Italy, a land of art and history 

Italy has been, since antiquity, the centre of history, culture and art.

This rich treasury reveals countless tokens of the past and the many civilizations that have passed across this country, evidence of which is still inextricably woven into the present day landscape.

Highlights

  • Follow the footsteps of Julius Caesar as you walk through the Roman Forum and the Colosseum in Rome
  • Marvel at the craftsmanship behind the elaborate masks of the Carnival festival in Venice
  • Visit Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David before taking in the shop-lined Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence

 

History Timeline

BC

  • (900 BC) Iron Age: communities established in river valleys in Etruria
  • (800 BC) Greeks settled in Southern Italy and Sicily
  • (753 BC) Legendary founding of Rome by Romulus
  • (715-673 BC) Numa Pompilius reigned as second King of Rome
  • (616 BC) Etruscans became rulers of Rome
  • (509 BC) Last Etruscan king forced out of Rome; Roman Empire established
  • (499 BC) Romans defeated Latins and Etruscans in Battle of Lake Regillus
  • (400 BC) Gauls settled along Po River valley
  • (390 BC) Gauls sacked Rome
  • (312 BC) Via Appia and Aqua Appia aqueducts built
  • (265 BC) Romans took over last Etruscan city
  • (264-241 BC) First Punic War occurred
  • (237 BC) Romans moved into Corsica and Sardinia
  • (218 BC) Second Punic War; Hannibal crossed Alps
  • (216 BC) Romans defeated at Battle of Cannae
  • (191 BC) Romans captured Gaulish territory
  • (168 BC) Third Macedonian War ended
  • (146 BC) Third Punic War ended
  • (49 BC) Caesar forces Pompey out of Rome
  • (44 BC) Julius Caesar murdered; Roman Republic brought to an end
  • (31 BC) Marc Antony defeated at Battle of Actium
  • (30 BC) Mark Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in Egypt
  • (27 BC) Augustus became first Roman Emperor

AD 79 – 900

  • (AD 79) Pompeii and Herculaneum destroyed by eruption of Mt. Vesuvius
  • (80) Coliseum hosted first games
  • (125) Pantheon rebuilt by Hadrian
  • (161-180) Marcus Aurelius reigned
  • (216) Baths at Caracalla completed
  • (270) Aurelian Wall built
  • (320) The first St. Peter’s church built
  • (324) Constantine became ruler of Rome
  • (476) Odoacer sacks Rome; Roman Empire ends
  • (485) Atilla the Hun invaded Italy
  • (535) Byzantine Empire took over most of Italy
  • (564) Lombards invaded Italy
  • (774) Charlemagne defeated Lombards, subsequently conquered all of Italy
  • (800) Charlemagne crowned Holy Roman Emperor
  • (878) Saracens took control of Sicily
  • (962) Otto the Great crowned Emperor

1000s – 1100s

  • (1084) Normans pillaged Rome
  • (1139) Naples incorporated into Sicily
  • (1155) Frederick Barbarossa crowned Holy Roman Emperor
  • (1198) Frederick II named King of Sicily

1200s – 1300s

  • (1204) Constantinople pillaged
  • (1220) Frederick II crowned Holy Roman Emperor
  • (1271) Marco Polo left for China
  • (1281) Sicilian Vespers fought against French in Palermo, 2,000 French soldiers killed
  • (1296) Construction on the Duomo in Florence began
  • (1347-49) Black Death pandemic occurred; hundreds of thousands died
  • (1347) Cola di Rienzo tried to reestablish Roman Republic
  • (1354) Cola di Rienzo killed in Rome

1400s – 1500s

  • (1442) Naples captured by Alfonso of Aragon
  • (1458-64) War between Aragon and Anjou over Naples
  • (1494) Charles VIII of France invaded Italy
  • (1512) Michelangelo completed ceiling of Sistine Chapel
  • (1519) Charles I of Spain became Emperor Charles V of Holy Roman Empire
  • (1541) Michelangelo completed Last Judgment in Sistine Chapel
  • (1542) Inquisition established in Rome

1600s

  • (1600) Giordano Bruno burned to death by Roman Inquisition for heresy
  • (1626) St. Peter’s in Rome consecrated
  • (1647) Fruit tax caused revolt in Naples
  • (1669) Island of Crete taken by Turks; Mount Etna erupts and lava flow destroyed over a dozen villages
  • (1693) Earthquake in Sicily killed over 60,000, destroyed 45 cities

1700s – 1800s

  • (1737) Medici dynasty in Florence comes to an end
  • (1748) Excavation of Pompeii began
  • (1778) La Scala opened in Milan
  • (1783) Earthquake in Calabria killed 50,000
  • (1796) Napoleon conquered northern Italy, became part of French Empire
  • (1805) Napoleon declared himself Italian Emperor
  • (1814) Napoleon abdicated his throne; Italy divided into small kingdoms
  • (1840) First major railroad links established
  • (1820-50) Small revolutions occurred in kingdoms; Venice, Rome, Tuscany declared themselves Republics
  • (1849) Republic of Rome taken over by French troops
  • (1861) Kingdom of Italy established excluding Rome, Venice, San Marino; King Victor Emmanuel II of Sardinia became King of Italy
  • (1866) Italy obtained Venice from Austria
  • (1870) Italian forces occupied Rome
  • (1871) Rome named capital of Italy

Font: Worldatlas.com