After the invasion of the Goths and the Lombards (410 and 568) and the end of the Roman Empire, the country splintered into a series of dominions. In the 8th and 9th centuries, especially under Pippin and Charlemagne, the Franks dominated, yet developed under the successors of Charles, a separate kingdom of Italy. Since the time of Otto the Great, Italy belonged predominantly to the Holy Roman Empire.
In the 11th century, the Normans conquered southern Italy over a period of several decades. The rise of trade and traffic, especially in the cities of northern Italy gained increasing independencen in the 11th century. With the downfall of the dynasty of the Hohenstaufen failed in 1268 their attempts to renew the dwindling imperial power in Italy. The south dominated since 1268, the French dynasty of Anjou. The north fell into a series of independent cities with their surroundings. These cities were the pioneers of the Renaissance in the 14th and 15th centuries. Five powers - the city-states of Milan, Florence and Venice, as well as the southern Italian kingdom of Naples and the Papal States - shared in changing coalitions the political power and resources of the Italian peninsula.
In the 16th century, France and Spain fought for supremacy on the peninsula. The Battle of Pavia (1525) sealed the supremacy of Spain, which secured the direct control of southern Italy and Lombardy. 1797, the Cisalpine Republic was founded, which existed until 1805. In 1796, French revolutionary troops took power. In 1805, Napoleon crowned himself King of Italy (Kingdom of Italy) in Milan. After the end of his reign Italy fell into the sphere of influence of the Austrian Empire.
The Italian national movement in the 19th century was called the Risorgimento. Under the leadership of the Savoy dynasty, Kings of Sardinia-Piedmont succeeded in three wars of independence (1848-1870) in the unification of Italy. On March 17, 1861 Victor Emmanuel II was in Turin the king of the Kingdom of Italy.