Italian Republic

Chronological History of the Birth of the Italian Republic

The history of the Italian Republic relates to events in Italian history that transpired since 1946, when Italy became a republic. As a result, the history of the Italian republic divides into two periods, known as the First and Second Republics.

History of the Italian Republic

From 1946 until 1994, with the fall of the Fascist state in Italy and World War II, Christian Democracy (DC), a broad-based Christian political party, dominated Italian politics and society. The Italian Communist Party headed the opposition from the late 1940s until 1991. (PCI).

During this time, Christian Democracy ruled without interruption, ruling every cabinet and supplying practically every Prime Minister. Moreover, it governed largely with the backing of small parties ranging from the centre-left to the centre-right, including the Italian Socialist Party (PSI), the Italian Democratic Socialist Party (PSDI), the Italian Republican Party (PRI), and the Italian Liberal Party (PLI). Except for the short-lived Historic Compromise, in which the PCI offered external support to a DC minority administration from 1976 to 1979, the Communist Party remained away from the government.

Italy Government Office
Credit: Blog

Political Disintegration

The political climate drastically altered in the early 1990s due to two significant shocks: the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the Tangentopoli corruption scandal, which lasted from 1992 to 1994.

The first resulted in the disintegration and splintering of the PCI and the splintering of the opposition. Still, the latter resulted in the demise of practically every established political party in Italy, including Christian Democracy, the PSI, PSDI, PRI, PLI, and others. Anti-establishment anger led to a referendum in 1993, allowing the electoral system to change from pure proportional representation to a majoritarian-leaning hybrid system.

Silvio Berlusconi, the media magnate, joined politics with his conservative Forza Italia party and won the 1994 general election, creating the Berlusconi I Cabinet. Over the next two decades, he rose to become one of Italy’s most powerful individuals, serving as Prime Minister from 2001 to 2006 and again from 2008 to 2011.

With the development of the new conservative right, the traditional centre and left merged to form the Olive Tree coalition, which included the post-communist Democrats of the Left and the Christian Democratic The Daisy, which formed the Democratic Party (PD) in 2007. They ran against Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition, including Forza Italia, the right-wing National Alliance, and the Northern League, a regionalist party from northern Italian republic.

After Berlusconi’s fourth administration fell apart in 2011, the technocratic Monti Cabinet came into being, which lasted until 2013. Due to persistent dissatisfaction, the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) and the Northern League rose to prominence (rebranded League, Lega). Following the Italian general elections in 2013 and again in 2018, grand coalition governments formed with the support of populist parties. The horrific economic and epidemic catastrophe of the COVID-19 pulls former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi to the cabinet of national unity.

Centuries Before

In the eighth century BCE, the Greeks were the first advanced culture to settle in Italy. They established colonies throughout the southern Italian coast and on the island of Sicily. The Phoenicians would do the same afterwards. A tiny agricultural settlement was growing on the west coast of Italy at the same period, in the 8th century BCE. It established Rome, which became one of the world’s major civilizations, Ancient Rome. See Ancient Rome for Kids for further information. Rome would establish the Roman Republic first, followed by the Roman Empire.

Its dominance would extend throughout most of Europe and the Mediterranean. Together with Greek culture, Rome would have a significant impact on the formation of much of today’s western civilization, including philosophy, art, and law. The Roman Empire divides into two halves in 395 CE: the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman Empire. Italy was a member of the Western Empire, which fell apart about 476 CE. Italy would have many minor city-states for the following many hundreds of years. The Forum of the Romans Italy became the home of the Italian Renaissance in the 1400s. During this time, artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo thrived.

Much of Italy wished to unite into a single country in the 1800s. Instead, Italy became a constitutional monarchy and an independent, undivided country in 1871.

Victor Emmmanuel II
Credit: Wikidata

A Chronology of Key Events

  • Italy became a nation-state under King Victor Emmanuel II in 1861.
  • 1915 – Italy joins the Allies in the First World War.
  • 1919 – As part of the postwar peace treaties, Italy takes over Trentino, South Tyrol, and Trieste from Austria-Hungary.
  • After three years of political and economic instability, Fascist leader Benito Mussolini won authority and instals an authoritarian regime in 1922.
  • Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935.
  • Benito Mussolini agreed with Nazi Germany in 1936.
  • Albania annexation in 1939.
  • 1940 – Italy joins the Second World War on the German side. In East Africa, Italian soldiers occupy British Somaliland.
  • The Allies attacked Sicily in 1943. Benito Mussolini is deposed, and a truce came with the Allies. Then, however, Germany declares war on Italy.
  • 1945 – Benito Mussolini is caught and killed by Italian partisans after being released from jail by Germans.

History of the Italian Republic (The Road to European Integration)

  • 1946 – A referendum occurred to decide if a republic should replace the monarchy.
  • Under the terms of the peace accord, Italy cedes territory and regions.
  • 1948: A new constitution! Christian Democrats win elections.
  • Italy joined the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951.
  • 1957 – Became a founding member of the European Economic Community.
  • Giulio Andreotti became Prime Minister in 1972, a position he will occupy seven times in the next 20 years.
  • 1976-78 – Communist election victories give them a say in policymaking.
  • Former Prime Minister Aldo Moro is kidnapped and assassinated by the Red Brigades, a left-wing armed organization. Abortion is now legal.
  • The bombing of the Bologna train station in 1980 killed 84 people related to right-wing militants.
  • Bettino Craxi became Italy’s first Socialist Prime Minister in 1983.
  • 1984: Roman Catholicism is the state religion.
  • Communists called themselves the Democratic Party of the Left in 1991.

History of the Italian Republic

  • Corruption investigation
  • 1992 – High-level corruption revelations fuel many years of arrests and investigations.
  • Giovanni Falcone, a top anti-Mafia prosecutor, his wife, and three bodyguards died in a vehicle bomb assault.
  • 1993 – Mr Craxi resigns as head of the Socialist Party due to a bribery controversy. He eventually escapes the country, gets convicted and condemned to jail in absentia, and dies in Tunisia in 2000.
  • In March of 1994, the Freedom Alliance was elected. However, after confrontations with anti-corruption magistrates and a struggle with trade unions over pension reform, the coalition comprises Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia, the Northern League, and the neo-Fascist National Alliance falls before the end of the year.
  • Lamberto Dini leads a technocratic administration in 1995-96. Budget austerity.
  • The Olive Tree alliance of the centre-left won the election in 1996. As a result, Romano Prodi was appointed Prime Minister.
  • Earthquakes devastated the Umbria area in 1997, inflicting major damage to the Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. Four people died.
  • Berlusconi makes a return
  • 2001 May/June – The general elections are won by a centre-right coalition led by Silvio Berlusconi of the Forza Italia party.
  • Berlusconi creates a new coalition government with the heads of two right-wing parties, the National Alliance’s Gianfranco Fini, the Northern League’s Umberto Bossi, and the pro-European Union Renato Ruggiero, who becomes foreign minister.
  • 2001 October – In the country’s first constitutional referendum since 1946, voters approve a key revision that grants greater autonomy to the country’s 20 regions in tax, education, and environmental policy.
  • The euro replaced the lira in January 2002.
  • In court, Berlusconi.

History of the Italian Republic

  • In November 2003, a multibillion-euro scam was discovered at the Parmalat food-manufacturing conglomerate. As a result, the corporation has been declared bankrupt.
  • In January 2004, the Constitutional Court overturned a provision that granted Mr Berlusconi and other top state officials protection from prosecution. As a result, Mr Berlusconi’s trial will begin in April, and he will be acquitted in December.
  • Parliament ratified the European Union’s constitution in April 2005.
  • Prodi comes in, then leaves.
  • Romano Prodi, the centre-left leader, won a close-fought general election in April 2006.
  • Police apprehended Italy’s most sought man and accused Sicilian mafia boss Bernardo Provenzano.
  • 2006 June – A national referendum rejects measures to increase the prime minister’s and regions’ authority. During Silvio Berlusconi’s presidency, he suggested modifications.
  • Hundreds of Italian troops departed for Lebanon in August 2006. As a result, Italy is on track to become the military’s largest donor to the UN-mandated force.
  • A no-confidence vote caused Mr Prodi’s cabinet to resign in January 2008.
  • Berlusconi has returned.
  • Berlusconi won general elections in April 2008, winning a third term as Prime Minister after two years in opposition.
  • 2008 November – Italy is officially deemed to be in recession after two straight quarters of negative growth.
Credit: BBC

History of the Italian Republic

  • Earthquakes affected cities in the hilly Abruzzo area in April 2009, killing hundreds and displacing thousands.
  • In October 2009, the Constitutional Court overturned a statute that provided Prime Minister Berlusconi protection while in office.
  • Coalition schisms
  • Mr Berlusconi’s coalition lost its majority in the lower chamber of Parliament in August 2010 as more than 30 legislators defected from his People of Freedom party.
  • A Milan court orders Mr Berlusconi to stand trial in April on allegations of abuse of authority and paying for sex with an underage prostitute.
  • September 2011: Parliament receives final approval to a 54 billion euro (£47 billion; $74 billion) austerity plan. The plan includes a commitment to balance the budget by 2013.
  • Berlusconi resigns
  • 2011 November – Mr Berlusconi resigns as Italy’s debt burden grows after his government fails to achieve an absolute majority in the Chamber of Deputies during a budget vote. Former European Union Commissioner Mario Monti has formed a technocratic administration.
  • Parliament approved Mr Monti’s austerity plan of 33 billion euros (£27 billion; $43 billion) of budget cutbacks in December 2011. Measures to boost taxes and combat tax evasion also find a place in the package.
  • January 2012 – The government publishes a deregulation edict to prevent restrictive behaviours, minimize protectionism, and promote competition.
  • Berlusconi was found guilty.
  • Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to a year in prison in March 2013 for an illegal wiretap. However, he is still at large pending the result of the appeals process.
  • After Pier Luigi Bersani steps down as PD leader, Enrico Letta of the Democratic Party (PD) becomes prime minister, leading a grand coalition including Silvio Berlusconi’s PdL.
  • Berlusconi’s conviction affirmed (History of the Italian Republic)

Timeline of Italian Republic

  • August 2013 – Italy’s top court affirms Silvio Berlusconi’s conviction for tax evasion in October 2012, marking the former prime minister’s first decisive conviction. Because of his age, he is sentenced to community service rather than prison and is barred from holding public office for two years.
  • October 2013 – The governor of Sicily proclaims a state of emergency after hundreds of migrants perish in shipwrecks while attempting to enter Europe from Africa.
  • In November 2013, the Senate expelled Mr Berlusconi from Parliament due to his conviction for tax evasion, stripping him of his immunity from arrest.
  • Matteo Renzi, the new Democratic Party leader and mayor of Florence, created a new left-right coalition government and revealed proposals for massive economic and political transformation in February 2014.
  • Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wins an appeal against his June 2013 conviction for paying for sex with an underage prostitute.
  • August 14, 2014 – The Senate, or upper house of Parliament, votes to support Prime Minister Renzi’s plans to reduce the chamber’s size and authority dramatically.
  • May 2015 – Parliament accepts an election change that grants the largest party an automatic majority of seats in Parliament.
  • August 2016 – An earthquake shocks central Italy’s hilly Apennine region, inflicting major damage and fatalities.
  • Renzi offered his resignation as Prime Minister in November 2016 when his centrepiece constitutional reform programme lost in a referendum. Paolo Gentiloni, a Democratic Party supporter, succeeds him.
  • 2017 July – EU regulators accept a public rescue of Monte Dei Paschi, the world’s oldest bank. It was at the centre of Italy’s financial crisis.
  • In non-binding referendums, Veneto and Lombardy, two rich northern regions, vote heavily favouring increased autonomy.
  • The rise of populists

History Timeline of the Italian Republic

  • 2018 June – Following elections in March, Western Europe’s first populist coalition government takes power, with plans to slash taxes, increase social spending, and change European Union finances and immigration laws.
  • 2018 December – Due to EU concerns, the government’s budget expenditure projections must be scaled back.
  • 2019 January – Data suggest that the economy entered a recession in the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • 2019 August – Matteo Salvini, the head of the right-wing League party, resigns from the cabinet to precipitate early elections. However, the radical 5-Star Movement and the centre-left Democratic Party have agreed to form a new government without the League, with law professor Giuseppe Conte remaining prime minister.
  • In Emilia-Romagna, the League Party fails to dislodge the left in a pivotal election in January 2020.
  • 2021 February – Mario Draghi, an economist and former Bank of Italy governor, creates a national unity government to pull Italy out of the COVID pandemic crisis. Because of the severity of the crises, President Mattarella appointed a new Prime Minister of a grand coalition government, former European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, who led a cabinet with the support of all political parties in Parliament, except for the right-wing party Fratelli d’Italia.
  • The immunization effort against the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated because of a significant supply of vaccine doses (85% population over-12 vaccinated at the end of December 2021). In addition, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) formed. It is a document that outlined Italy’s intended use of Next Generation EU funding and loans.
Credit: PlanetWare


Italian Republic in the twenty-first century was significantly richer and more developed than it had been a century before. However, many issues persisted, including ongoing political insecurity and corruption, historic but enduring economic and cultural divides between the north and south. New difficulties arose posed by immigration and European economic and political union. These issues dominated Italy’s political and economic agenda in the early twenty-first century.

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