A wedding party make their way through Venice in a specially decorated gondola
© AA Photo Library
3000-1800 BC First traces of migratory peoples in peninsula.
700-300 BC Etruscan federation exists alongside Roman republic.
264-146 BC Punic Wars against Carthage.
AD 200-400 Decline of Roman Empire.
550-770 Peninsula fragmented with different areas under Byzantine, Papal, Lombard and Frankish influence.
1300-1400 Emergence of the city-states in north; Renaissance era.
1500-1848 Fragmentation of peninsula under foreign domination.
1848-61 Struggle for unification, with brief republic established in 1848; kingdom of Italy proclaimed in 1861.
1870 Rome and the Papal States become part of a unified Italy.
1915-18 Italy sides with Allies during World War I.
1940 Italy enters World War II on Axis side.
1943 Fall of Mussolini and armistice with Allies; Mussolini reinstated by Germany as head of puppet republic; Rome liberated in 1944.
1946 Italian Republic established.
1957 Treaty of Rome; Italy becomes a founding member of European Community.
1960-85 Period of political confusion, inflation and terrorism.
1985-2000 Corruption is rife, but Italy flourishes as desire for political and institutional reform grows.
2000 Bologna designated European City of Culture for 2000.