After the Fall of the Roman Empire, the Italian peninsula came under Barbarian control and later fragmented into many warring city states. Though the regions of Italy retained a common culture and language (despite many dialects and regional variations), political unity was not restored until 1861, when Italy for the first time in the modern era became a single country.
Industrialization and modernization of the newly formed country quickly followed and Italy sought to gain a place among the Great Powers. Italy embarked on an ambitious shipbuilding program and modernized its army seeking colonies and new territories. In 1911, Italy took Libya away from the faltering Ottoman Empire.
On the diplomatic front, Italy entered with Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1882. The three members of the Triple Alliance pledged to help each other , and Italy pledged on 20 May 1882 to support each others militarily in the event of an attack against any of them by two or more great powers. Germany and Italy additionally undertook to support one another in the event of an attack by France. However, Italy later indicated that her undertakings could not be regarded as being directed against the United Kingdom. Shortly after renewing the Alliance in June 1902, Italy secretly extended a similar guarantee to France.
When the Great War started, Italy initially remained neutral but was eventually enticed to join the Allies by promises of territorial concessions at the expense of Austria-Hungary and Germany.
VICE ADMIRAL H.R.H. THE DUKE OF THE ABRUZZI
Cousin of the King of Italy, Commander of the dreadnought squadron of the Italian Navy.