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King of Italy (rex Italiae in Latin and re d'Italia in Italian) is a title adopted by many rulers of the Italian peninsula after the fall of the Roman Empire. However, no “King of Italy” ruled the whole peninsula until Victor Emmanuel in 1870, though some pretended to such authority.

After the deposition of Western Roman Emperor Romulus Augustulus in 476, Heruli leader Odoacer was appointed dux Italiae (Duke of Italy) by the reigning Eastern Roman Emperor Zeno. Later, he took the title of rex (not, as is sometimes said, rex italiae), though he always presented himself as an officer of the eastern government. In 493, Ostrogothic king Theodoric the Great defeated Odoacer, and set up a new dynasty of kings of Italy. Ostrogothic rule ended when Italy was reconquered by the Byzantine Empire in 552.

This state of affairs did not last long. In 568, the Lombards entered the peninsula and ventured to recreate a barbarian kingdom in opposition to the Empire, establishing their authority over much of Italy (especially Lombardy) except the Exarchate of Ravenna and the duchies Rome, Venetia, Naplesmarker and the southernmost portions. For the next two centuries, Lombards and Byzantines fought for dominance in the peninsula.

In the 8th century, estrangement between the Italian Romans and the Byzantine Empire allowed the Lombards to capture the remaining Roman enclaves in northern Italy. However, in 774, they were defeated by the Franks under Charlemagne, who deposed their king and took up the title rex Langobardorum ("King of the Lombards"). Within the Frankish Empire, Italy was ruled by a rex Italiae. This Kingdom of Italy was integrated into the Holy Roman Empire by Otto I. All subsequent emperors used the title and most were crowned at some time in the ancient Lombard capital of Paviamarker before their imperial coronation in Rome. However the various emperors ruled only parts of Italy, and many independent states existed on the peninsula over the subsequent centuries, some of which were kingdoms, such as the Kingdom of Sicily and the Kingdom of Naples.

By the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 most of the Italian territories of the Holy Roman Empire were lost to it and the Italian Crown held no significance thereafter, either de facto or de jure. In 1805, Napoleon Bonaparte endeavoured to attach the Lombard heritage to France again and was crowned with the Iron Crown of Lombardy in Pavia. The next year, the Emperor Francis II abdicated his Imperial title. From the deposition of Napoleon (1814) until the Italian Unification (1861), there was no Italian monarch claiming the overarching title. The Risorgimento successfully established a dynasty, the House of Savoy, over the whole peninsula, uniting the kingdoms of Sardinia and the Two Sicilies. The monarchy was superseded by the Italian Republicmarker ( ) after a referendum was held in 1946.

Dux (Italiae)

Ostrogothic Kingdom of Italy (493–553)

Kingdom of the Lombards (568–814)

Rule of the Dukes (ten year interregnum)

Frankish Kingdom of Italy (781–963)

After 887, Italy fell into instability, with many rulers claiming the Kingship simultaneously:

vassal of the German King Arnulf of Carinthia, reduced to Fruili 889-894, deposed by Arnulf in 896.

opponent of Berengar, ruled most of Italy but was deposed by Arnulf.
subking of his father Guy before 894, reduced to Spoleto 894-895.

In 896, Arnulf and Ratold lost control of Italy, which was divided between Berengar and Lambert:
seized Lambert's portion upon the latter's death in 898.

opposed Berengar 900-902 and 905.
defeated Berengar but fled Italy in 926.

elected by Berengar's partisans in 925, resigned to Provence after 945.
jointly with his son:

In 951 Otto I of Germany invaded Italy and was crowned "King of the Lombards". In 952, Berengar and Adalbert became in vassals but remained Kings until being deposed by Otto.

Kingdom of Italy within the Holy Roman Empire (962–1648)

Ferdinand I and his successor used the title of a King of Italy, though they were never crowned as such:

The Peace of Westphalia effectively terminated any imperial claims to an Italian kingdom.

Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy (1805–1814)

Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)

Full title

Full title of the Kings of Kingdom of Italy was:

[Name], by the Grace of God, King of Italy, King of Sardinia, Cyprus, Jerusalem, Armenia, Duke of Savoy, count of Mauriennemarker, Marquis (of the Holy Roman Empire) in Italy; prince of Piedmont, Carignanomarker, Onegliamarker, Poirinomarker, Trinomarker; Prince and Perpetual vicar of the Holy Roman Empire; prince of Carmagnolamarker, Montmellian with Arbin and Francin, prince bailliff of the Duchy of Aostamarker, Prince of Chierimarker, Droneromarker, Crescentinomarker, Riva di Chierimarker e Banna, Buscamarker, Benemarker, Bràmarker, Duke of Genoa, Monferrat, Aostamarker, Duke of Chablais, Genevois, Duke of Piacenzamarker, Marquis of Saluzzomarker (Saluces), Ivreamarker, Susamarker, del Maro, Oristanomarker, Cesanamarker, Savonamarker, Tarantasia, Borgomaneromarker e Cureggiomarker, Casellemarker, Rivolimarker, Pianezzamarker, Govonemarker, Salussolamarker, Racconigimarker con Tegerone, Migliabruna e Motturone, Cavallermaggioremarker, Marenemarker, Modanemarker e Lanslebourgmarker, Livorno Ferrarismarker, Santhiàmarker Aglièmarker, Centallomarker e Demontemarker, Desanamarker, Ghemmemarker, Vigonemarker, Count of Bargemarker, Villafrancamarker, Ginevramarker, Nizzamarker, Tendamarker, Romontmarker, Astimarker, Alessandriamarker, del Goceano, Novaramarker, Tortonamarker, Bobbiomarker, Soissonsmarker, Sant'Antiocomarker, Pollenzomarker, Roccabrunamarker, Tricerromarker, Bairomarker, Ozegnamarker, delle Apertole, Baron of Vaudmarker e del Faucignimarker, Lord of Vercellimarker, Pinerolomarker, della Lomellina, della Valle Sesiamarker, del marchesato di Cevamarker, Overlord of Monacomarker, Roccabrunamarker and 11/12th of Mentonmarker, Noble patrician of Venicemarker, patrician of Ferraramarker.


  1. The numeral refers to his position both as King of Germany and as Holy Roman Emperor.
  2. The numeral refers to his position as King of Germany.
  3. The numeral refers to his position as the third Frankish ruler of that name, following Emperor Lothair I and Lothair II, King of Lotharingia.
  4. The numeral refers to his position as Holy Roman Emperor.

See also

Napoleon I
15 August 1769
son of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino

Joséphine de Beauharnais
No children

Marie Louise of Austria
11 March 1810
1 child

5 May 1821
aged 51

Victor Emmanuel II
14 March 1820
son of Charles Albert of Sardinia and Maria Theresa of Tuscany

Maria Adelaide of Austria
8 children

Rosa Teresa Vercellana Guerrieri
2 children

9 January 1878
aged 57

Umberto I
14 March 1844
son of Victor Emanuele II and Maria Adelaide of Austria

Margherita of Savoy
22 April 1868
1 child

29 July 1900
aged 56

Victor Emmanuel III
11 November 1869
son of Umberto I and Margherita of Savoy

Elena of Montenegro
24 October 1896
5 children

28 December 1947
aged 78

Umberto II
15 September 1904
son of Victor Emmanuel III and Elena of Montenegro

Marie-José of Belgium
8 January 1930
4 children

18 March 1983
aged 78

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