France–Italy relations

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French - Italy relations
Map indicating locations of France  and  Italy



France–Italy relations refer to the interstate relations as well as the historical links between the Republic of France and the Republic of Italy.


Because the two countries share 488 km of border[1] on the Alps mountains, bilateral relations are very old.

The two countries dispute ownership of the Mont Blanc summit, the highest mountain in Western Europe.


France is Italy's second largest trading partner and, symmetrically, Italy is also the second-largest trading partner of France.[2]

Intercultural influences[edit]

Italian culture in France[edit]

Italian Renaissance had a great influence on France during the 16th century.

Two queens of France, Caterina de Medici and Maria de Medici, and a chief minister of France, Giulio Mazzarino, were Italians. As well, the House of Savoy, who ruled Italy from 1861 to 1946, had French origins, from the historical Savoy region.

Many Italian immigrated to France during the first part of the 20th century: in 1911, 36% of foreigners living in France were Italian.[3] Immigrants have sometime suffered a violent anti-Italianism like the Vêpres marseillaises (fr) (Marseilles vespers) on June 1881 or Aigues-Mortes massacre on 17 August 1893.[4] Today, it is estimated that as many as 5 million French nationals have Italian ancestry going back three generations.[5]

Nowadays 340,000 Italian nationals live in France,[6] while 130,000 French citizens live in Italy. In the French Departement of Alpes-Maritimes at least 80% of the population can trace some ancestry back to Italy and 40% can claim it as solely Italian and Italian is the mother language of 30% of the population. In Corsica the local culture is more Italian than French[citation needed].

French culture in Italy[edit]

Villa Medici host the French Academy in Rome which is responsible for promoting French culture in Italy.


Both France and Italy are founder members of the European Union and adopted the euro from its introduction.

Since 1982 an annual summit formalize French-Italian cooperation in Villa Madama.[7]


The Prime minister of the Kingdom of Sardinia Camillo Benso was able to take Napoleon III on his side after the Orsini affair during the Italian Unification: The French army was allied with Victor Emmanuel II of Italy during the Second Italian War of Independence and at the Battle of Solferino. After that, France opposed Italy during the Capture of Rome, that represented the end of the Papal temporal power.

After World War I the governments of the two countries were both among the big four that defeated the Central Powers.

The last military conflict was the Italian invasion of France in June 1940.


See also[edit]