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This article is about the civilization in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. For the civilization in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Knights of the Mediterranean, see Italians (Age of Empires III).
Civilization Technology tree Strategy

Shed off the burden of the barbarian invasions that have torn your beloved peninsula apart after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Take the role as general of one of the Italian city-states — Genoa, Venice, Pisa, Ragusa, Amalfi, or even the Papal States — that emerged in the chaos and restore the might that once shone from your lands. Lead armies of Condottieri and Genoese Crossbowmen to glory or establish a trade network that dominates the Silk Road! The choice of which history to write is yours.

The Italians are a Southern European civilization introduced in Age of Empires II HD: The Forgotten. The civilization is primarily based on various Italian city-states, duchies, republics, and leagues that emerged during the Middle Ages, following the Holy Roman Empire's loss of imperial control over Imperial Italy. They focus on archers and ships. Their first unique unit, the Genoese Crossbowman, is an archer unit that deals bonus damage against cavalry, while their second unique unit, the Condottiero, is an anti-gunpowder infantry unit that can be trained at the Barracks and serves as a team bonus, making the Italians one of the three civilizations that can unconditionally (i.e. disregarding mercenary Kipchaks) share a unique unit with their allies. Their civilization bonuses provide discounts for their gunpowder units, Fishing Ships, age advancement, and Dock and University technologies. Despite their archer and naval focus, they have a reasonably diverse tech tree, meaning the Italians can mix in a wide variety of units with their archers and gunpowder units.

The Italians were originally one of the planned civilizations to be added in Age of Empires III, with their design to be more "medieval" when compared to other European civilizations, but were scrapped in the final release of the game. The Italian civilization was implemented in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Knights of the Mediterranean.


Unique unit[]

GenoeseCrossbowmanIcon-DE Genoese Crossbowman: Archer with an attack bonus against cavalry.
CondottieroIcon-DE Condottiero: Melee infantry with an attack bonus against gunpowder units.

Unique technologies[]

UniqueTechCastle-DE Pavise: Gives foot archers (except Skirmishers) and Condottieri +1/+1 armor.
UniqueTechImperialDE Silk Road: Halves trade unit cost.

Civilization bonuses[]

Team bonus[]

Condottieri are available at the Barracks.


The Italians are mainly an archer and naval civilization. Their Archery Range is pretty fit with all upgrades and technologies for the foot soldiers there. Only their Cavalry Archers are weak. Their Stable units however are good, featuring Hussars and Cavaliers with full upgrades. In the infantry department there is only the Halberdier missing, but they have the Condottiero at their disposal. Apart from the Bombard Cannon which they get at a lower cost the siege weapons are underwhelming for the Italians. However, their Monks and navy are excellent with only one missing feature each. Same goes for their economy, which only lacks Gold Shaft Mining, and their defensive structures, which do not lack a single feature at all.

Overall, the Italians have a very wide technology tree that leaves little to be desired.


AoE2-DLCicon-2 The Forgotten[]

AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African Kingdoms[]

  • Advancing to the next Age is 15% cheaper.
  • Gunpowder units are 20% cheaper.
  • Fishing Ships are 33% cheaper instead of having +2 LOS.
  • Pavise costs 300 food, 150 gold and affects all foot archers.
  • Hussars added to the technology tree.
  • Condottieri no longer require a Castle.
  • Condottieri have 10 attack and 1.2 speed.
  • Elite Genoese Crossbowmen have +5 attack against camel units.
  • With patch 4.8, Pavise no longer incorrectly affects Skirmishers.
  • With patch 4.8, Condottieri train in 13 seconds.

AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the Rajas[]

  • Genoese Crossbowmen cost 45 wood, 45 gold.
  • With patch 5.5, Fishing Ships are 20% cheaper.
  • With patch 5.7, Elite Genoese Crossbowmen have +6 attack against camel units.
  • With patch 5.7, Condottieri have 9 attack and 0 pierce armor.
  • With patch 5.7, Condottieri have a unique armor class that resists bonus damage from gunpowder units (+10 armor), but not from other anti-infantry attacks.
  • With patch 5.7, Condottieri train in 18 seconds.
  • With patch 5.8, Fishing Ships are 15% cheaper.

AoEIIDE icon Definitive Edition[]

  • Non-Elite Genoese Crossbowman reload time is reduced from 3 to 2.
  • With update 36906: Fishing Ships correctly cost -15% (the cost should be 64, not 60 as previously).
  • With update 39284: Condottieri have 10 attack, and are affected by Pavise.
  • With update 42848, the training time of (Elite) Genoese Crossbowman is reduced from 22 (19) to 18 (14) seconds.

AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the West[]

  • With update 44725, Dock technologies are 33% cheaper. The civilization also receives a 33% discount for all University technologies.
  • With update 44725, Genoese Crossbowmen cost 45 wood, 40 gold.

AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of Rome[]

Aoe2 hb Victors and Vanquished[]

Campaign appearances[]

The Italians have a campaign devoted to their civilization: Sforza.

They also appear as allies or enemies in:

Toggle campaign appearance list

CampaignIcon-SaladinDE Saladin[]

CampaignIcon-BarbarossaDE Barbarossa[]

CampaignIcon-AttilaDE Attila the Hun[]

CampaignIcon-AlaricDE Alaric[]

In the HD Edition:

In the Definitive Edition remake:

CampaignIcon-BariDE Bari[]

In the HD Edition:

In the Definitive Edition remake:

CampaignIcon-DraculaDE Vlad Dracula[]

In the Definitive Edition:

CampaignIcon-SforzaDE Sforza[]

This campaign is played as the Italians.

  • In the HD Edition
    • An End and a Beginning
      • Captain Johannes - Ally
      • Captain Bontolmo - Ally
      • Captain Guitano - Ally
      • Captain Luigeusi - Ally
      • Captain Marcelo - Ally
      • Village - Ally
    • O Fortuna
      • Brigata Malatesta - Ally
      • Florentines - Neutral → Enemy
      • Bandits - Enemy
    • The Hand of a Daughter
      • Duchy of Milan - Ally
      • Sforza's Spy - Ally
      • Carmagnola's Camp - Ally → Enemy
      • Venetian Main Fleet - Enemy
    • The Ambrosian Republic
      • Cremona - Ally
      • Locals - Ally
      • Pavia - Ally, potential Enemy
      • Rebels - Enemy
      • Venetians - Enemy
      • Caravaggio - Enemy → Ally
      • Piacenza - Enemy → Ally
    • A New Duke of Milan
      • Milanese Army - Enemy
      • Milan's Countryside - Enemy
      • City of Milan - Enemy → Ally
  • In the Definitive Edition
    • Mercenaries and Masters
      • Piccinino - Ally
      • Visconti - Ally
      • Brescia - Ally
      • Carmagnola - Enemy
      • Florentines - Enemy
      • Lombardy - Neutral
    • His Own Man
      • Piccinino - Enemy
      • Ravenna - Neutral → Ally
      • Rimini - Neutral → Ally
      • Pesaro - Neutral → Ally
      • The Romagnol - Ally
    • Prodigal Son
      • Piccinino - Enemy
      • Lombard Villages - Ally
    • Blood and Betrayal
      • Caravaggio - Enemy
      • Piacenza - Enemy
      • Cremona - Ally
      • Lombardy - Ally
    • Viva Sforza!
      • Milan - Enemy

CampaignIcon-TariqIbnZiyadDE Tariq ibn Ziyad[]

CampaignIcon-Tamerlane Tamerlane[]

CampaignIcon-Ivaylo Ivaylo[]

CampaignIcon-HautevillesDE The Hautevilles[]

32 jadwiga normal Jadwiga[]

Jan Zizka icon Jan Zizka[]

VictorsAndVanquished Campaign Icon Victors and Vanquished[]

CampaignIcon-TheArtOfWar The Art of War[]

Battle Formations is played as the Italians.

In-game dialogue language[]

In-game, Italians units speak Medieval Latin, which is also spoken by the Byzantines. Historically, however, they spoke different vernacular languages descended from Latin. The modern Italian language was based almost exclusively on one of these vernacular languages, the variant of Tuscan spoken in the city of Florence, called Florentine.


AI player names[]

When playing a random map game against the computer, the player may encounter any of the following Italian AI characters:

  • Alboin: King of the Lombards from about 560 until 572.
  • Arechis II of Benevento: Duke of Benevento in Southern Italy. He sought to expand Beneventos' influence into areas of Italy that were still under Byzantine control, but he also had to defend against Charlemagne, who had conquered northern Italy.
  • Castruccio Castracani (1281 – 3 September 1328): An Italian condottiero and duke of Lucca.
  • Domenico Selvo: The 31st Doge of Venice, serving from 1071 to 1084. During his reign as Doge, his domestic policies, the alliances that he forged, and the battles that the Venetian military won and lost laid the foundations for much of the subsequent foreign and domestic policy of the Republic of Venice.
  • Francesco I Sforza: An Italian condottiero, the founder of the Sforza dynasty in Milan, Italy, and was the fourth Duke of Milan from 1450 until his death.
  • Gisulf I of Salerno: Prince of Salerno (952–977), he took to using the title "prince of the people of the Lombards".
  • Liutprand the Lombard: The King of the Lombards from 712 to 744 and he is often regarded as the most successful Lombard monarch, notable for the Donation of Sutri, which was the first accolade of sovereign territory to the Papacy.
  • Maurizio Galbaio: The seventh traditional, but fifth historical, Doge of Venice from 764 to his death. He was the first great doge, who reigned for 22 years and set Venice on its path to independence and success.
  • Ottone Visconti: was Archbishop of Milan and Lord of Milan, the first of the Visconti line. Under his rule, the commune of Milan became a strong Ghibelline city and one of the Holy Roman Empire's seats in Italy.
  • Pietro Gradenigo: The 49th Doge of Venice, reigning from 1289 to his death in 1311. He is known as a founder of the Great Council of Venice, and restricted membership of the future Councils only to the descendants of those nobles who were its members between 1293 and 1297. The oligarchic system was created as a result of this reformation.
  • Pope Gregory VII: Born Hildebrand of Sovana, he was Pope from 22 April 1073 to his death in 1085. One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy, his dispute with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor that affirmed the primacy of papal authority and the new canon law governing the election of the pope by the College of Cardinals.
  • Simone Boccanegra: The first Doge of Genoa. He became doge in 1339, but was ousted from power six years later. He regained the position in 1356, retaining it until his death in 1363.


The Italians are the peoples who have continuously populated the Apennine Peninsula since roughly 572 AD. Although the Italian Peninsula served as the seat of power for the Roman Empire, in 476 AD Rome fell to the Germanic tribes under the rule of Odoacer. In 493, the Byzantines (Eastern Romans) succeeded in convincing the king of the Ostrogoths, Theodoric the Great, to conquer Odoacer's Italy. When Theodoric died in 526, the peninsula fell back into disorder, leaving it open to a Byzantine invasion led by General Flavius Belisarius in 535. However, Byzantine rule was mostly displaced by 572, when the Lombards, another Germanic tribe, invaded the region. The Italian people can thus be identified as the descendants of both the Latin peoples and the Germanic tribes.

Succeeding centuries saw the Italians form a series of different city-states, independent entities whose rule generally did not extend beyond a central city and the surrounding villages. In Northern Italy, the fall of Charlemagne's Holy Roman Empire, which had ousted the Lombards, caused a long period of instability that resulted in the creation of several city-states, including Milan, Genoa, Florence, and Venice. Central Italy fared somewhat better under the control of the Papacy in Rome, but when the Pope crowned the German Otto I the Holy Roman Emperor in 962, both northern and central Italy became involved in the convoluted affairs of the German city-states. On the other hand, Southern Italy remained under the control of Lombards and Byzantines until the eleventh century, when the Normans invaded the area and founded the Kingdom of Sicily.

By the Late Middle Ages, the Italian armies were generally composed of and led by condottieri, professional mercenaries whose allegiance was given to the highest payer. Interstate conflicts usually served to maintain the status-quo of the city-states. The Italian Wars (or Renaissance Wars) of the 16th century saw the peak of these conflicts, ultimately causing the weakening of the Italian city-states.

In terms of naval warfare, the Italian navies were among the best in Europe. The region's geography made domination of the Mediterranean crucial for commerce and culture. Venice and Genoa used their navies to effectively form remarkable maritime empires which competed with other major European states and the Ottoman Empire.

Medieval Italy was an intoxicating mix of ancient Roman architecture, rising theocratic power, and artistic rebellion. Central Italy, under the control of the Catholic Popes, exercised a prominent position in the religious and political matters of European Christendom. Northern Italy's Florence became particularly important during the Late Middle Ages as the seat of the Renaissance, a period of great advances in the arts, music, and science. Florence's Leonardo da Vinci was one of the major figures of the era, developing amazing works of art and pushing the limits of technology.

Nevertheless, the constant conflicts among the Italian city-states made them susceptible to foreign control. Neighboring France, Spain, and Austria proved particularly meddlesome in Italian affairs. It would not be until 1861 that, under the leadership of Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy and Giuseppe Garibaldi, the Italians finally unified into a single nation that exists to this day.[1]


  • The Italians' civilization icon is based on the flag of Genoa.
  • Before the Definitive Edition user interface image displayed Genoese coat of arms and in the Definitive Edition changed to Biscione, a historic symbol of the city of Milan.
  • The Italians in the Barbarossa and Saladin campaigns, before the The Forgotten, are represented by several European civilizations such as Britons, Teutons, Franks, and Byzantines.
  • The Mediterranean Monastery features architectural elements of both Gothic and Romanesque architecture. This combination is typical in Northern Italian churches and cathedrals, as well as in some chapels through Tuscany, Marche, and Umbria.
  • Before patch 4.4, the Mediterranean architecture set (which was then unique to the Italians) shared the same Feudal Age buildings as the Western European set (Britons, Celts, Franks, Spanish). They now have unique Feudal Age buildings of their own after the release of The African Kingdoms and patch 4.4, though they still use exactly the same Lumber and Mining Camps as the Western European civilizations.
    • The Feudal Age architecture for the Mediterranean set actually comes from a fan-made mod, which became official after the release of The African Kingdoms.
  • The following heroes available in the Scenario Editor are themed on the Italians: Francesco Sforza, Gonzalo Pizarro, and Guglielmo Embriaco.
  • It is salient that almost all unique traits for the Italians are cost reductions, possibly referring to the historical fact that Italian maritime republics established extensive trade networks.
  • While Italian mercenaries' loyalties were infamously fickle, Italian mercenaries played an important role in slowing down the expansion of the Ottoman Empire as evident in the historical battle of Lepanto and in the final Dracula scenario. True to gameplay, the Italian unique units, the Genoese Crossbowman and Condottiero, counters the Turks' cavalry and gunpowder units respectively, as the the Turks lack concrete answers to the Genoese Crossbowman due to lacking the Onagers and Elite Skirmishers upgrades in their tech tree.
    • Ironically, the Italians have one of the lowest winrates against the Turks, possibly because the Turks have a better "fast Imperial Age" strategy due to having better civilization bonuses (such as free Chemistry and free upgrades to their Scout Cavalry line) while the Italians requires an investment on a Castle for their fast Imperial strategy.
  • The Italians are viewed as one of the weakest civilizations in some land maps, because they lack a significant economic bonus even after receiving some buffs for their unique units. They are considered, alongside Vikings, the strongest civilization on water maps due to their discount for Dock technologies, leading to the reduction to that discount in update 44725, but extending it to University technologies to help them in land maps. The Genoese Crossbowman is the least used unique foot archer because of their cost, training time, range, as well the Rate of Fire, explaining the numerous buffs to these characteristics.
  • In the beta, the Italians could not research Squires. Their background music was different to later patches. Also, one of their bonuses planned to them was free War Galley upgrade.

Behind the scenes[]

During the development of The Conquerors, the Italians had been considered to appear as the new civilization representing Western Europe region already. However, the Ensemble Studios team eventually picked the Spanish because they were impressed by El Cid's story and they planned to pit the Spanish against two new Native American civilizations (later Montezuma campaign).[2]

When the Forgotten Empires team was working on the Forgotten Empires mod (which eventually became The Forgotten expansion), they initially planned to add the Lombards as one of the new civilizations. But in the end, the developers modified and renamed them as the more generic Italians.[3]

Italians were also considered for Age of Empires III, along with the Swedes, before both were cut. With the release of Knights of the Mediterranean, Italians are in the game like originally planned.



Civilizations in Age of Empires II
Categorised by architecture sets
AfricanEthiopians AoE2 Ethiopians · Malians AoE2 Malians
Central AsianCumans AoE2 Cumans · Tatars AoE2 Tatars
Central EuropeanGoths AoE2 Goths · Huns AoE2 Huns · Teutons AoE2 Teutons · Vikings AoE2 Vikings
East AsianChinese AoE2 Chinese · Japanese AoE2 Japanese · Koreans AoE2 Koreans · Mongols AoE2 Mongols · Vietnamese AoE2 Vietnamese
Eastern EuropeanBohemians AoE2 Bohemians · Bulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians · Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians · Magyars AoE2 Magyars · Poles AoE2 Poles · Slavs AoE2 Slavs
MediterraneanArmenians AoE2 Armenians · Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines · Georgians AoE2 Georgians · Italians AoE2 Italians · Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese · Romans AoE2 Romans · Sicilians AoE2 Sicilians · Spanish AoE2 Spanish
Middle EasternBerbers AoE2 Berbers · Persians AoE2 Persians · Saracens AoE2 Saracens · Turks AoE2 Turks
Native AmericanAztecs AoE2 Aztecs · Incas AoE2 Incas · Mayans AoE2 Mayans
South Asian/IndianBengalis AoE2 Bengalis · Dravidians AoE2 Dravidians · Gurjaras AoE2 Gurjaras · Hindustanis AoE2 Hindustanis · Indians AoE2 Indians (removed)
Southeast AsianBurmese AoE2 Burmese · Khmer AoE2 Khmer · Malay AoE2 Malay
Western EuropeanBritons AoE2 Britons · Burgundians AoE2 Burgundians · Celts AoE2 Celts · Franks AoE2 Franks
Categorised by expansions
AoE2-DLCicon-0 The Age of KingsBritons AoE2 Britons · Byzantines AoE2 Byzantines · Celts AoE2 Celts · Chinese AoE2 Chinese · Franks AoE2 Franks · Goths AoE2 Goths · Japanese AoE2 Japanese · Mongols AoE2 Mongols · Persians AoE2 Persians · Saracens AoE2 Saracens · Teutons AoE2 Teutons · Turks AoE2 Turks · Vikings AoE2 Vikings
AoE2-DLCicon-1 The ConquerorsAztecs AoE2 Aztecs · Huns AoE2 Huns · Koreans AoE2 Koreans · Mayans AoE2 Mayans · Spanish AoE2 Spanish
AoE2-DLCicon-2 The ForgottenIncas AoE2 Incas · Indians AoE2 Indians (removed) · Italians AoE2 Italians · Magyars AoE2 Magyars · Slavs AoE2 Slavs
AoE2-DLCicon-3 The African KingdomsBerbers AoE2 Berbers · Ethiopians AoE2 Ethiopians · Malians AoE2 Malians · Portuguese AoE2 Portuguese
AoE2-DLCicon-4 Rise of the RajasBurmese AoE2 Burmese · Khmer AoE2 Khmer · Malay AoE2 Malay · Vietnamese AoE2 Vietnamese
AoE2-DLCicon-5 The Last KhansBulgarians AoE2 Bulgarians · Cumans AoE2 Cumans · Lithuanians AoE2 Lithuanians · Tatars AoE2 Tatars
AoE2Icon-LordsWest Lords of the WestBurgundians AoE2 Burgundians · Sicilians AoE2 Sicilians
Dawn of the Dukes icon Dawn of the DukesBohemians AoE2 Bohemians · Poles AoE2 Poles
AoE2Icon-DynastiesIndia Dynasties of IndiaBengalis AoE2 Bengalis · Dravidians AoE2 Dravidians · Gurjaras AoE2 Gurjaras · Hindustanis AoE2 Hindustanis
AoE2Icon-ReturnRome Return of RomeRomans AoE2 Romans
AoE2Icon-MountainRoyals The Mountain RoyalsArmenians AoE2 Armenians · Georgians AoE2 Georgians