Relations between the modern-day territories of Somalia and Italy stretch back to antiquity. The 1st century CE Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, among other documents, reports early commercial exchanges between traders inhabiting city-states on the northern Somali littoral with Roman merchants. Numerous artefacts dating from this period have been uncovered in Somalia, such as at the Damo site in the Puntland region.
In terms of administration, Italy first gained a foothold in Somalia through the signing of various pacts and agreements in the late 19th century with the ruling Somali Majeerteen Sultanate and Sultanate of Hobyo, led by King Osman Mahamuud and Sultan Yusuf Ali Kenadid, respectively. In 1936, the acquired territory, dubbed Italian Somaliland, was integrated into Africa Orientale Italiana as part of the Italian Empire. This would last until 1941, during World War II. Italian Somaliland then came under British administration until 1949, when it became a United Nations trusteeship, the Trust Territory of Somalia, under Italian administration. On July 1, 1960, the Trust Territory of Somalia united as scheduled with the briefly extant State of Somaliland (the former British Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic.
Although most Italian Somalis left the territory after independence, Somalia's relations with Italy remained strong in the following years and through the ensuing civil war period. The Federal Government of Somalia was later established on August 20, 2012, representing the first permanent central government in the country since the start of the conflict. The following month, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected as the new government's first President. The election was welcomed by the Italian authorities, who re-affirmed Italy's continued support for Somalia's government, its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
- Neville Chittick, An Archaeological Reconnaissance of the Horn: The British-Somali Expedition, (1975), pp.117-133.
- Mariam Arif Gassem, Somalia: clan vs. nation, (s.n.: 2002), p.4
- The Majeerteen Sultanates
- Encyclopædia Britannica, The New Encyclopædia Britannica, (Encyclopædia Britannica: 2002), p.835
- "Somalia: UN Envoy Says Inauguration of New Parliament in Somalia 'Historic Moment'". Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. 21 August 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2012.
- "Communiqué on Secretary-General’s Mini-Summit on Somalia". United Nations. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Minister Terzi "most satisfied" to hear of Hassan Sheikh Mohamud’s appointment as President of Somalia". Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 30 September 2012.