The diplomatic relations between both countries have a long history, even before Italy got unified: the Kingdom of Sardinia already had a consular representative in Montevideo back in 1834.
Italy has played an important role in Uruguay’s history for centuries: the first settler in Montevideo, Juan Burgues (actually Giovanni Borghese) came from Italy. Thousands of Italian immigrants came to Uruguay in the second half of the 19th century and first decades of the 20th. Nowadays almost 1 Uruguayan in 2 has Italian ancestry.
During the late decades an inverted migratory flow has taken place: as thousands of Uruguayans have Italian passport, many have decided to emigrate to Italy in search of opportunities.
The strong relations between Italy and Uruguay are further strengthened by official visits. On 1 March 1985, when Julio María Sanguinetti assumed office, the Italian Prime Minister Bettino Craxi attended the inauguration.
In May 2013, the Uruguayan President José Mujica made an official visit to Italy.