What was Italy undergoing before it was unified?I understand that my chapter is called, "The unification of Italy," but all this time I thought that Italy was already unified.  Why was it...

What was Italy undergoing before it was unified?

I understand that my chapter is called, "The unification of Italy," but all this time I thought that Italy was already unified.  Why was it "divided" before, and how was it divided?

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Famous Austrian statesman Klemens von Metternich observed in the early nineteenth century that Italy was a "geographic expression." In many ways, he was correct. Since the days of Roman rule, Italy had been a collection of feudal duchies, city-states, and later foreign kingdoms. The short answer to why Italy was divided before the Risorgimento is that its very disunion, combined with the wealth of some of its city-states and the desire to influence papal politics, made it an attractive target for invasion by foreign powers.

In the years leading to the nineteenth-century Risorgimento, Italy was divided in several ways. The kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont controlled the island of Sardinia and the region of northern Italy known as Piedmont. They struggled for influence in the Piedmont and Lombardy with both Austria and France. Central Italy, on the other hand, was controlled by the Papal States, and Tuscany, Modena, and Parma were independent duchies. Southern Italy and Sicily, known as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, was under the control of Bourbon monarchs based in Sicily but with ties to France.

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