio Berlusconi was able to regain power and keep it for a complete
five-year mandate, becoming the longest government in post-war Italy.
Berlusconi participated in the US-led multinational coalition in Iraq.
The elections in 2006 returned Prodi in government, leading an
all-encompassing centre-left coalition of 11 parties (The Union).
Prodi won with only a slim majority in the Senate, also due to the new
proportional electoral law introduced by Berlusconi and Calderoli in
2005. In the first year of his government, Prodi had followed a
cautious policy of economic liberalization and reduction of public
debt. His government, in loss of popularity, was anyway sacked by the
end of support from centrist MPs led by Clemente Mastella.
Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of
Italy for almost twenty years
between 1994 and 2011.
Berlusconi won the general election in 2008, with the People of
Freedom party (fusion of his previous
Forza Italia party and of Fini's
National Alliance) against
Walter Veltroni of the Democratic Party. In
2010, Berlusconi's party saw the splintering of Gianfranco Fini's new
faction, which formed a parliamentary group and voted against him in a
no-confidence vote on 14 December 2010. Berlusconi's government was
able to avoid no-confidence thanks to support from sparse MPs, but has
lost a consistent majority in the lower Chamber. On 16 November 2011,
Berlusconi's resignation, the famous economist
Mario Monti sworn in as
new Prime Minister at the head of a technocratic government.
On 24 and 25 February 2013 a new election was held; the centre-left
coalition of Pier Luigi Bersani, leader of the Democratic Party, win a
majority in the Chamber of Deputies but not in the Senate. It was
shocking the result of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement,
founded by the former comedian Beppe Grillo, which gain 25.5% of
votes, becoming the first party in the country.
On 24 April, Giorgio Napolitano gave to the Vice-Secretary of the
Democratic Party, Enrico Letta, the task of forming a government,
having determined that
Pier Luigi Bersani
Pier Luigi Bersani could not form a government
because it did not have a majority in the Senate. Letta formed a grand
coalition government, supported also by The
People of Freedom
People of Freedom of
Silvio Berlusconi and
Civic Choice of Mario Monti.
Letta's cabinet lasted until 22 February 2014 (for a total of 300
days), as the government fell apart after the Democratic Party retired
its support of Letta in favour of Matteo Renzi, the 39-year-old mayor
Florence and nicknamed "Il Rottamatore" (the scrapper), who
succeeded Letta as Prime Minister at the head of a new grand coalition
government with New Centre-Right,
Civic Choice and Union of the
Centre. The cabinet is the youngest government of
Italy up to date,
with an average age of 47. In addition, it is also the first in which
the number of female ministers is equal to the number of male
Duchy of Urbino
Genetic history of Italy
History of Capri
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History of the Republic of Venice
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Military history of Italy
Politics of Italy
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Belgium 5,241; Canada, 4,798; India, Pakistan, Nepal 4,078; Poland
2,028; New Zealand 1,688;
Italy (excluding irregulars) 917; South
Africa 800; Brazil 275; Greece 115; Jewish volunteers from the British
Mandate in Palestine 32. In addition 35 soldiers were killed by enemy
action while serving with pioneer units from Botswana, Lesotho,
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Kohl, Benjamin G. and Allison Andrews Smith, eds. Major Problems in
the History of the
Italian Renaissance (1995).
Najemy, John M.
Italy in the Age of the Renaissance: 1300–1550 (The
Short Oxford History of Italy) (2005) excerpt and text search
White, John. Art and Architecture in Italy, 1250–1400 (1993)
Cochrane, Eric. Italy, 1530–1630 (1988) online edition
Carpanetto, Dino, and Giuseppe Ricuperati.
Italy in the Age of Reason,
1685–1789 (1987) online edition
Marino, John A. Early Modern Italy: 1550–1796 (Short Oxford History
of Italy) (2002) excerpt and text search
Italy and the Enlightenment (1972)
Woolf, Stuart. A History of Italy, 1700–1860 (1988)
Beales. D.. and E. Biagini, The
Risorgimento and the Unification of
Clark, Martin. The Italian
Risorgimento (Routledge, 2014)
Collier, Martin, Italian Unification, 1820–71 (Heinemann, 2003);
textbook, 156 pages
Davis, John A., ed. (2000).
Italy in the nineteenth century:
1796–1900. London: Oxford University Press.
Farmer, Alan. "How was
Italy Unified?, History Review 54, March 2006
Italy in the Age of the
Risorgimento 1790 – 1870
Holt, Edgar. The Making of
Italy 1815–1870, (1971).
Laven, David. Restoration and Risorgimento:
Italy 1796–1870 (2012)
Pearce, Robert, and Andrina Stiles. Access to History: The Unification
Italy 1789–1896 (4th rf., Hodder Education, 2015), textbook.
Riall, Lucy. Risorgimento: The History of
Italy from Napoleon to
Nation State (2009)
Riall, Lucy. The Italian Risorgimento: State, Society, and National
Unification (Routledge, 1994) online
Riall, Lucy. Garibaldi: Invention of a hero (Yale UP, 2008).
Riall, Lucy (1998). "Hero, saint or revolutionary? Nineteenth-century
politics and the cult of Garibaldi". Modern Italy. 3 (02): 191–204.
Ridley, Jasper. Garibaldi (1974), a standard biography.
Smith, Denis Mack. Cavour (1985)
Smith, Denis Mack. Victor Emanuel, Cavour, and the Risorgimento
(Oxford UP, 1971)
Stiles, A. The Unification of
Italy 1815–70 (2nd edition, 2001)
Thayer, William Roscoe (1911). The Life and Times of Cavour vol
1. old interpretations but useful on details; vol 1 goes to
1859; volume 2 online covers 1859–62
Economic history of Italy
Economic history of Italy § Further reading
Bosworth, Richard J. B. (2005). Mussolini's Italy.
Cannistraro, Philip V. ed. Historical Dictionary of Fascist Italy
Clark, Martin. Modern Italy: 1871–1982 (1984, 3rd edn 2008)
De Grand, Alexander.
Giovanni Giolitti and Liberal
Italy from the
Challenge of Mass Politics to the Rise of Fascism, 1882–1922 (2001)
De Grand, Alexander. Italian Fascism: Its Origins and Development
Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed. 1922) comprises the 11th edition
plus three new volumes 30-31-32 that cover events 1911–1922 with
very thorough coverage of the war as well as every country and colony.
Included also in 13th edition (1926) partly online
full text of vol 30 ABBE to ENGLISH HISTORY online free
Gilmour, David.The Pursuit of Italy: A History of a Land, Its Regions,
and Their Peoples (2011). excerpt
Ginsborg, Paul. A History of Contemporary Italy, 1943–1988 (2003).
excerpt and text search
Lyttelton, Adrian. Liberal and Fascist Italy: 1900–1945 (Short
Oxford History of Italy) (2002) excerpt and text search
McCarthy, Patrick ed.
Italy since 1945 (2000)
Smith, D. Mack (1997). Modern Italy: A Political History. Ann Arbor:
The University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-10895-6.
Toniolo, Gianni. An Economic History of Liberal Italy, 1850–1918
Toniolo, Gianni, ed. The Oxford Handbook of the Italian Economy since
Unification (Oxford University Press, 2013) 785 pp. online review;
another online review
Williams, Isobel. Allies and
Italians under Occupation:
Southern Italy, 1943–45 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). xiv + 308 pp.
Zamagni, Vera. The Economic History of Italy, 1860–1990 (1993) 413
pp. ISBN 0-19-828773-9.
Azzi, Stephen Corrado (1993). "The Historiography of Fascist Foreign
Policy". Historical Journal. 36 (1): 187–203.
doi:10.1017/s0018246x00016174. JSTOR 2639522.
Bernhard, Patrick (2014). "Renarrating Italian Fascism: New Directions
in the Historiography of a European Dictatorship". Contemporary
European History. 23 (1): 151–163.
Boardman, Jonathan. Umbria: A Cultural History (Signal Books; 2012).
Charts a complex history of literature, religion, art, migration, and
Dipper, Christof (2015). "Italian Contemporary Historiography. A
Snapshot". Vierteljahrshefte Fur Zeitgeschichte. 63 (3): 351.
Ferrari, Paolo (2015). "The memory and historiography of the First
World War in Italy". Comillas Journal of International Relations. 2:
Foot, John. Italy's Divided Memory (Palgrave Macmillan; 262 pages;
2010). Describes regional, political, and other divisions in Italian
public memory of history.
Musi, Aurelio (2013). "Modern
Italy in French, English and American
historiography". Nuova Rivista Storica. 97 (3): 909–952.
Pasquino, Gianfranco. "Political History in Italy," Journal of Policy
History (2009) 21#3 pp 282–97, on 20th century historians; covers
Italian politics after World War II, and works of Silvio Lanaro,
Aurelio Lepre, and Nicola Tranfaglia. Also discusses rise of the
Italian Communist party, the role of the Christian Democrats in
Italian society, and the development of the Italian parliamentary
Ramm, Agatha (1972). "The
Risorgimento in Sicily: Recent Literature".
English Historical Review. 87 (345): 795–811.
doi:10.1093/ehr/lxxxvii.cccxlv.795. JSTOR 562204.
Rao, Anna Maria. "Napoleonic Italy: Old and New Trends in
Historiography." in Ute Planert, ed., Napoleon’s Empire (Palgrave
Macmillan UK, 2016). pp 84–97.
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