Italy–United Kingdom relations
|Embassy of the United Kingdom, Rome||Embassy of Italy, London|
|Ambassador Jill Morris||Ambassador Raffaele Trombetta|
Diplomatic relations between Britain and Italy predate both Britain and Italy's unification, with diplomatic exchanges between the Papal States and the Kingdom of England growing particularly heated during the investiture disputes between kings William and John and their respective archbishops of Canterbury Anselm and Langton. The latter feud ended with John's excommunication being lifted in exchange for swearing his fealty to the papacy. Later, both the eighteenth-century Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland created in 1801, hosted ambassadors from various states of the Italian peninsula, including those of the Kingdom of Naples and Sardinia's Count Perron. The British government gave moral and diplomatic support to the "Risorgimento" (Unification of Italy creation of the modern Italian state against considerable international opposition. The famed hero of unification, Giuseppe Garibaldi was widely celebrated in Britain, with a peak in 1861.
Italy and the United Kingdom concluded the London Pact and entered a formal alliance on 26 April 1915. Following this, Britain, Italy, and the rest of the Allied Nations won the First World War. During that war, British intelligence subsidized Benito Mussolini's activism. After he rose to power on a fascist agenda, Mussolini was initially accommodated by Britain, with the Hoare-Laval Pact accepting the expansion of Italian Eritrea's sphere of influence over all of Abyssinia (modern Ethiopia). However, the treaty's unpopularity forced Hoare's resignation, and future British governments showed more opposition. Owing to Mussolini's Axis Pact between his Italy and Hitler's Germany, in 1940 Italy joined the Second World War on the side of Germany. Britain and Italy were thus at war through the early 1940s, until the Allied invasion of Sicily ended with Italy's defeat in 1943. The Italian government overthrew Mussolini in 1943, switch sides, and joined the Allied cause. Germany meanwhile invaded the northern half of Italy, released Mussolini, and set up the Italian Social Republic a puppet regime that helped Germany fight against the Allies until it collapsed in spring 1945.
The United Kingdom and Italy now generally enjoy a warm and friendly relationship. Queen Elizabeth II has made four state visits to the Italian Republic during her reign, in 1961, 1980, 2000, and April 2014, when she was received by President Giorgio Napolitano.
Between 4 and 5 million British tourists visit Italy every year, while 1 million Italian tourists visit the UK. There are about 30,000 British nationals living in Italy, and 200,000 Italians living in the UK.
In 2011, 7,100 Italian students were studying in UK universities, this is the seventh-highest figure amongst EU countries and fifteenth globally.
Association football, in its modern form, was said to have been introduced to Italy by British expatriates during the 1880s. Genoa Cricket and Football Club, founded by Englishmen in 1893, was allegedly formed as a cricket club to represent England abroad. Three years later in 1896 a man named James Richardson Spensley arrived in Genoa introducing the football section of the club and becoming its first manager. Other evidence suggests that Edoardo Bosio, a merchant worker in the British textile industry had visited the United Kingdom and decided to introduce the sport in his homeland. He returned to Turin in 1887 and founded Torino Football and Cricket Club.
Both states are members of the NATO, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the G8.
- List of Ambassadors from the United Kingdom to Italy
- Foreign relations of the United Kingdom
- Foreign relations of Italy
- Italians in the United Kingdom
- Holy See–United Kingdom Relations (including its history as the Papal States)
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