Here is a brief timeline of important events that have shaped Italy and its people; the focus here will be geared towards recent events (from 100 years ago or so), located towards the bottom, but we’ll begin with more ancient events first.
79 CE – Mt. Vesuvius Erupts
476 – Flavius Odoacer Becomes First King of Italy
774 – Charlemagne Becomes King of Lombards
14th-16th Centuries – Italian Renaissance
1809 – Napoleon occupies Rome, exiles the Pope Pius VII, seizes the Papal art collections for the Louvre in Paris.
1915 – Italy Joins Allies During World War I
1922 – Mussolini Forms Government
1929 – Lateran Treaty Creates Vatican City
1935 – Italy Invades Ethiopia, Subsequently banned from League of Nations.
1936 – Mussolini Creates Rome-Berlin Axis with Nazi Germany
1939 – Albania is Occupied
1940 – Italian Start of WWII, Italy invades Greece from occupied Albania.
1946 – Italian Republic is Formed on 10 June
1955 – Italy Joins United Nations (read more: What is the United Nations?)
1957 – Italy is Founding Member of EEC; The European Economic Community is the European Union predecessor.
1960 – Summer Olympics in Rome
1999 – Italy Accepted into Eurozone
2002 – Italy Begins Using the Euro, replacing the lira.