The first contact between Italy and Mexico was in 1869, just before the end of Italian unification in 1870; when Italy expressed its desire to open a consulate in Mexico. A consulate was opened in Mexico in December 1872, however, diplomatic relations between the two nations were not established until 15 December 1874.
During World War I, Mexico remained neutral because it was involved in its own revolution during the same time. In the 1930s, diplomatic relations between the two nations began to deteriorate when Prime Minister Benito Mussolini invaded and annexed Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War in 1935-1936. Mexico was one of the few countries to vehemently oppose the occupation of Abyssinia by Italian forces. On 22 May 1942, Mexico declared war on the axis powers due to German u-boat attacks on two Mexican oil tankers in the Gulf of Mexico that same year. Diplomatic relations were re-established on 1 June 1946.
Both nations are members of the G-20 major economies, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations.
There have been several official visits by presidents of both nations to each other's countries respectively. In 1997, Mexico signed a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (which includes Italy).
Trade between the two nations totaled just over six billion USD in 2011. Among the products that Mexico exports to Italy are: automobiles and petroleum based products. Italy exports mainly steel products to Mexico. Today, Italy is Mexico's ninth biggest trading partner in the world (third in Europe after Germany and Spain). Mexico is Italy's second biggest trading partner in Latin-America (after Brazil).
In 2012, it was revealed that Mexican drug cartels were using the Sicilian port of Palermo to ship drugs.  It has also been reported that the "Mexican drug cartels, namely the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, have entered into a business relationship with several Italian criminal networks, including the 'Ndrangheta". 
Resident diplomatic missions
- Italy has an embassy in Mexico City.
- Mexico has an embassy in Rome and a consulate in Milan.
- History of diplomatic relations between Italy and Mexico (Spanish)
- Diplomatic relations between Italy and Mexico during World War II (Italian)
- Trade between Mexico and Italy (Spanish)
- Embassy of Italy in Mexico City (in Italian and Spanish)
- Embassy of Mexico in Rome (in Italian and Spanish)
- Consulate of Mexico in Milan (in Italian and Spanish)
- Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs on historical relations with Italy (Spanish)
- Italian embassy in Mexico City on bilateral relations with Mexico (Italian)