Front page, 2009-03-05
|Founded||12 February 1924|
|Political alignment||Social democracy
L'Unità was founded by Antonio Gramsci on 12 February 1924, as the "newspaper of workers and peasants", the official newspaper of Italian Communist Party (PCI): it was printed in Milan with a circulation of 20,000 to 30,000. On 8 November 1925, publications were blocked by the Prefect of the city together with Italian Socialist Party's Avanti!. After the failed attempt on Benito Mussolini (31 October 1926), its publication was completely suppressed. A clandestine edition was resumed on the first day of 1927, with irregular circulation in Milan, Turin, Rome, and in France. Publication was officially resumed after the Allied conquest of Rome on 6 June 1944, the new editor-in-chief being Celeste Negarville.
After the liberation from the German occupation, in 1945, new local editions were started in Milan, Genoa and Turin, the latter edited by philosopher Ludovico Geymonat. The newspaper's contributors included Davide Layolo, Luigi Cavallo, Ada Gobetti Cesare Pavese, Italo Calvino, Alfonso Gatto, Elio Vittorini, Aldo Tortorella and Paolo Spriano. In the same year the Festa de l'Unità was launched in most Italian cities.
In 1957 the Genoese, Milanese and Torinese editions were merged into a single edition for northern Italy. The newspaper's editorships were unified in 1962, under Mario Alicata, who was succeeded by Maurizio Ferrara in 1966. In 1974 daily circulation of l'Unità amounted to 239,000 copies, but this number dropped considerably starting from early 1980s, mostly from the competition with the new, left-oriented, La Repubblica: the 100 million copies sold in 1981 decreased to 60 million, in 1982. In the subsequent year a document published by the newspaper, which accused the Christian Democratic minister Vincenzo Scotti of being a collaborator of the Camorra leader Raffaele Cutolo, which proved to be a false. The editor-in-chief Claudio Petruccioli resigned and was replaced by Emanuele Macaluso. Massimo D'Alema, the future Prime Minister of Italy, was managing-director until July 1990.
From 1989 to 1990 the newspaper was accompanied by a satiric weekly magazine, Cuore, directed by Michele Serra. In 1991 the title changed from Journal of the Italian Communist Party to Journal founded by Antonio Gramsci, with a daily circulation of circa 156,000. In 1992-1996 director was Walter Veltroni, who started periodically accompanying the newspaper with free gifts such as books and videocassettes.
The newspaper ceased publication for nearly a year (from 28 July 2000 to 28 March 2001), because of financial troubles. Since then it has been published by Baldini & Castoldi, a company not officially linked to the Democrats of the Left (and later to its successor, the Democratic Party): its political position, however, continues to be strongly tied to the Democratic Party.
The average daily circulation of the newspaper as of February 2005[update] was 62,000 copies.
On May 2008 Tiscali founder and Sardinia President Renato Soru finalized a deal to become the new newspaper owner. One of the first moves made by the new property was the appointment of former La Repubblicajournalist Concita De Gregorio as new editor-in-chief, replacing Antonio Padellaro.
In recent years, L'Unità has been accused by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of being a politically biased newspaper, allegedly making a "criminal" use of news against him. On 23 December 2005 Berlusconi produced in a press conference a 1953 copy of l'Unità which headlined Joseph Stalin's death.
On 29 March 2006, in a personal attempt to demonstrate the factiousness of Corriere della Sera, a popular Italian newspaper which endorsed centre-left coalition The Union in the 2006 general election, he showed that both l'Unità and Corriere had the same headline that day, referring to a phrase he pronounced ("Bambini bolliti: Cina contro Berlusconi" — "Boiled children: China against Berlusconi").
- Data for average Newspaper circulation (Diffusione media (Italia + Estero)) from the Accertamenti Diffusione Stampa (Ads) survey on 2008 in Italy 
- "Editoria, Soru compra l'Unità. Una fondazione gestirà il giornale" (in Italian). La Repubblica. 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
- "Concita De Gregorio alla guida dell'Unità" (in Italian). Corriere della Sera. 2008-08-22. Retrieved 2008-08-26.