Italy profile - Timeline
A chronology of key events:
1915 - Italy enters World War I on side of Allies.
1919 - Gains Trentino, South Tyrol, and Trieste under peace treaties.
1922 - Fascist leader Mussolini forms government after three years of political and economic unrest.
1926 - Suppression of opposition parties.
1929 - Lateran Treaty creates state of Vatican City.
1935 - Italy invades Ethiopia.
1936 - Mussolini forms axis with Nazi Germany.
1939 - Albania annexed.
1940 - Italy enters World War II on German side. Italian forces occupy British Somaliland in East Africa.
1941 - Italy declares war on USSR.
1943 - Sicily invaded by Allies. King Victor Emmanuel III imprisons Mussolini. Armistice signed with Allies. Italy declares war on Germany.
1944 - Allied armies liberate Rome.
1945 - Mussolini, who had been rescued from prison by Germans, is captured and executed by Italian partisans.
Towards European integration
1946 - Referendum votes for republic to replace monarchy.
1947 - Italy cedes land and territories under peace treaty.
1948 - New constitution. Christian Democrats win elections.
1951 - Italy joins European Coal and Steel Community.
1955 - Italy joins United Nations.
1957 - Founder member of European Economic Community.
1963 - Italian Socialist Party joins Christian Democrat-led coalition under Prime Minister Aldo Moro.
1972 - Giulio Andreotti becomes prime minister - a post he will hold seven times in 20 years.
1976-78 - Communist election gains lead to voice in policy making.
1978 - Former Prime Minister Aldo Moro kidnapped and murdered by left-wing armed group, the Red Brigades. Abortion legalised.
1980 - Bombing of Bologna station kills 84, linked to right-wing extremists.
1983 - Bettino Craxi becomes Italy's first Socialist prime minister since war.
1984 - Roman Catholicism loses status as state religion.
1991 - Communists rename themselves Democratic Party of the Left.
1992 - Revelations of high level corruption spark several years of arrests and investigations.
Top anti-Mafia prosecutor, Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three bodyguards killed in car bomb attack.
1993 - Bribery scandal leads to Craxi's resignation as leader of Socialist Party. He later flees the country, is tried and sentenced in absentia to imprisonment but dies in Tunisia in 2000.
1994 March - Freedom Alliance wins election. The coalition, which includes Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia, the Northern League and the neo-Fascist National Alliance, collapses by end of year following clashes with anti-corruption magistrates and a battle with trade unions over pension reform.
1995-96 - Lamberto Dini heads government of technocrats. Austerity budget.
1996 - Centre-left Olive Tree alliance wins election. Romano Prodi becomes prime minister.
1997 - Earthquakes strike Umbria region, causing extensive damage to Basilica of St Francis of Assisi. Four killed.
Prodi government loses confidence vote. Massimo D'Alema becomes prime minister of reformed Olive Tree government, and the first ex-communist to lead a Nato country.
1999 - Carlo Ciampi becomes president.
2000 April - D'Alema resigns after poor regional election results and is replaced by Giuliano Amato as head of Olive Tree coalition.
2001 May/June - A centre-right coalition, led by Silvio Berlusconi of the Forza Italia party, wins the general elections.
Berlusconi forms new coalition government which includes the leaders of two right-wing parties, Gianfranco Fini of the National Alliance and Umberto Bossi of the Northern League as well as the pro-European-Union Renato Ruggiero, who becomes foreign minister.
2001 Oct - First constitutional referendum since 1946 sees vote in favour of major change giving greater autonomy to the country's 20 regions in tax, education and environment policies.
2002 Jan - Euro replaces the lira.
Foreign Minister Renato Ruggiero resigns in protest at the Euro-sceptical views of right-wing cabinet colleagues.
2002 February-March - Controversy as parliament approves bill enabling Berlusconi to keep control of his businesses.
Berlusconi in court
2003 June - Mr Berlusconi's trial halted on corruption charges after parliament passes law granting immunity from prosecution to five holders of key state posts, including the prime minister.
2003 November - Multi-billion euro fraud uncovered at Parmalat food-manufacturing giant. The company is declared insolvent.
2004 January - Constitutional Court throws out law granting Mr Berlusconi and other top state post holders immunity from prosecution. Mr Berlusconi's trial resumes in April, and he is cleared in December.
2004 October - Forced expulsion from island of Lampedusa of hundreds of African asylum seekers is criticised by UN.
2005 April - Parliament ratifies EU constitution.
2005 December - Antonio Fazio resigns as governor of Bank of Italy following a scandal over the sale of Banca Antonveneta. He denies acting improperly.
Prodi in, then out
2006 April - Centre-left leader Romano Prodi wins closely-fought general elections. He is sworn in as prime minister in May.
Italy's most-wanted man, suspected head of the Sicilian mafia Bernardo Provenzano, is captured by police.
2006 May - Giorgio Napolitano, a former communist, is elected president.
2006 June - National referendum rejects reforms intended to boost the powers of the prime minister and regions. The changes were proposed during Silvio Berlusconi's premiership.
2006 August - Hundreds of Italian peacekeepers leave for Lebanon. Italy is set to become the biggest contributor to the UN-mandated force.
2007 February - Prime Minister Prodi resigns after the government loses a Senate vote on its foreign policy. The president asks him to stay on and Mr Prodi goes on to win confidence votes in both houses of parliament.
2008 January - A no-confidence vote forces Mr Prodi's government to resign.
Berlusconi back again
2008 April - Berlusconi wins general elections, securing a third term as premier after two years in opposition.
2008 August - Berlusconi apologises to Libya for damage inflicted by Italy during the colonial era and signs a $5bn investment deal by way of compensation.
Italy's national airline, Alitalia, files for bankruptcy.
2008 November - After posting two consecutive quarters of negative growth, Italy is declared to be officially in recession.
2009 April - Earthquake strikes towns in the mountainous Abruzzo region, leaving hundreds of people dead and thousands homeless.
2009 May-July - Parliament approves controversial law criminalising illegal immigration and allowing citizens' patrols.
2009 October - Constitutional court overturns law that granted Premier Berlusconi immunity while in office.
2010 March - Mr Berlusconi's coalition makes strong gains from the centre-left in regional polls.
2010 August - Mr Berlusconi's coalition loses majority in lower house of parliament after more than 30 deputies break away from his People of Freedom party and join former ally Gianfranco Fini's rival centre-right party Future and Freedom for Italy.
2011 February - A Milan judge orders Mr Berlusconi to stand trial in April on charges of abuse of power and paying for sex with an under-age prostitute.
2011 July - IMF calls on Italy to do more to reduce its public debt - one of the largest in the eurozone - and push through spending cuts.
2011 September - Parliament gives final approval to a 54bn euro (£47bn; $74bn) austerity package. The package contains a pledge to balance the budget by 2013.
2011 October - Prime Minister Berlusconi wins key confidence vote over his handling of the economy.
2011 November - Amid growing doubts about Italy's debt burden, Mr Berlusconi resigns after his government fails to gain a full majority in the Chamber of Deputies during a budget vote. Former European Union commissioner Mario Monti forms government of technocrats.
2011 December - Mr Monti's package of austerity measures amounting to 33bn euros (£27bn; $43bn) of spending cuts gains parliamentary approval. The package also includes measures to raise taxes and tackle tax evasion.
2012 January - Government issues de-regulation decree designed to curb restrictive practices, reduce protectionism and encourage competition.
2012 May - Left-wing and protest parties prosper in local elections in a measure of public discontent with austerity measures, with the centre-right People of Freedom party and its Lega Nord ally performing badly.
2013 February - Parliamentary elections hand Pier Luigi Bersani's centre-left bloc control of the lower house, but not of the Senate. A protest movement led by comedian Beppe Grillo surges into third place, with Prime Minister Mario Monti's centre bloc trailing in fourth place.
2013 March - Silvio Berlusconi is sentenced to a year in jail over an illegal wiretap. He remains free pending the outcome of the appeals process.
2013 April - Giorgio Napolitano is re-elected president - the first time an Italian president is voted in for a second term.
Enrico Letta of the Democratic Party (PD) becomes prime minister at the head of a grand coalition that also includes Silvio Berlusconi's PdL, after Pier Luigi Bersani steps down as PD leader.
Berlusconi conviction upheld
2013 August - Italy's highest court upholds Silvio Berlusconi's sentencing for tax fraud in October 2012, in the former prime minister's first definitive conviction. Because of his age, he is sentenced to community service rather than prison and a two-year ban on holding public office.
2013 October - The governor of Sicily declares a state of emergency after hundreds of migrants die in shipwrecks while attempting to reach Europe from Africa.
2013 November - Senate expels Mr Berlusconi from parliament over his conviction for tax fraud, depriving him of his immunity from arrest.
2014 February - Prime Minister Enrico Letta resigns after his Democratic Party backs a call for a new administration.
Renzi reform drive
New party leader and mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, forms a new left-right coalition government and unveils plans for major economic and political reform.
2014 July - Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi wins an appeal against his conviction in June 2013 for paying for sex with an underage prostitute.
2014 August - The Senate, or upper house of parliament, votes to back Prime Minister Renzi's plans to drastically cut the chamber's size and powers.
2014 December - The government takes full control of the troubled ILVA steel plant, based in Taranto in southern Italy. ILVA is the largest European steel producer and one of the worst polluters on the continent.
2015 January - President Giorgio Napolitano retires. Sergio Mattarella is chosen as his successor.
2015 May - Parliament approves an electoral reform giving the largest party an automatic majority of seats in parliament.
2016 August - Earthquake rocks mountainous Appenine area of central Italy, causing extensive damage and casualties. Nearly 300 people are killed, most of them in the town of Amatrice.
2016 November - Prime Minister Matteo Renzi resigns after his flagship constitutional reform package is overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum. He is succeeded by his Democratic Party ally Paolo Gentiloni.