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In archaic times, ancient Greeks, Etruscans
Etruscans
and Celts
Celts
established settlements in the south, the centre and the north of Italy respectively, while various Italian tribes and Italic peoples inhabitated the Italian peninsula
Italian peninsula
and insular Italy. The Italic tribe of the Latins
Latins
formed the city of Rome
Rome
as a Kingdom, which eventually became a Republic that united Italy
Italy
by the third century BC and emerged as the dominant power of Europe
Europe
and the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
as a consequence of the military victories of generals such as Scipio, Aemilius Paullus, Scipio Aemilianus, Gaius Marius, Lucius Sulla, Pompey
Pompey
and Julius Caesar. In 27 BC, Augustus
Augustus
established the Roman Empire
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
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
Rome
was granted religious primacy with the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 and the West collapsed amid barbarian invasions in 476, when Odoacer
Odoacer
deposed Romulus Augustulus. During the early middle ages, the Italian peninsula
Italian peninsula
was conquered by the Goths, the Byzantines and the Lombards, until Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne
Charlemagne
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 powers of Italy
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
Friedrich Barbarossa
in the Battle of Legnano: by the 12th century Italy
Italy
was organized in independent city-states. The crusades launched by Pope Urban II
Pope Urban II
and his successors proved to be successful for the maritime republics: Italy
Italy
first experienced the Commercial Revolution, which caused the European economy to shift from agriculture to trade. Northern Italy
Northern Italy
saw the birth of banking and the appearance of the first universities of the west. Venice
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 of the Renaissance
Renaissance
in Florence, Tuscany, in the 14th century. The Renaissance
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
Galileo
made important contributions in their fields between the Trecento
Trecento
and the Seicento. The period was also characterised by the activities of the condottieri in the Italian Renaissance
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
Habsburg Spain
as the ruler of the South of Italy
South of Italy
and Milan, while the Duchy of Florence and the Venetian Republic
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
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
Europe
and led to the consolidation of large states, while Italy
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
Baroque
and Neoclassicism. Following a series of wars of succession in Europe, Lombardy
Lombardy
went to Habsburg
Habsburg
Austria, who later acquired also Tuscany and Venice, and the South passed to the Spanish Bourbons. Following the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
in 1815, the Risorgimento
Risorgimento
movement emerged to unite Italy
Italy
and liberate it from foreign control. After the unsuccessful attempt of 1848, the Italian Wars
Italian Wars
of Independence against Austria
Austria
in the North, the Expedition of the Thousand
Expedition of the Thousand
against the Spanish Bourbons
Spanish Bourbons
in the South, and the capture of Rome
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
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
Italy
joined the Entente with France and Britain, despite having been a member of the Triple Alliance with Germany
Germany
and Austria-Hungary, and gave a fundamental contribution to the victory of the conflict as one of the so-called Big Four. Italy
Italy
completed the unification by acquiring Trento
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 side of Germany
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, NATO
NATO
and the Group of Six
Group of Six
(later G8 and G20).

Contents

1 Prehistory

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 Renaissance

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
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

8 Liberal Italy
Italy
(1861–1922)

8.1 Depretis 8.2 Crispi 8.3 Italy
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 9.2 Religion 9.3 Foreign politics 9.4 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

10.1.1 Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
aid from the United States

10.2 The economic miracle 10.3 The Years of Lead 10.4 Tangentopoli
Tangentopoli
scandal 10.5 The Second Republic (1992–present)

11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 Further reading

14.1 Surveys 14.2 Geography and environment 14.3 Ancient 14.4 Medieval 14.5 Renaissance 14.6 Early modern 14.7 Risorgimento 14.8 Since 1860 14.9 Historiography

15 External links

Prehistory[edit] Main article: prehistoric Italy

Matera, which dates from Palaeolithic
Palaeolithic
10th millennium BCE, (region of Basilicata).

Mesolithic petroglyph in Valcamonica, Lombardy. The largest collection of prehistoric petroglyphs in the world (10th millennium BCE).

In prehistoric times, the Italian peninsula
Italian peninsula
was rather different from its current shape. During the last Ice Age, the islands of Elba
Elba
and Sicily
Sicily
were connected to the mainland. The Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
was far smaller, since it started at what is now the Gargano
Gargano
peninsula, and what is now the bay of Venice
Venice
was a fertile plain with a humid climate. The arrival of the first hominins was 850,000 years ago at Monte Poggiolo.[1] The presence of the Homo neanderthalensis
Homo neanderthalensis
has been demonstrated in archaeological findings near Rome
Rome
and Verona
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.[2] Remains of the later prehistoric age have been found in Liguria, Lombardy
Lombardy
(stone carvings in Valcamonica) and in Sardinia
Sardinia
(nuraghe). The most famous is perhaps that of Ötzi
Ötzi
the Iceman, the mummy of a mountain hunter found in the Similaun
Similaun
glacier in South Tyrol, dating to c. 3000 BCE (Copper Age).

Pyramid of Monte d'Accoddi
Monte d'Accoddi
is an archaeological site in northern Sardinia, Italy, located in the territory of Sassari
Sassari
near Porto Torres. 4th millennium BCE.

Ötzi
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 Alps
Alps
have been identified. A first Indoeuropean migration occurred around the mid-3rd millennium BCE, from population who imported copper smithing. The 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
Beaker culture
and by the use of bronze smithing, in the Padan Plain, in Tuscany and on the coasts of Sardinia
Sardinia
and Sicily. In the mid-2nd millennium BCE, a third wave arrived, associated with the Apenninian civilization and the Terramare culture
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. Nuragic civilization[edit] Main article: Nuragic civilization

Su Nuraxi
Su Nuraxi
nuraghe, Sardinia, Italy, 2nd millennium BCE.

Giants of Mont'e Prama, Sardinia, Italy, early 1st millennium BCE.

Located in Sardinia
Sardinia
and southern Corsica, the nuraghe civilization lasted from the early Bronze Age
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
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. Iron Age[edit] Main article: Iron Age Italy Italy
Italy
gradually enters the proto-historical period in the 8th century BCE, with the introduction of the Phoenician script
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.[3] Etruscan civilization[edit] Main article: Etruscan civilization

Map of Etruscan civilisation.

Etruscan fresco, 5th century BCE.

The Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization
flourished in central Italy
Italy
after 800 BCE. The origins of the Etruscans
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.[4] 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
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
Etruscans
were probably an indigenous population. Among ancient populations, ancient Etruscans
Etruscans
are found to be closest to a Neolithic population from Central Europe.[5][6] It is widely accepted that Etruscans
Etruscans
spoke a non-Indo-European language. Some inscriptions in a similar language have been found on the Aegean island of Lemnos. Etruscans
Etruscans
were a monogamous society that emphasized pairing. The historical Etruscans
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
Cerveteri
in Lazio.

Etruscan pendant with swastika symbols, Bolsena, Italy, 700–650 BCE. Louvre Museum.

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
Magna Graecia
in the south. The mining and commerce of metal, especially copper and iron, led to an enrichment of the Etruscans
Etruscans
and to the expansion of their influence in the Italian peninsula
Italian peninsula
and the western Mediterranean
Mediterranean
sea. Here their interests collided with those of the Greeks, especially in the 6th century BCE, when Phoceans
Phoceans
of Italy
Italy
founded colonies along the coast of France, Catalonia and Corsica. This led the Etruscans
Etruscans
to ally themselves with the Carthaginians, whose interests also collided with the Greeks.[7][8] Around 540 BCE, the Battle of Alalia
Battle of Alalia
led to a new distribution of power in the western Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Sea. Though the battle had no clear winner, Carthage
Carthage
managed to expand its sphere of influence at the expense of the Greeks, and Etruria
Etruria
saw itself relegated to the northern Tyrrhenian Sea
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
Carthage
was defeated by a coalition of Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
cities led by Syracuse.[7][8] A few years later, in 474, Syracuse's tyrant Hiero defeated the Etruscans
Etruscans
at the Battle of Cumae. Etruria's influence over the cities of Latium
Latium
and Campania
Campania
weakened, and it was taken over by Romans and Samnites. In the 4th century, Etruria
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 north provinces. Etruscia
Etruscia
was assimilated by Rome
Rome
around 500 BCE.[7][8] Magna Graecia[edit] Main article: Magna Graecia

Greek temple of Hera, Selinunte, Sicily.

Ancient Greek colonies and their dialect groupings in Southern Italy.[9]   NW Greek   Achaean   Doric   Ionian

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 homeland, Greeks
Greeks
began to settle in Southern Italy
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
Libya
and Massalia (Marseille). They included settlements in Sicily
Sicily
and the southern part of the Italian peninsula. The Romans called the area of Sicily
Sicily
and the foot of Italy
Italy
Magna Graecia (Latin, “Great Greece”), since it was so densely inhabited by the Greeks. The ancient geographers differed on whether the term included Sicily
Sicily
or merely Apulia
Apulia
and Calabria
Calabria
Strabo
Strabo
being the most prominent advocate of the wider definitions. With this colonization, Greek culture
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
Latin
alphabet, which became the most widely used alphabet in the world. Many of the new Hellenic cities became very rich and powerful, like Neapolis (Νεάπολις, Naples, "New City"), Syracuse, Acragas, and Sybaris
Sybaris
(Σύβαρις). Other cities in Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
included Tarentum (Τάρας), Epizephyrian Locri
Locri
(Λοκροί Ἐπιζεφύριοι), Rhegium (Ῥήγιον), Croton (Κρότων), Thurii
Thurii
(Θούριοι), Elea (Ἐλέα), Nola (Νῶλα), Ancona
Ancona
(Ἀγκών), Syessa (Σύεσσα), Bari (Βάριον), and others. After 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
Gladiator War
is a notable suspension of imperial control). It was held by the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
after the fall of Rome
Rome
in the West and even the Lombards
Lombards
failed to consolidate it, though the centre of the south was theirs from Zotto's conquest in the final quarter of the 6th century. Roman period[edit] Main article: Ancient Rome Roman Kingdom[edit] Main articles: Founding of Rome
Rome
and Roman Kingdom

According to legend, Rome
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
Roman Kingdom
began with the city's founding, traditionally dated to 753 BCE with settlements around the Palatine Hill
Palatine Hill
along the river Tiber
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
Rome
had a ford where the Tiber
Tiber
could be crossed. The Palatine Hill
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
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
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.[10] 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[11] and who were grandsons of the Latin
Latin
King, Numitor of Alba Longa. Roman Republic[edit] 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,[12] 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.[13] 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.[14] 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 power.[15] 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
Gauls
back, led by Camillus. The Romans gradually subdued the other peoples on the Italian peninsula, including the Etruscans.[16] The last threat to Roman hegemony in Italy
Italy
came when Tarentum, a major Greek colony, enlisted the aid of Pyrrhus of Epirus in 281 BCE, but this effort failed as well.[17][18] In the 3rd century BCE Rome
Rome
had to face a new and formidable opponent: the powerful Phoenician city-state of Carthage. In the three Punic Wars, Carthage
Carthage
was eventually destroyed and Rome
Rome
gained control over Hispania, Sicily
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
Mediterranean
Sea.[19][20] 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
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, Pompey. The First Triumvirate
First Triumvirate
("three men"), had satisfied the interests of these three men: Crassus, the richest man in Rome, became richer; Pompey
Pompey
exerted more influence in the Senate; and Caesar held consulship and military command in Gaul.[21] 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
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
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 the Ides of March
Ides of March
by the Liberatores.[22] 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 with general Mark Antony
Mark Antony
and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, Caesar's best friend,[23] 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.[24] 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 and Mark Antony
Mark Antony
broke out. Octavian annihilated Egyptian forces in the Battle of Actium
Battle of Actium
in 31 BCE. Mark Antony
Mark Antony
and Cleopatra committed suicide, leaving Octavianus the sole ruler of the Republic. Roman Empire[edit] Further information: Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and Roman Italy

The Roman Empire
Roman Empire
at its greatest extent under Trajan
Trajan
in CE 117.

The Colosseum
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
Augustus
assumed absolute powers.[25][26] The Senate granted Octavian a unique grade of Proconsular imperium, which gave him authority over all Proconsuls (military governors).[27] 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
Gladiators
entertainments that would have been offered at the games.

Under Augustus's rule, Roman literature grew steadily in the Golden Age of Latin
Latin
Literature. Poets like Vergil, Horace, Ovid
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
Augustus
also continued the shifts on the calendar promoted by Caesar, and the month of August is named after him.[28] Augustus' enlightened rule resulted in a 200 years long peaceful and thriving era for the Empire, known as Pax Romana.[29]

The Roman Empire
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
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
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
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
Mediolanum
to Ravenna. In 476, the last Western Empreror Romulus Augustulus
Romulus Augustulus
was deposed by Odoacer; for a few years Italy
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 centuries later. Middle Ages[edit] Main article: Italy
Italy
in the Middle Ages

Italian Lombard kingdom (781–1014).

Emirate
Emirate
of Sicily
Sicily
(831–1072).

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
Lombards
seized Ravenna, ending the Byzantine presence in central Italy. Facing a new Lombard offensive, the Papacy appealed to the Franks
Franks
for aid.

The Frankish King Chlothar II
Chlothar II
fighting the Lombards.

In 756 Frankish forces defeated the Lombards
Lombards
and gave the Papacy legal authority over much of central Italy, thus establishing the Papal States. In 800, Charlemagne
Charlemagne
was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire by the Pope in Saint Peter's Basilica. After the death of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
(814), the new empire soon disintegrated under his weak successors. There was a power vacuum in Italy
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
Umayyad Caliphate
and the Abbasid Caliphate. In the North, there was a rising power of communes. In 852, the Saracens took Bari
Bari
and founded an emirate there. Islamic rule over Sicily
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
Europe
until the end of the medieval era. In the north, a Lombard League
Lombard League
of communes launched a successful effort to win autonomy from the Holy Roman Empire, defeating Emperor Frederick Barbarossa
Frederick Barbarossa
at the Battle of Legnano
Battle of Legnano
in 1176. In the south, the Normans
Normans
occupied the Lombard and Byzantine possessions, ending the six century old presence of both powers in the peninsula. The few independent city-states were also subdued. During the same period, the Normans
Normans
also ended Muslim rule in Sicily. In 1130, Roger II of Sicily
Sicily
began his rule of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. Roger II was the first King of Sicily
Sicily
and had succeeded in uniting all the Norman conquests in Southern Italy
Southern Italy
into one kingdom with a strong centralized government. In 1155, Emperor Manuel Komnenos
Manuel Komnenos
attempted to regain Southern Italy
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
Sicily
was claimed by the German Hohenstaufen Dynasty. The Kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
would last under various dynasties until the 19th century.

Castel del Monte, built in 1240–50 by Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
Frederick II.

Italy's Naval Jack, featuring the coats of arms of the four major Maritime Republics. Clockwise from upper left: Venice, Genoa, Pisa, Amalfi.

Between the 12th and 13th centuries, Italy
Italy
developed a peculiar political pattern, significantly different from feudal Europe
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 Renaissance.[30] Italian towns had appeared to have exited from Feudalism, so that their society was based on merchants and commerce.[31] Even northern cities and states were also notable for their merchant republics, especially the Republic of Venice.[32] Compared to feudal and absolute monarchies, the Italian independent communes and merchant republics enjoyed relative political freedom that boosted scientific and artistic advancement.[33] Thanks to their favorable position between East and West, Italian cities such as Venice
Venice
became international trading and banking hubs and intellectual crossroads. Milan, Florence
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 organization.[33] During the same period, Italy
Italy
saw the rise of numerous Maritime Republics, the most notable being Venice, Genoa, Pisa
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 Crusades. Venice
Venice
and Genoa
Genoa
soon became Europe's main gateways to trade with the East, establishing colonies as far as the Black Sea
Black Sea
and often controlling most of the trade with the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
and the Islamic Mediterranean
Mediterranean
world. The county of Savoy
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. Renaissance[edit] Main article: Italian Renaissance Italy
Italy
was the main center of the Renaissance, whose flourishing of the arts, architecture, literature, science, historiography and political theory influenced all of Europe.[34][35] By the late Middle Ages, central and southern Italy, once the heartland of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
and Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
respectively, was far poorer than the north. Rome
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
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 city-states of Italy
Italy
expanded greatly during this period and grew in power to become de facto fully independent of the Holy Roman Empire.

The Vitruvian man
Vitruvian man
by Leonardo
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.

The Santa Maria del Fiore
Santa Maria del Fiore
cathedral in Florence, which has the biggest brick dome in the world,[36][37] and is considered a masterpiece of Italian architecture and world architecture.

Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, ca. 1468.

The Black Death
Black Death
in 1348 inflicted a terrible blow to Italy, killing perhaps one third of the population.[38] 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 Humanism
Humanism
and Renaissance
Renaissance
(15th–16th centuries) when Italy
Italy
again returned to be the center of Western civilization, strongly influencing the other European countries with Courts like Este in Ferrara
Ferrara
and De Medici
De Medici
in Florence. The Renaissance
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
Italy
of intellectuals fleeing the crumbling Eastern Roman Empire
Roman Empire
at this time also played a significant part. The Italian Renaissance
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 Renaissance
Renaissance
popes. The Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
peaked in the late 15th century as foreign invasions plunged the region into turmoil. The Renaissance
Renaissance
ideals first spread from Florence
Florence
to the neighbouring states of Tuscany such as Siena
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
Italian language
came to predominate throughout the region, especially in literature. Literature, philosophy and science[edit] Accounts of Renaissance
Renaissance
literature usually begin with Petrarch
Petrarch
(best known for the elegantly polished vernacular sonnet sequence of the Canzoniere
Canzoniere
and for the craze for book collecting that he initiated) and his friend and contemporary Boccaccio
Boccaccio
(author of the Decameron). Famous vernacular poets of the 15th century include the renaissance epic authors Luigi Pulci (Morgante), Matteo Maria Boiardo
Matteo Maria Boiardo
(Orlando Innamorato), and Ludovico Ariosto
Ludovico Ariosto
(Orlando Furioso). Renaissance
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
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
Poliziano
and the Platonist philosopher Marsilio Ficino
Marsilio Ficino
made extensive translations from both Latin
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
Petrarch
and Giovanni Boccaccio
Boccaccio
of the language. Leonzio Pilato made an almost word for word translation of Homer's works into Latin
Latin
for Giovanni Boccaccio.[39][40][41] In the early 16th century, Baldassare Castiglione with the Book of the Courtier laid out his vision of the ideal gentleman and lady, while Niccolò Machiavelli
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 and ethics.[42][43] Architecture, sculpture and painting[edit] Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
painting exercised a dominant influence on subsequent European painting (see Western painting) for centuries afterwards, with artists such as Giotto
Giotto
di Bondone, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Leonardo
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 Cathedral, 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
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 regression for Italy
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. Incessant warfare[edit]

Italian states in 1494.

The Battle of San Romano
The Battle of San Romano
by Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello
(ca. 1438–40).

In the 14th century, Northern Italy
Northern Italy
and upper Central Italy
Central Italy
were divided into a number of warring city-states, the most powerful being Milan, Florence, Pisa, Siena, Genoa, Ferrara, Mantua, Verona
Verona
and Venice. High Medieval Northern Italy
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. Florence
Florence
took Pisa
Pisa
in 1406, Venice
Venice
captured Padua
Padua
and Verona, while the Duchy of Milan annexed a number of nearby areas including Pavia
Pavia
and Parma. The first part of the Renaissance
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 Germany
Germany
and 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
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.[44] At sea, Italian city-states
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
Venice
proved to be a more powerful adversary, and with the decline of Genoese power during the 15th century Venice
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 Venetian Renaissance
Renaissance
opened. On land, decades of fighting saw Florence, Milan
Milan
and Venice
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[edit]

The Battle of Pavia
Pavia
by Ruprecht Heller, 1529.

Italy
Italy
and the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
in 1547.

The foreign invasions of Italy
Italy
known as the Italian Wars
Italian Wars
began with the 1494 invasion by France that wreaked widespread devastation on Northern Italy
Northern Italy
and ended the independence of many of the city-states. Originally arising from dynastic disputes over the Duchy of Milan
Milan
and 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 Pavia
Pavia
(1525) 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 Italy
Italy
thus inaugurating a long Spanish hegemony over the Peninsula.[45] 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
Apulia
and Abbruzzi had been sacked. Worst of all was the 6 May 1527 Sack of Rome
Rome
by Spanish and German troops that all but ended the role of the Papacy as the largest patron of Renaissance
Renaissance
art and architecture. The long Siege of Florence
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 industries of Lombardy
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.[46] Early Modern Italy
Italy
(1559 to 1814)[edit] Main article: Early Modern Italy The history of Italy
Italy
in the Early Modern period
Early Modern period
was characterized by foreign domination and economic decline. Nonetheless, following the Italian Wars
Italian Wars
(1494 to 1559), Italy
Italy
saw a long period of relative peace, first under Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain
(1559 to 1713) and then under Habsburg Austria
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 states. The 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[edit]

Physician attire for protection from the Bubonic plague or Black death, 1656.

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 discoveries of Galileo
Galileo
in the field of astronomy and physics and the flourishing of the Baroque
Baroque
style in architecture and painting, Italy experienced overall economic decline. Effectively, in spite of Italy
Italy
having given birth to some great explorers such as Cristopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci
Amerigo Vespucci
and Giovanni da Verrazzano, the discovery of the New World
New World
undermined the importance of Venice
Venice
and other Italian ports as commercial hubs by shfting Europe's center of gravity westward towards the Atlantic.[47] 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 of Masaniello").[48] The Black Death
Black Death
returned to haunt Italy
Italy
throughout the century. The plague of 1630 that ravaged northern Italy, notably Milan
Milan
and Venice, claimed possibly one million lives, or about 25% of the population.[49] The plague of 1656 killed up to 43% of the population of the Kingdom of Naples.[50] 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.[51] By one estimate, while in 1500 the GDP of Italy was 106% of the French GDP, by 1700 it was only 75% of it.[52] The 18th century[edit] The War of the Spanish Succession
War of the Spanish Succession
(1701–14) was triggered by the death without issue of the last Habsburg
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
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 Italy
Italy
(Milan, Naples
Naples
and Sardinia) from Spain to Austria, while Sicily
Sicily
was ceded to the Duchy of Savoy. However, Spain tried again to retake territories in Italy
Italy
and to claim the French throne in the 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
Sicily
with Austria, for the island of Sardinia, after which he was known as the King of Sardinia. The Age of Napoleon[edit]

Italian states in 1796.

Further information: Italian campaigns of the French Revolutionary Wars At the end of the 18th century, Italy
Italy
was almost in the same political conditions as in the 16th century; the main differences were that Austria
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
Naples
and Sicily), and that the dukes of Savoy
Savoy
(a mountainous region between Italy
Italy
and France) had become kings of Sardinia
Sardinia
by increasing their Italian possessions, which now included Sardinia
Sardinia
and the north-western region of Piedmont. This situation was shaken in 1796, when the French Army of Italy
Italy
under Napoleon invaded Italy, with the aims of forcing the First Coalition to abandon Sardinia
Sardinia
(where they had created an anti-revolutionary puppet-ruler) and forcing Austria
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
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
Veneto
in 1797. Here occurred the Veronese Easters, an act of rebellion against French oppression, that tied down Napoleon for about a week. Napoleon conquered most of Italy
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
Genoa
the city became a republic while its hinterland became the Ligurian Republic. The Roman Republic
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
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.[53] In 1805, after the French victory over the Third Coalition
Third Coalition
and the Peace of Pressburg, Napoleon recovered Veneto
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
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,[54] exiling the Pope first to Savona and then to France. After Russia, the other states of Europe
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.[55] 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, dividing Italy
Italy
between Austria
Austria
(in the north-east and Lombardy), the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Two Sicilies
(in the south and in Sicily), and Tuscany, the Papal States
Papal States
and other minor states in the centre. However, old republics such as Venice
Venice
and Genoa
Genoa
were not recreated, Venice
Venice
went to Austria, and Genoa
Genoa
went to the Kingdom of Sardinia. On Napoleon's escape and return to France (the Hundred Days), he regained Murat's support, but Murat proved unable to convince the Italians
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, Genoa
Genoa
and Nice
Nice
came to be united, as did Sardinia
Sardinia
(which went on to create the State of Savoy), while Lombardy, Veneto, Istria
Istria
and Dalmatia
Dalmatia
were re-annexed to Austria. The dukedoms of Parma
Parma
and Modena re-formed, and the Papal States
Papal States
and the Kingdom of Naples
Naples
returned to the Bourbons. The political and social events in the restoration period of Italy
Italy
(1815–1835) led to popular uprisings throughout the peninsula and greatly shaped what would become the Italian Wars
Italian Wars
of Independence. All this led to a new Kingdom of Italy and Italian unification. Artz emphasizes the benefits the Italians
Italians
gained from the French Revolution:

For nearly two decades the Italians
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
Italians
had begun to be aware of a common nationality.[56]

Unification (1814 to 1861)[edit] Main article: Italian unification

Italian states (1815–1859).

The Risorgimento
Risorgimento
was the political and social process that unified different states of the Italian peninsula
Italian peninsula
into the single nation of Italy. 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
Franco-Prussian War
in 1871, though the last "città irredente" did not join the Kingdom of Italy
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 unification of Italy
Italy
under his rule.[57] 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, particularly Austria. At the time, the struggle for Italian unification
Italian unification
was perceived to be waged primarily against the Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
and the Habsburgs, since they directly controlled the predominantly Italian-speaking northeastern part of present-day Italy
Italy
and were the single most powerful force against unification. The Austrian Empire
Austrian Empire
vigorously repressed nationalist sentiment growing on the Italian peninsula, as well as in the other parts of Habsburg
Habsburg
domains. Austrian Chancellor Franz Metternich, an influential diplomat at the Congress of Vienna, stated that the word Italy
Italy
was nothing more than "a geographic expression."[58] 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
Italian unification
in 1860.

Giuseppe Mazzini.

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 Italian Catholics.[59] 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
Carbonari
movement spread into the Papal States, the Kingdom of Sardinia, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the 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
Carbonari
meeting. The society, however, continued to exist and was at the root of many of the political disturbances in Italy
Italy
from 1820 until after unification. The Carbonari
Carbonari
condemned Napoleon III
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
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 Italy.

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
Italy
could – and therefore should – be unified and formulated his program for establishing a free, independent, and republican nation with Rome
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
Italy
was the result of concerted efforts by Italian nationalists and monarchists loyal to the House of Savoy
Savoy
to establish a united kingdom encompassing the entire Italian Peninsula. The Kingdom of Sardinia
Sardinia
industrialized from 1830 onward. A constitution, the Statuto Albertino
Statuto Albertino
was enacted in the year of revolutions, 1848, under liberal pressure. Under the same pressure, the 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 Sardinia
Sardinia
lost. Garibaldi, a native of Nice
Nice
(then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia), participated in an uprising in Piedmont
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
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.[60] Garibaldi led the Italian republican drive for unification in southern Italy, but the northern Italian monarchy of the House of Savoy
Savoy
in the Kingdom of Piedmont- Sardinia
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
Rome
(deemed the natural capital of Italy), the kingdom had successfully challenged Austria
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. Southern Question[edit]

Carmine Crocco

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..."[61] Of course, there had to be some basis for singling out the South like Italy
Italy
did. The entire region south of Naples
Naples
was afflicted with numerous deep economic and social liabilities.[62] 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 crime rates.[63] 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
Basilicata
and northern Apulia, headed by the brigands Carmine Crocco
Carmine Crocco
and Michele Caruso.[64] 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
Milan
and Turin, and sent money home.[63] Liberal Italy
Italy
(1861–1922)[edit] Main article: Kingdom of Italy 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
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 offered 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 Italy
Italy
to annex Austrian-controlled Venice. King Emmanuel agreed to the alliance and the Third Italian War of Independence
Third Italian War of Independence
began. The victory against Austria
Austria
allowed Italy
Italy
to annex Venice. The one major obstacle to Italian unity remained Rome. In 1870, France started the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
and brought home its soldiers in Rome, where they had kept the pope in power. Italy
Italy
marched in to take over the Papal State. Italian unification
Italian unification
was completed, and the capital was moved from Florence
Florence
to Rome.[65]

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. The Sardinian Statuto Albertino
Statuto Albertino
of 1848, extended to the whole Kingdom of Italy
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 Prime Minister Marco Minghetti
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[edit] Depretis began his term as Prime Minister by initiating an experimental political idea called Trasformismo (transformism). The theory of 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 islands across Italy
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.[66] 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.[67] In 1887, Depretis was finally pushed out of office after years of political decline. Crispi[edit] Francesco Crispi
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.[68]

Crispi had been in the Depretis cabinet minister and was once a Garibaldi republican. Crispi's major concerns before during 1887–91 was protecting Italy
Italy
from Austria-Hungary. Crispi worked to build Italy
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 Germany
Germany
and Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
in 1882 which remained officially intact until 1915. While helping Italy
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 government.[69] 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.[70] 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
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 people.[71]

A 1905 Fiat
Fiat
advertisement.

The Italian government could not deal with the situation effectively due to the mass overspending of the Depretis government that left Italy
Italy
in huge debt. Italy
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 by insects. Italy
Italy
during that time prospered as the largest exporter of wine in Europe
Europe
but following the recovery of France in 1888, southern Italy
Italy
was overproducing and had to split in two which caused greater unemployment and bankruptcies.[72] In 1913 male universal suffrage was allowed. The Socialist Party became the main political party, outclassing the traditional liberal and conservative organisations. Starting from the last two decades of the 19th century, Italy developed its own colonial Empire. It took control of Somalia
Somalia
and Eritrea. Its attempt to occupy Ethiopia
Ethiopia
failed in the First Italo–Ethiopian War of 1895–1896. In 1911, Giovanni Giolitti's government sent forces to occupy Libya
Libya
and declared war on the Ottoman Empire which held Libya. Italy
Italy
soon conquered and annexed Tripoli
Tripoli
and the Dodecanese Islands. Nationalists advocated Italy's domination of the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
by occupying Greece as well as the Adriatic coastal region of Dalmatia
Dalmatia
but no attempts were made.[73] Italy
Italy
in World War I[edit] See also: Italian Front (World War I), Military history of Italy during World War I, and Italian Campaign (World War I) The First World War
First World War
(1914–1918) was an unexpected development that forced the decision whether to honor the alliance with Germany
Germany
and Austria. For six months Italy
Italy
remained neutral, saying that the Triple Alliance was only for defensive purposes. Italy
Italy
took the initiative in entering the war in spring 1915, despite strong popular and elite sentiment in favor of neutrality. Italy
Italy
was a large, poor country whose political system was chaotic, its finances were heavily strained, and its army was very poorly prepared.[74] The Triple Alliance meant little either to Italians
Italians
or Austrians – Vienna had declared war on Serbia without consulting Rome. Two men, Prime Minister Antonio Salandra
Antonio Salandra
and Foreign Minister Sidney Sonnino
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 Albania
Albania
a protectorate. Russia vetoed giving Italy
Italy
Dalmatia. Britain was willing to pay subsidies and loans to get 36 million Italians
Italians
as new allies who threatened the southern flank of Austria.[75] 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
Italians
opposed the war, including most Catholics. Reports from around Italy
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
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 party in Europe
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.[76][77]

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
Italy
amounted to 1,240,000.

Italy
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 Turkey. Italy
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
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.[78][79] 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 strongholds of Piedmont
Piedmont
and Lombardy. The government imposed high wage scales, as well as collective bargaining and insurance schemes.[80] 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.[81] Italy
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.[82] 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
Italy
did not receive other territories promised by the Pact of London, so this outcome was denounced as a "Mutilated victory". Fascist Italy, World War II
World War II
and Civil War (1922 to 1946)[edit] Rise of Fascism into power[edit] Main article: Italian Fascism

Italian kingdom in 1919.

Residents of Fiume
Fiume
cheering D'Annunzio and his Legionari, September 1919. At the time, Fiume
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
Italy
was denied the execution of wartime secret Treaty of London (1915)
Treaty of London (1915)
it had concorded with the Triple Entente;[83] wherein Italy
Italy
was to leave the Triple Alliance and join the enemy, by declaring war against the German Empire
German Empire
and Austria-Hungary, in exchange for territories ( Istria
Istria
and Dalmatia), at war’s end, upon which the Kingdom of Italy
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 Yugoslavia. At the same time, the so-called Biennio Rosso
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
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
Padan plain
and were accompanied by peasant strikes, rural unrests and guerilla conflicts between left-wing and right-wing militias.

Socialist leader Giacomo Matteotti
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
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.[citation needed] 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.[84]

Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
during the March on Rome
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 Italy
Italy
to Rome
Rome
(the 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
Italy
would form the government: Mussolini's Fascists, or the marxist Italian Socialist Party. He selected the Fascists. 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 candidates.

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.[85] In summary historian Stanley G. Payne says Fascism in Italy
Italy
was:

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 repressive.[86]

Religion[edit] 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.[87] Mussolini and the leading fascists were atheists but they recognized the opportunity of warmer relations with Italy's large Catholic element. The Lateran Accord of 1929 was a treaty that recognized the pope as the sovereign of the tiny Vatican City
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.[88] 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
Italy
and condemned "pagan worship of the State."[89] Foreign politics[edit]

Spanish Republican poster against "the Italian invader".

Italian irredentism
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
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
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
Austria
were not enough to compensate for the war's terrible costs; other countries especially Poland and Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
received much more and Italy
Italy
felt cheated. Third was Mussolini's promise to restore the pride and glory of the old Roman Empire.[90] Mussolini promised to bring Italy
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 Nostrum" ( Latin
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
Corfu
was briefly occupied by Italy, after the assassination of General Tellini in Greek territory. In 1925, Italy
Italy
forced Albania
Albania
to become a de facto protectorate. Relations with France were mixed. The Fascist regime planned to regain Italian-populated areas of France,[91] but with the rise of Nazism, it became more concerned of the potential threat of Germany
Germany
to Italy. Due to concerns of German expansionism, Italy
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. During the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
between the socialist Republicans and nationalists led by Francisco Franco, Italy
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
Italy
strongly pursued a policy of naval rearmament; by 1940 the Regia Marina
Regia Marina
was the fourth largest navy in the world.

From left to right, Chamberlain, Daladier, Hitler, Mussolini and Italian Foreign Minister Count Ciano
Count Ciano
at the signing of Munich Agreement.

Mussolini and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
first met in June 1934, as the issue of Austrian independence was in crisis. Mussolini sought to ensure that Nazi Germany
Germany
would not become hegemonic in Europe. To do this, he opposed German plans to annex Austria
Austria
after the assassination of Austrian Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss, and promised the Austrians military support if Germany
Germany
were to interfere. Public appearances and propaganda constantly portrayed the closeness of Mussolini and Hitler and the similarities between Italian Fascism
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
Italy
decided to leave the League on 11 December 1937 and Mussolini denounced the League as a mere "tottering temple".[92] 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 Germany
Germany
annexed Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
in March 1939, Mussolini decided to occupy Albania
Albania
to avoid becoming second-rate member of the Axis. On 7 April 1939, Italy
Italy
invaded Albania. As war approached in 1939, the Fascist regime stepped up an aggressive press campaign against France claiming that Italian people were suffering in France.[93] This was important to the alliance as both regimes mutually had claims on France, Germany
Germany
on German-populated Alsace-Lorraine
Alsace-Lorraine
and Italy
Italy
on the mixed Italian and French populated Nice
Nice
and Corsica. In May 1939, a formal alliance with Germany
Germany
was signed, known as the Pact of Steel. Mussolini felt obliged to sign the pact in spite of his own concerns that Italy
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.[94] Mussolini was repulsed by the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact
agreement where Germany
Germany
and the Soviet Union
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.[94] World War II
World War II
and the fall of Fascism[edit] Main article: Military history of Italy
Military history of Italy
during World War II When Germany
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
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
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
Italy
to get involved in the European conflict.[95] Mussolini and the Fascist regime took the advice to a degree and waited as France was invaded by Germany
Germany
in June 1940 (Battle of France) before deciding to get involved. As France's defeat was obviously inevitable, Italy
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 Marshal Philippe Pétain
Philippe Pétain
establishing Vichy France, that retained control over southern France and colonies. This decision angered the Fascist regime.[96] 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
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
Greeks
humiliatingly put Italian forces on the defensive.[97] Because of a putsch in Yugoslavia, Germany
Germany
began a Balkans Campaign which had as result the dissolution of this country and Greece's defeat. On that occasion, Italy
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 Alamein. By 1943, Italy
Italy
was losing on every front. By January of the year, half of the Italian forces fighting in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had been destroyed,[98] the African campaign had failed, the Balkans remained unstable, and Italians
Italians
wanted an end to the war.[99] In July 1943, the Allies invaded Sicily
Sicily
in an effort to knock Italy
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
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
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
Yugoslavia
and in the African Theatres of war shook Italy's new prestige mightily."[100] 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."[101] 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
Ethiopia
and the Spanish Civil War, it was totally unprepared for combat...in June 1940. At the time Italy
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."[102] 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."[103] Civil War, Allied advance and Liberation[edit] Further information: Italian Civil War
Italian Civil War
and Liberation of Italy

Italian Social Republic
Italian Social Republic
poster saying: " Germany
Germany
is truly your friend".

Soon after being ousted, Mussolini was rescued by a German commando in Operation Eiche ("Oak"). The Germans
Germans
brought Mussolini to northern Italy
Italy
where he set up a Fascist puppet state, the Italian Social Republic. Meanwhile, the Allies advanced in southern Italy. In September 1943, Naples
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
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 forces.

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
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
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 in Italy
Italy
on 2 May shortly before Germany
Germany
finally surrendered ending World War II
World War II
in Europe
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 Milan
Milan
where they were displayed to the public. Days later on 2 May 1945, the German forces in Italy
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
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 days later. Italian Republic (1946 to present)[edit] Main article: History of the Italian Republic Birth of the Republic[edit] 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
Italy
and Europe.

The aftermath of World War II
World War II
left Italy
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
Italy
officially became a republic. All male members of the House of Savoy
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 by Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
causing the Istrian exodus, while Italy
Italy
lost all its overseas possessions. 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
Marshall Plan
aid from the United States[edit] Italy
Italy
joined the Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
(ERP) and NATO. By 1950, the economy had largely stabilized and started booming.[105] In 1957 Italy
Italy
was a founding member of the European Economic Community, which later transformed into the European Union
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.[106] 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
Marshall Plan
funds. From this export base he later sold into a growing domestic market, where Fiat
Fiat
was without serious competition. Fiat
Fiat
managed to remain at the cutting edge of car manufacturing technology, enabling it to expand production, foreign sales, and profits.[107] The economic miracle[edit]

Fiat
Fiat
600, iconic middle-class dream car and status symbol of the 1950-60s.

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.[108] 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.[109] 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.[110] Between 1955 and 1971, around 9 million people are estimated to have been involved in inter-regional migrations in Italy, uprooting entire communities.[111] Emigration was especially directed to the factories of the so-called "industrial triangle", a region encompassed between the major manufacturer centers of Milan
Milan
and Turin
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 intellectuals like Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pier Paolo Pasolini
and film directors like Dino Risi, Vittorio De Sica
Vittorio De Sica
and Ettore Scola, that stigmatized selfishness and immorality that characterized miracle's years. The Years of Lead[edit] Main article: Years of lead (Italy)

Attack of the far-right terrorist group NAR at the Bologna
Bologna
railway station on 2 August 1980, which caused the death of 85 people.

Italy
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 republican ( Giovanni Spadolini
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
Pershing II
missiles in Italy. Tangentopoli
Tangentopoli
scandal[edit] From 1992 to 1997, Italy
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
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.[112][113] The Second Republic (1992–present)[edit]

Italy
Italy
today.

The 1994 elections also swept media magnate Silvio Berlusconi
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
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
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
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
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
Forza Italia
party and of Fini's National Alliance) against Walter Veltroni
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
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
Silvio Berlusconi
and Civic Choice
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 of Florence
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
Civic Choice
and Union of the Centre. The cabinet is the youngest government of Italy
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 ministers. See also[edit]

Duchy of Urbino Genetic history of Italy History of Capri History of Naples History of Rome History of Sardinia History of Sicily History of the Republic of Venice History of Trentino History of Tuscany History of Verona Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia List of consorts of Montferrat List of consorts of Naples List of consorts of Savoy List of consorts of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies List of consorts of Tuscany List of Italian queens List of kings of the Lombards List of Milanese consorts List of Modenese consorts List of monarchs of Naples List of monarchs of Sardinia List of monarchs of Sicily List of monarchs of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies List of Parmese consorts List of Presidents of Italy List of Prime Ministers of Italy List of queens of the Lombards List of Roman and Byzantine Empresses List of rulers of Tuscany List of Sardinian consorts List of Sicilian consorts List of State Archives of Italy List of viceroys of Naples List of viceroys of Sicily Milan Military history of Italy Politics of Italy

Notes[edit]

^ In Alexander's Generals Blaxland quotes 59,151 Allied deaths between 3 September 1943 and 2 May 1945 as recorded at AFHQ and gives the breakdown between 20 nationalities: United States 20,442; United Kingdom, 18,737; France, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal and Belgium 5,241; Canada, 4,798; India, Pakistan, Nepal 4,078; Poland 2,028; New Zealand 1,688; Italy
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, Swaziland, Seychelles, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Lebanon, Cyprus and the West Indies[104]

References[edit]

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in the Development of the Italian Car Industry in the 1950's" Business History Review 1996 70(2): 167-206. in Jstor ^ Modern Italy
Italy
1871–1995 by Martin Clark ^ Nicholas Crafts, Gianni Toniolo (1996). Economic growth in Europe since 1945. Cambridge University Press. p. 428. ISBN 0-521-49627-6.  ^ Ennio Di Nolfo (1992). Power in Europe? II: Great Britain, France, Germany, and Italy, and the Origins of the EEC 1952–57. Berlin: de Gruyter. p. 198. ISBN 3-11-012158-1.  ^ Paul Ginsborg (2003). A history of contemporary Italy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 219. ISBN 1-4039-6153-0.  ^ Sarah Waters, "‘Tangentopoli’ and the emergence of a new political order in Italy." West European Politics (1994): 17#1 pp:169–182. ^ Donald Sassoon, " Tangentopoli
Tangentopoli
or the democratization of corruption: Considerations on the end of Italy's first republic." Journal of Modern Italian Studies (1995) 1#1 pp: 124–143.

Further reading[edit] Surveys[edit]

Coppa, Frank J. ed. Dictionary of Modern Italian History (1985) Di Scala, Spencer M. Italy: From Revolution to Republic, 1700 to the Present. (1998) 436pp online edition Domenico, Roy. The Regions of Italy: A Reference Guide to History and Culture (2002) online edition Duggan, Christopher. The Force of Destiny: A History of Italy
Italy
Since 1796 (2008) excerpt and text search Hearder, Henry, and D. P. Waley; A Short History of Italy: From Classical Times to the Present Day (1963) online edition Holmes, George. The Oxford Illustrated History of Italy
Italy
(2001) excerpt and text search Killinger; Charles L. The History of Italy
Italy
(2002) online edition Smith, Denis Mack. Modern Italy: A Political History (1997)

Geography and environment[edit]

Armiero, Marco, and Marcus Hall, eds. Nature and History in Modern Italy
Italy
(Ecology and History Series) (Ohio University Press, 2010) 295 pp. ISBN 978-0-8214-1916-8 online review Arnone Sipari, Lorenzo, ed. Scritti scelti di Erminio Sipari sul Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo (1922–1933) (Nature and Parks series) (Trento, 2011) 349 pp. ISBN 978-88-97372-05-9 Delano-Smith, Catherine. Western Mediterranean
Mediterranean
Europe: A Historical Geography of Italy, Spain, and Southern France Since the Neolithic (1980)

Ancient[edit]

Cary, M. and H. H. Scullard. A History of Rome: Down to the Reign of Constantine
Constantine
(3rd ed. 1996), 690pp Forsythe, Gary. A Critical History of Early Rome
Rome
(2005) 400pp Grant, Michael. History of Rome
Rome
(1997) Heather, Peter. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians (2006) 572pp Scullard, H. H. A History of the Roman World 753–146 BCE (5th ed. 2002), 596pp

Medieval[edit]

Abulafia, David. Italy
Italy
in the Central Middle Ages: 1000–1300 (Short Oxford History of Italy) (2004) excerpt and text search Bullough, Donald A. Italy
Italy
and Her Invaders (1968) Herlihy, David, Robert S. Lopez, and Vsevolod Slessarev, eds., Economy, Society and Government in Medieval Italy
Italy
(1969) Hyde, J. K. Society and Politics in Medieval Italy
Italy
(1973) La Rocca, Cristina. Italy
Italy
in the Early Middle Ages: 476–1000 (Short Oxford History of Italy) (2002) excerpt and text search Smith, Denis Mack. Medieval Sicily, 800–1713 (1968) Tobacco, Giovanni. The Struggle for Power in Medieval Italy: Structures of Political Power (1989) Wickham, Chris. Early Medieval Italy: Central Power and Local Society, 400–1000 (1981)

Renaissance[edit]

Hale, John Rigby (1981). A concise encyclopaedia of the Italian Renaissance. London: Thames & Hudson. OCLC 636355191. . Kohl, Benjamin G. and Allison Andrews Smith, eds. Major Problems in the History of the Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
(1995). Najemy, John M. Italy
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)

Early modern[edit]

Cochrane, Eric. Italy, 1530–1630 (1988) online edition Carpanetto, Dino, and Giuseppe Ricuperati. Italy
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 Venturi, Franco. Italy
Italy
and the Enlightenment (1972) Woolf, Stuart. A History of Italy, 1700–1860 (1988)

Risorgimento[edit]

Beales. D.. and E. Biagini, The Risorgimento
Risorgimento
and the Unification of Italy
Italy
(2002) Clark, Martin. The Italian Risorgimento
Risorgimento
(Routledge, 2014) Collier, Martin, Italian Unification, 1820–71 (Heinemann, 2003); textbook, 156 pages Davis, John A., ed. (2000). Italy
Italy
in the nineteenth century: 1796–1900. London: Oxford University Press.  Farmer, Alan. "How was Italy
Italy
Unified?, History Review 54, March 2006 Hearder, Harry. Italy
Italy
in the Age of the Risorgimento
Risorgimento
1790 – 1870 (1983) excerpt Holt, Edgar. The Making of Italy
Italy
1815–1870, (1971). Laven, David. Restoration and Risorgimento: Italy
Italy
1796–1870 (2012) Pearce, Robert, and Andrina Stiles. Access to History: The Unification of Italy
Italy
1789–1896 (4th rf., Hodder Education, 2015), textbook. excerpt Riall, Lucy. Risorgimento: The History of Italy
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. doi:10.1080/13532949808454803.  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
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

Since 1860[edit] Further information: 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 (1982) Clark, Martin. Modern Italy: 1871–1982 (1984, 3rd edn 2008) De Grand, Alexander. Giovanni Giolitti
Giovanni Giolitti
and Liberal Italy
Italy
from the Challenge of Mass Politics to the Rise of Fascism, 1882–1922 (2001) De Grand, Alexander. Italian Fascism: Its Origins and Development (1989) Encyclopædia Britannica
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
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 (1990) 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
Italians
under Occupation: Sicily
Sicily
and Southern Italy, 1943–45 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013). xiv + 308 pp. online review Zamagni, Vera. The Economic History of Italy, 1860–1990 (1993) 413 pp. ISBN 0-19-828773-9.

Historiography[edit]

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. doi:10.1017/s0960777313000556.  Boardman, Jonathan. Umbria: A Cultural History (Signal Books; 2012). Charts a complex history of literature, religion, art, migration, and industry. Dipper, Christof (2015). "Italian Contemporary Historiography. A Snapshot". Vierteljahrshefte Fur Zeitgeschichte. 63 (3): 351. doi:10.1515/vfzg-2015-0021.  Ferrari, Paolo (2015). "The memory and historiography of the First World War in Italy". Comillas Journal of International Relations. 2: 117–126.  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
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 Republic. summary Ramm, Agatha (1972). "The Risorgimento
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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