Italian Unification

Italian States

Separate Italian states (Initial arrangement)

1730 - May 1796

The Kingdom of Sardinia (Piedmont and Sardinia) – ruled by House of Savoy
Genoa (port) – part of the Republic of Genoa, politically separate from Kingdom of Sardinia
Lombardy and Venetia – under Austrian influence since being part of the Empire in the 1790s
Republic of Venice – lost trading power by the 1790s
The Central Duchies (Tuscany, Modena and Parma) – under Austrian influence, Tuscany governed by House of Lorraine since 1730s
The Kingdom of Naples – ruled absolutely by the Bourbons, poorest region

Napoleonic control of northern Italy (I)

May 1796 - April 1799

Political changes:
Cisalpine Republic created (Lombardy, Modena, Bologna, Romagna, Ferrara)
Republic of Genoa -> Republic of Liguria (under French control)
Deposed Pope Pius VI (1798) and set up Roman Republic with constitution modelled on the French one
Allowed Piedmont to retain its monarchy but Savoy and Nice given to France

Roman Republic set up under French control


Constitution modelled on French one

France hands Venice over to Austria

October 1798

Part of the Peace of Campo Formio, in return for Belgian territory

Piedmont annexed to France


Napoleonic control of northern Italy (II)

14 June 1800 - 1815

Central Duchies → Kingdom of Etruria


Later annexed to France

North-west regions of Italy incorporated into France


Included Piedmont, Parma and Liguria
These areas were exposed to reforms (Code Napoleon)

Cisalpine Republic → Kingdom of Italy


Napoleon declared himself king here

Napoleon's armies take over different parts of the Papal States

1805 - 1808

Kingdom of Naples ruled by Joseph (Napoleon's brother)


Napoleon declares that Rome would be incorporated into the French Empire


Victor Emmanuel I returns to Piedmont


Restored absolutist state

Lombardy returned to Austrian control


Ferdinand I restored in Naples


Central Duchies left under Austrian influence


Grand Duke Ferdinand III (brother of Austrian Emperor) became ruler of Tuscany, BUT allowed freedom of expression unlike the rest of Italy

Port and state of Genoa handed over to House of Savoy


Part of the Treaty of Vienna

Italian Events

France invades the Papal States

May 1796

Napoleon invades northern Italy

May 1796

Intended to remove Austria from the region. After several French victories Napoleon gained control of most of the north.

France invades Venice


Pope Pius VI deposed by France


Revolt in Naples against French rule


Thousands of middle class people killed for supporting "new order"

Russian/Austrian armies invade and defeat France

April 1799

Series of successful battles, but did not end French interest in Italy

Napoleon's army invades northern Italy

May 1800

Entered Milan and restored Cisalpine Republic, before confronting a larger Austrian army

Battle of Marengo

14 June 1800

Napoleon won against Austrian forces, ensured French control of northern Italy

Britain encouraged introduction of a constitution in Sicily


Sicily was not conquered by France and was dominated by Britain

France leaves Italy


Treaty of Vienna


Reflected Metternich's wishes:
Restored pre-1796 order, conservative
Recognised House of Savoy as Piedmontese rulers
Code Napoleon repealed

Tariffs reimposed on trade between Italian states


Church fully restored


British constitution in Sicily destroyed


Foreign Events

French Revolution


Absolute monarchy in France disappeared
Ideas of liberty promoted, frightened other European rulers

Prussia and Austria initiate war with France


Austrian involvement affected influenced areas of Italy (eg. Lombardy)

Second Coalition formed

December 1798

Coalition of anti-French states, intended to remove France from Italy with Russian and Austrian armies

Napoleon returns to France from Egypt

August 1799

Napoleon seizes political power in France

December 1799

Receives title of First Consul, planned new campaign in Italy

Napoleon exiled to St Helena