List of historic states of Italy

Italy, up until the Italian unification in 1861, was a conglomeration of city-states, republics, and other independent entities. The following is a list of the various Italian states during that period. Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the arrival of the Middle Ages (in particular from the 11th century), the Italian peninsula was divided into numerous states, many of these states consolidated into major political units that balanced the power on the Italian peninsula: the Papal States, the Venetian Republic, the Republic of Florence, the Duchy of Milan, the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of Sicily. Unlike all the other Italian states, the republics of Venice and Genoa, thanks to their maritime powers, went beyond territorial conquests within the Italian peninsula, conquering various regions across the Mediterranean and Black Seas.[1][2]

Archaic Italy

Ethnic groups of Italy (as defined by modern borders) in 400 BC

Classical Italy

Roman Empire under Caesar Augustus

Early Middle Ages

High Middle Ages

Political map of Italy in the year 1000
Political map of Southern Italy in the year 1112

States in Central and Northern Italy

States in Southern Italy

States of the Holy Roman Empire

Sardinian Judicates

Late Middle Ages

Italy in 1454, right after the Peace of Lodi.
The Italian Peninsula in 1499.

Major States

Minor States

After the Italian Wars (1494–1559)

Map of Italy in 1559 after the Treaties of Cateau-Cambrésis. Possessions and Viceroyalties of the Spanish Habsburgs in yellow. Imperial fiefs in Italy of the Austrian Habsburgs in red borders.

Under the terms of the Peace of Cateau Cambrésis in 1559, at the end of the Italian Wars, Sardinia, the Kingdom of Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples (inclusive of the State of Presidi) and the Duchy of Milan were under direct control of the Spanish Empire.[4][5] While the other Italian states remained with their governments unchanged. Some of the Italian states continued to be ruled by powerful dynasties, such as Tuscany by the Medici, Mantua by the Gonzaga and Ferrara and Modena by the Este.[6]

Major states

Minor states

After the Wars of Succession of the 18th century

Political map of Italy in the year 1789

Following the European wars of succession of the 18th century and the extinction of the House of Medici, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was ruled by the Habsburg-Lorraine. Some minor states in Central and Northern Italy, such as Parma and Mantua, passed to the Austrian monarchy. Southern Italy passed to a cadet branch of the House of Bourbon, known as House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies. While other states such as Genoa, Savoy, Modena and Lucca remained with their governments unchanged.

Major States

Minor states

Their populations and other vital statistics stood as follows in the late 18th century:[7]

  • Kingdom of Naples (including Sicily): 6,000,0000 (400,000 in Naples), army of 60,000 to 80,0000, 2 ships of the lines and some frigates
  • Republic of Venice: 3,500,000 (140,000 in the city of Venice itself), standing army and navy of 30,000, 12-15 ships of at least 54 guns plus frigates and brigs
  • Kingdom of Sardinia: 2,900,000 (2,400,000 on the mainland and 500,000 on the island), 12-15 fortified cities and towns (largest being Turin at 80,000), standing army of 25,000, which could be raised to 50,000 in a time of war and 100,000 with militia
  • The Papal States: 2,400,000 (140,000 in the city of Rome), standing army of 6,000 to 7,000
  • Austrian Lombardy (Duchy of Milan, Duchy of Mantua, and minor territories): 1,100,000 (40,000 in the city of Milan itself)
  • Grand Duchy of Tuscany: 1,000,000 (80,000 in Florence), standing army of 6,000, navy of 3 frigates
  • Republic of Genoa: 500,000 (100,000 in the city of Genoa itself)
  • Duchy of Parma: 500,000 (40,000 in the city of Parma itself), standing army of 2,500 to 3,000
  • Duchy of Modena: 350,000 (20,000 in the city of Modena itself), standing army of 5,000 to 6,000
  • Republic of Lucca: 100,000

Total: 18.3 million

During Napoleonic times (1792–1815)

Political map of Italy in the year 1810

Sister republics of Revolutionary France

In personal union with France

Client states of the First French Empire

Other states

From the Restoration to the Unification

Political map of Italy in the year 1843

Following the defeat of Napoleon's France, the 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. The Congress also determined the end of two millenary republics: Genoa was annexed by the then Savoyard Kingdom of Sardinia, and Venice was incorporated with Milan into a new kingdom of the Austrian Empire.

At the time, the struggle for Italian unification was perceived to be waged primarily against the Habsburgs, since they directly controlled the predominantly Italian-speaking northeastern part of present-day Italy and were the most powerful force against the Italian unification. The Austrian Empire vigorously repressed nationalist sentiment growing on the Italian peninsula, as well as in the other parts of Habsburg domains.


Kingdom of Italy in 1870, showing the Papal States, before the Capture of Rome


Italian Partisan Republics

The Italian Partisan Republics were the provisional state entities liberated by Italian partisans from the rule and occupation of Nazi Germany and the Italian Social Republic in 1944 during the Second World War. They were universally short-lived, with most of them being reconquered by the Wehrmacht within weeks of their formal establishments and re-incorporated into the Italian Social Republic.

  • Republic of Alba (10 October - 2 November)
  • Republic of Alto Monferrato (September - 2 December)
  • Republic of Alto Tortonese (September - December)
  • Republic of Bobbio (7 July - 27 August)
  • Republic of the Cansiglio (July - September)
  • Republic of Carnia [it] (26 September - 10 October)
  • Republic of Carniola [it] (2 February - March 1944)
  • Republic of Oriental Friuli (30 June - September)
  • Republic of Pigna (IM) (18 September 1944 - 8 October 1944)
  • Republic of the Langhe (September - November)
  • Republic of Montefiorino [it] (17 June - 1º August)
  • Republic of Ossola (10 September - 23 October)
  • Republic of Torriglia [it] (26 June - 27 November)
  • Republic of the Ceno Valley (10 June - 11 July)
  • Republic of the Enza Valley and the Parma Valley (June - July)
  • Republic of the Maira Valley and the Varaita Valley (June - 21 August)
  • Republic of the Taro Valley [it] (15 June - 24 July)
  • Republic of the Lanzo Valley (25 June - September)
  • Republic of the Sesia Valley (11 June - 10 July)
  • Republic of Varzi (19/24 September - 29 November)

See also