Against the backdrop of the il Tricolore, Italy's flag, we see a fragmented Italian Peninsula. This is how Italy appeared, politically, before the country was unified in 1871.
A Country is not a mere territory;
the particular territory is only its foundation.
The Country is the idea which rises upon
that foundation; it is the sentiment of love,
the sense of fellowship which binds together
all the sons of that territory.
One of Italy’s “Fathers of the Fatherland”
During most of the 19th century, Italy was not the unified country that it is today. Beyond areas controlled by the Catholic Church—known as Papal States—the entire “boot” of Italy was a fragmented region.
Some of the fragmented parts of Italy were controlled by monarchs—like Napoleon—who were from other parts of Europe. These areas of Italy alternated between local and foreign rule.
The northern part of Italy, for example, was variously controlled by Austria, Spain, France and the Holy Roman Empire. Despite the differences in which rulers were dominating Italy, at any given time, the people themselves shared a common religion.
They did not, however, share a common language or common customs.
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