Timeline of Italian history

This is a timeline of Italian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Italy and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Italy. See also the list of Prime Ministers of Italy.

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries.
Millennia: 1st BC · 1st–2nd · 3rd

Centuries: 5th BC · 4th BC · 3rd BC · 2nd BC · 1st BC · See also · Further reading

8th century BC

Year Date Event
706 BC Spartan immigrants found the colony of Taranto in Southern Italy.

7th century BC

Year Date Event
630 BC The lyric poet Stesichorus is born in Calabria in Southern Italy.

6th century BC

Year Date Event
540 BC The Ancient Greek city of Elea is founded in Southern Italy.

5th century BC

Year Date Event
474 BC The Battle of Cumae occurs, resulting in a Siracusani and Cumaean victory against the Etruscans and ending Etruscan expansion in Southern Italy.

4th century BC

Year Date Event
304 BC The Greek tyrant Agathocles takes the title of king of Sicily.

3rd century BC

Year Date Event
289 BC Agathocles dies, and democracy is restored in Syracuse due to this wish to not have his sons succeed him as king.

2nd century BC

Year Date Event
135 BC The First Servile War, an unsuccessful slave revolt against the Roman Republic, begins.
104 BC The Second Servile War, another failed slave rebellion against the Romans, begins.

1st century BC

Year Date Event
91 BC The assassination of a tribune named Marcus Livius Drusus helps spark the Marsic War.
88 BC The Marsic War ends in a Roman military victory, though the Italians were granted rights.
73 BC The Third Servile War begins; one of the participants is the famous Thracian gladiator known as Spartacus.[1]
71 BC Like the other Servile Wars, the Third Servile War ends in a Roman victory against the uprising slaves.

Centuries: 1st · 2nd · 3rd · 4th · 5th · 6th · 7th · 8th · 9th · 10th · 11th · 12th · 13th · 14th · 15th · 16th · 17th · 18th · 19th · 20th

1st century

Year Date Event
79 The eruption of Mount Vesuvius spews massive amounts of volcanic gas, ash, and molten rock. Several Roman settlements, including Pompeii and Herculaneum, are annihilated and buried under colossal amounts of ashfall deposits and rock fragments.

4th century

Year Date Event
365 21 July An earthquake near Crete with a magnitude of at least eight affects the Eastern Mediterranean. Combined with a subsequent tsunami, residents of Sicily are among the casualties.

5th century

Year Date Event
476 Flavius Odoacer becomes the first King of Italy.
493 An Ostrogoth known as Theoderic the Great succeeds Odoacer as King of Italy.

6th century

Year Date Event
529 St. Benedict of Nursia establishes his first monastery at the hill of Monte Cassino.
568 The Lombards establish the Kingdom of the Lombards on the Italian Peninsula.

7th century

Year Date Event
661 Brothers Perctarit and Godepert share the ruling power of King of the Lombards.

8th century

Year Date Event
774 10 July Charlemagne is crowned in Pavia and becomes King of the Lombards.

9th century

Year Date Event
813 Charlemagne crowns his son Louis the Pious of Aquitaine as co-emperor.
814 28 January Charlemagne dies in Aachen of pleurisy.

10th century

Year Date Event
961 25 December Otto I becomes King of Italy.
973 7 May Otto I succumbs to a fever and dies.
980 25 December Otto II becomes King of Italy.
983 7 December Otto II dies due to an outbreak of malaria.
996 12 April Otto III becomes King of Italy.

11th century

Year Date Event
1002 23 January Otto III dies of a sudden fever in a castle near Civita Castellana.
1046 Italian feudal ruler and militant noblewoman Matilda of Tuscany is born.
1087 In the Mahdia campaign of 1087, seafaring vessels from the Italian maritime republics of Genoa and Pisa attack the North African town of Mahdia, burning Mahdia's Muslim fleet in the harbour.

12th century

Year Date Event
1115 24 July Matilda of Tuscany dies of gout.

13th century

Year Date Event
1170 Leonardo of Pisa, an Italian mathematician more famously known as Fibonacci, is born.
1202 Fibonacci's Liber Abaci, a book on arithmetic, helps to popularise the Hindu–Arabic numeral system and brings the idea of the integer sequence known as the Fibonacci number to locations outside India.

14th century

Year Date Event
1377 Filippo Brunelleschi, a famous Italian architect, is born in Florence, Italy.

15th century

Year Date Event
1494 The Italian War of 1494–98, or First Italian War, begins, marking the first major battle in the Italian Wars.
1498 The First Italian War ends in a victory for the League of Venice.
1499 The Italian War of 1499-1504, or Second Italian War, begins.

16th century

Year Date Event
1504 The Second Italian War ends in a Spanish victory.
1551 The Italian War of 1551-59, or Last Italian War begins.
1559 3 April The Last Italian War ends with a peace treaty signed between Henry II of France and Philip II of Spain at Le Cateau-Cambrésis.

17th century

Year Date Event
1678 4 March Antonio Vivaldi, a famous Italian Baroque composer, is born in Venice.

18th century

Year Date Event
1725 Antonio Vivaldi publishes a now-famous set of concertos entitled The Four Seasons as part of a set of twelve concerti called Il cimento dell'armonia e dell'inventione.
1741 28 July Without a sustainable source of income or royal protection, the impoverished Antonio Vivaldi dies of infection during the night.
1796 Napoleon Bonaparte and his French Army of Italy invade Italy.
17 November Napoleon defeats József Alvinczi at the Battle of Arcole.[2]

19th century

Year Date Event
1809 Napoleon Bonaparte occupies Rome, exiles Pope Pius VII to Savona and then to France, and takes the Papal States' art collections to the Louvre.
1821 A revolt in Piedmont, led by Annibale Santorre di Rossi de Pomarolo, takes place in an attempt to remove the Austrians from Italy and unify the Italian territories under the House of Savoy.
1830 A series of uprisings along the Italian Peninsula occur, calling out for the merging of the different territories in the peninsula into one unified nation.
1831 Spring Austrian troops gradually crush political resistance along the Italian peninsula.
July The political movement Young Italy is formed by activist Giuseppe Mazzini, promoting insurrection in Italian states and Austrian lands to help unify Italy.[3]
1834 28 May Mazzini is arrested in Solothurn and exiled from Switzerland.
1846 Pope Pius IX is elected, and his support of the unification of Italy helps to further popularise the movement.[4]
1848 Fuelled by the revolutionary republican ideology of Mazzini, uprisings lead to revolutionary governments being briefly installed in Rome, Milan (see Cinque giornate di Milano), and Venice, and the establishment of constitutions in the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the Papal States, and Tuscany. Takeover by reactionary forces and the defeat of Piedmont-Sardinia by Austria lead to a failure in the First Italian War of Independence.
1849 9 February A Roman Republic is declared following an election.
March Mazzini arrives in Rome and is appointed Chief Minister of the Roman Republic.
1856 The Congress of Paris, a peace conference held between Austria, France, Prussia, the Kingdom of Great Britain, the Ottoman Empire, the Russian Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia, is held to make peace after the Crimean War.
Italian statesman Camillo Benso of Cavour disparages Austria's intrusive presence in the Italian Peninsula.
1858 Napoleon III and Cavour meet secretly in France, in Plombières-les-Bains, where they make the Plombières Agreement. They decide that Cavour will provoke rebellion in Austrian territories in Northern Italy so as to tempt Austria into making a military decision.
1859 After having allied with France, under the lead of Cavour, the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia provokes Austria to war and secure the takeover of Milan and Lombardy (Second Italian War of Independence). Plebiscites subsequently guarantee the annexation of Tuscany, Emilian dukedoms, and Papal-controlled central Italy. Savoy and Nice are ceded to France in exchange for recognition. (to 1860)
1860 The Expedition of the Thousand takes place, in which volunteers led by Giuseppe Garibaldi set out to conquer the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, which collapses. The Papal States are reduced to Latium.
1861 17 March Most of the states of the Italian Peninsula are united under King Victor Emmanuel II of the Savoy dynasty, crowned King of Italy.
1865 The capital of Italy is moved from Turin to Florence, in order to approach it to Rome, considered the natural capital, but still under Papal rule and French protection.
1866 20 June – 12 August The Third Italian War of Independence, between the Kingdom of Italy and Austrian Empire, occurs, resulting in no true victory by either side.
3 October After some heavy losses, like Custoza and Lissa, and few wins (most of them by Giuseppe Garibaldi), thanks to Prussian victories the Kingdom of Italy gains Veneto and western Friuli by the Treaty of Vienna. Trento and Trieste remains "irredeemed".
1870 20 September Following the defeat of Napoleon III in the French-Prussian War, Italian forces occupy Rome, which becomes the new capital of Italy the following year. The Italian Army breaks into the walls of Rome by the breach of Porta Pia.
2 October Rome replaces Florence as the capital city of Italy.
1878 3 January King Victor Emmanuel II of Italy dies.
9 January Victor Emmanuel II's son, Umberto I, takes the throne.
1882 5 July The bay of Assab (Eritrea) becomes the first official Italian colonial possession in Africa.
1889 Somalia is established as the second Italian colony in Africa.
1895 21-year-old Guglielmo Marconi invents the radio telegraph.
1896 The French Lumière brothers publicly screen some of the earliest films in the history of cinema in various locations in Italy.

20th century

Year Date Event −1900-the population is about 32.4 million 1900 King Umberto is assassinated.
1906 The poet Giosuè Carducci is the first Italian to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.
1907 Maria Montessori establishes her first Casa dei Bambini in Rome.
Ernestina Prola becomes the first Italian woman to get a driving licence.
1908 Europe's worst earthquake, centered on the strait of Messina, kills up to 200,000 people in Sicily and southern Italy.
1911 Italy defeats the Ottoman Empire and gain control over Libya and the Rhodes archipelago.
1915 Although formerly aligned with Germany and Austria-Hungary, Italy enters World War I on the side of the Anglo-French Allies. After the war, Italy expands his borders well beyond Trento and Trieste, including Bolzano/Bozen and Fiume/Rijeka.
1919 Enzo Ferrari, having no other job perspective, eventually settles for a job at a small car company called CMN (Costruzioni Meccaniche Nazionali) redesigning used truck bodies into small passenger cars.
1922 After the lack of a compromise between socialists and Christian-democrats, and the March on Rome of the fascist militias, Benito Mussolini is named by the King as prime minister of Italy.
1926 Mussolini assumes dictatorial powers.
The novelist Grazia Deledda is the first Italian woman who is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
1929 3 January Italian film director Sergio Leone is born.
1934 The Italian national football team wins its first FIFA World Cup.
1936 Following the invasion of Ethiopia, Italy is expelled from the League of Nations. Mussolini and Hitler signed the Rome-Berlin Axis.
1938 The Italian national football team wins its second FIFA World Cup.
Enrico Fermi is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on induced radioactivity.
1940 Italy enters World War II by invading Greece from Albania, which had been occupied in 1939.
1941 While they are confined on the island of Ventotene by the Fascist regime, Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi compile the Ventotene Manifesto, entitled "Towards a Free and United Europe". With his Manifesto, Spinelli gives the major contribution to the formulation of the Federalist thinking, and is later one of the main figures of the European Parliament.
1943 Nazi troops occupy Northern Italy, release Mussolini from prison and have him leading the puppet Italian Social Republic. Anglo-American troops fight in the following two years to free the whole peninsula. The Italian Resistance plays a growing role in harassing German occupation forces.
25 July After the Allied occupy Sicily, the government of Mussolini is overthrown by the same Great Council of Fascism.
8 September General Badoglio signs the armistice.
1945 Alcide De Gasperi becomes Prime Minister, holding the office until 1953. He is considered one of the founding fathers of the European integration.
25 April Milan is finally liberated on 25 April 1945. Resistance fighters catch Benito Mussolini as he flees north in the hope of reaching Switzerland. They shot him along with his lover, Clara Petacci. The corpses are brought back to Milan and hang in a gas station in Piazzale Loreto.
1946 10 June Birth of the Italian Republic: Italy becomes a republic after the results of a popular referendum. The Constituent Assembly is elected to draft the Republican Constitution. Women are granted suffrage too.
1947 Primo Levi publishes If This Is a Man, based on his experiences in Auschwitz.[5]
1948 18 April The general election sanctions the supremacy of the Christian Democracy party, and the belonging of Italy to the Western side.
24 November The film Bicycle Thieves is released.[6]
22 December The Constitution of the Italian Republic, agreed between Christian-democrats, Socialists and Communists, comes into force.
1949 Italy joins NATO.
1952 Italy becomes a founding member of the European Coal and Steel Community.
1953 10 February The national oil company ENI (Ente Nationale Idrocarburi) is established, with Enrico Mattei as his first President. The ENI will become a strong actor in Italian foreign policy towards Arab countries.
1954 The state-owned RAI broadcasts the first Italian official TV program.
1955 The Messina Conference achieves the basic agreement on the European Economic Community
Italy joins the United Nations, along with fifteen other states, after years of stalemate due to opposed vetoes between the United States and the Soviet Union.
1957 The Treaty of Rome founds the European Economic Community.
1958 22 September Singer-songwriter Andrea Bocelli is born in Lajatico.
1959 Valentino opens his first atelier, in Rome on Via Condotti.
1960 Italian film director Federico Fellini shoots La Dolce Vita, an episodic study of life along Via Veneto in Rome.
Rightist riots in Reggio Calabria against the regional capital being set in Catanzaro.
Leftist riots in Genoa and Reggio Emilia against the Tambroni Cabinet led by Fernando Tambroni, a coalition between DC and post-fascist Italian Social Movement.
25 August The 1960 Summer Olympics opens in Rome.
1963 The DC switches to a strategy of alliance with the socialist PSI. Electric energy is nationalised and the high school system is reformed.
30 June Ciaculli massacre: a bomb intended for the mafia boss Salvatore Greco "Ciaschiteddu" explodes in Ciaculli, killing seven police and military officers.
9 October Two thousand people die when a landslide causes the overtopping of the Vajont Dam north of Venice; the flooding wave completely wipes out several villages.
1964 12 September Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars, the first of three films in his Dollars Trilogy of Spaghetti Westerns starring Clint Eastwood, is released.
An attempted coup (Piano Solo) is defused.
Michele, the son of Mastro Pietro Ferrero, modifies his father's recipe for the "supercrema gianduja" (invented in 1946) and renames it Nutella.
1965 18 November The film For a Few Dollars More is released.
1966 15 December The film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is released. The film is now considered to be one of the greatest films of all time.
1969 The "Hot Autumn" of 1969 features occupations of factories and universities, and violence between right and left-wing students.
The "Years of Lead" are characterized by bombings and shootings, a "strategy of tension" purportedly aimed at avoiding the "historic compromise" between DC and PCI.
12 December Far-right terrorists bomb the Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura in Milan (Piazza Fontana bombing), killing 17 people and wounding 88. Four more bombs detonate without victims. Investigations are blurred, and no responsible party has been held accountable.
1970 Another rightist coup attempt is defused (golpe Borghese).
1971 October The band Pink Floyd films performances for their songs "Echoes", "One of These Days", and "A Saucerful of Secrets" in Pompeii. The footage was included in their concert documentary film Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii.
1974 12 May A referendum asking voters to repeal a government law allowing divorce is defeated. The result of Italian divorce referendum, 1974 is the retention of the law allowing divorce.
1975 22 November The controversial Italian-French art film Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, is first released.
1978 16 March Kidnapping of the former Prime Minister Aldo Moro by the Red Brigades.
9 May Moro is killed after the government refuses to negotiate with the Communist group. The "historic compromise" is stopped and Giulio Andreotti steps down from government. The Red Brigades begin falling apart.
1980 Umberto Eco publishes The Name of the Rose, a medieval murder mystery.
1981 9 July The fictional Italian video game character Mario, known then as "Jumpman", first appears in the game Donkey Kong.
1982 The Italian national football team wins its third FIFA World Cup in Spain.
1983 Bettino Craxi (PSI) is premier of a PSI-DC coalition until 1987. Under his government, a television reform allows Berlusconi to build up his media empire. The Concordat with the Vatican is revised, and salary indexation is abolished to curb inflation from 12% to 5%, but public debt raises up to 90% of GDP.
14 July Mario Bros., the first game to officially feature the Italian video game character Mario, is released (both Donkey Kong and Mario Bros. were made by Nintendo R&D1, a defunct Japanese video game company owned by Nintendo). The game is also the first to feature Mario's younger brother Luigi, who is also of Italian nationality.
1984 At the European Parliament elections, in the wake of the death of the leader Giovanni Berlinguer, the PCI gains 33.3% of votes and overcomes the DC as first party in Italy.
1985 Franco Modigliani receives the Nobel Prize for Economics for his work on household savings and the dynamics of financial markets.
1986 Italy took its most visible steps toward fighting organized crime, convicting 338 Mafia members of criminal activities.
Italy-US relations are strained by the Libyan retaliation after the American bombing of Tripoli, and by the Sigonella crisis following the kidnapping of the Achille Lauro liner ship by the Palestinian Liberation Front.
The neurologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, together with Stanley Cohen, receives the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of Nerve growth factor (NGF). Since 2001, she has also served in the Italian Senate as a Senator for Life.
1987 In the wake of the Chernobyl disaster, a referendum put off the use of nuclear plants. The three working plants are slowly decommissioned. The Green party establishes itself in Italy.
1989 30 April Sergio Leone dies of a heart attack.
1990 Italy hosts the World Football Cup, but loses in the semi-final against Argentina at penalties.
1991 19 September A man found frozen high in the Alps is discovered, and is later found to be a Neolithic hunter who lived approximately 5,000 years ago.
1992 Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone, two Italian anti-Mafia magistrates, are assassinated by the mafia.
Mani pulite (clean hands), a nationwide judicial investigation into political corruption and influence-peddling, leads to the fall and dissolution of the Christian Democracy, and of the Socialist party, which had been the most influential political parties in Italy since 1948. Craxi flees to Tunisia to avoid prosecution.
1994 27 April Media magnate Silvio Berlusconi becomes Prime Minister for a rightist coalition. However, the pact between northern autonomists and southern post-fascists collapsed late in the year, and Berlusconi is forced to resign as prime minister.
1 September The Italian film Il Postino: The Postman premieres at the Venice Film Festival.
1996 17 May Romano Prodi becomes Prime Minister for the Olive Tree coalition, voted into power with the external support of the communists.
1997 Valentino Rossi wins his first World Championship at the 1997 Grand Prix motorcycle racing season.
Dario Fo, an Italian avant-garde playwright, manager-director, and actor-mime, is awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. A theatrical caricaturist with a flair for social agitation, he has often faced government censure.
20 December Roberto Benigni's film Life Is Beautiful is released.
1998 20 skiers (of which 3 Italians) die in the Cavalese cable car disaster, when a US EA-6B Prowler military jet severed the cables supporting the Cermis mountain cable car. Pilots will be later found not guilty by an American court.
1999 21 March The film Life is Beautiful is nominated for seven Academy Awards. The film wins the awards for Best Actor (the first for a male performer in a non-English-speaking role, and only the third overall acting Oscar for non-English-speaking roles), the Best Original Dramatic Score and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
Italy takes part in the Kosovo War, a NATO-led aerial operation against Milosevic's Serbia to prevent genocide in Kosovo. The premier is Massimo D'Alema, of the post-communist Partito Democratico della Sinistra.
Italy is accepted in the eurozone.

21st century

Year Date Event
2001 11 June Berlusconi's second term as Prime Minister begins.
20 July Violence erupts at the G8 demonstrations in Genoa. The police is accused of severe abuses; one demonstrator is shot dead.
October Italy takes part in the Afghanistan War.
2002 1 January The euro begins circulating as new official currency of Italy.
2003 March Italy takes part in the Iraq War, although populations show disapproval through peace flags.
2005 4 March Nicola Calipari, Italian secret agent, is shot dead by friendly fire from an US patrol during the rescue of journalist Giuliana Sgrena from kidnappers in Baghdad. US later refused the extradition of the identified shooter, Mario Lozano.
2006 The Italian national football team wins its fourth FIFA World Cup in Germany.
Roberto Saviano publishes Gomorra, where he describes and denounces the system of Camorra criminal organization around Naples and its ramifications.
10 February The 2006 Winter Olympics are held in Turin (to 26 February).[7]
17 May Prodi's second term as Prime Minister begins.
September Italy's engagement is pivotal in the deployment of the UNIFIL peace force after the 2006 Lebanon War.
2008 Berlusconi's third term as Prime Minister begins.
2009 6 April An earthquake strikes L'Aquila, causing the death of 307 people and making about 65,000 homeless.

See also


  1. Frontinus, Stratagems, Book I, 5:20–22 and Book VII:6.
  2. James Harvey Robinson and Charles A. Beard, The Development of Modern Europe: An Introduction to the Study of Current History, vol. 1 (Boston: Ginn & Company, 1907), 290, http://www.questia.com/read/6387433.
  3. Hunt, Lynn, Thomas R. Martin, and Barbara H. Rosenwein. The Making of the West, Volume C Since 1740: Peoples and Cultures. Boston: Bedford/Saint Martin's, 2008.
  4. "History of Italy: Blueprints for Italy (1831–1848)". HistoryWorld. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
  5. Levi, Primo. Note to the Theatre version of If This Is a Man, pp. 23–25.
  6. "The Bicycle Thief (1949)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  7. "Olympic Bid Election History—Voting Records and Results". GamesBids. Archived from the original on 21 February 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2007.

Further reading

External links

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