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University of Naples Federico II

History of Italy

University of Naples Federico II via edX


This course looks at the history of Italy, which dates back 150 years. The lessons in this course will explore the making of Italy, using a concrete or symbolically significant event for each period or problem.

Our interpretation revolves around two apparently conflicting assumptions. On the one hand, if we look at Italy in the long-term, it is a very successful country. It was governed by provincial princes and authoritarian regimes until, in 1861, it became a nation state inspired by models of European liberalism. On the other hand, Italy’s history is punctuated by internal strife, geographical divides, bloody conflicts and civil wars. Good examples are the post-war conflict between fascists and socialists, the period of terrorism and the “civil cold war” between pro and anti Berlusconi factions that marked the last two decades.

Together we will try to work out the answer, an answer that probably lies in political and social stability, the result of a long “Centre” government and parliament, and intelligent governance of outlying regions, especially in the South, by centrist political parties.

Taught by

Paolo Macry



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