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Fabulously wealthy merchant republics, kingdoms, duchies, and even the Papacy had driven the Renaissance and dominated the trade networks of the Mediterranean. However, when the Italian polities were not engaged in conflicts abroad, they fought each other nearly incessantly, until the Risorgimento gave rise to the new Kingdom of Italy.

The Italian civilization's music theme

The Italians are a playable European civilization in Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - Knights of the Mediterranean.

While Christopher Columbus was famous for being the second European to discover America (with the Vikings being the first), the Italians colonization of the New World was very limited with the exception of the scrapped Thornton expedition by Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Despite this, the Italian city-states and mercenaries played a crucial role in slowing the expansion of the Ottoman Empire in the Ottoman-Habsburg wars, which led to the decline of power and influence of the Ottoman Empire. The Italian city-states united as the Kingdom of Italy in the 19th century and established colonies of their own in Africa, which included modern day Eritrea, Somalia, Libya, and Ethiopia.

Home City[]

Home City Italians.png



  • Starts with an Explorer and an Architect.
  • Receives a free Settler with every technology and economic buildings can research them in any age.
  • Can send Basilica units to spawn at any military shipment point.

Unique units[]

  • Italians architect portrait.jpg Architect: Unique civilian who can build for free but very slowly. By paying a wood cost, building foundations in progress will have their construction more quickly and allow settlers to work on them.
  • Italians pavisier portrait.jpg Pavisier: Unique crossbowman that can change its armor with different stances. In the Defend Mode and Hold Ground stances, The Pavisier gains dual armor, resisting both ranged and melee damage simultaneously.
  • Italians bersagliere portrait.jpg Bersagliere: Skirmisher trained to move fast. Sounds a bugle after defeating an enemy to stun foes and boost ally speed.
  • Italians schiavone portrait.jpg Schiavone: Specialized Light Infantry that only counters other Light Infantry, but does so very effectively.
  • Italians papal guard portrait.jpg Papal Guard: Papal hand infantry that protects nearby allies by absorbing some of the inflicted damage. Can hook enemies with his halberd to slow them down. Possesses a powerful charged attack using his halberd.
  • Italians papal lancer portrait.jpg Papal Lancer: Papal heavy cavalry that absorbs some of the damage inflicted to nearby allies. Counters Infantry. Has no negative damage multipliers against Heavy Infantry.
  • Italians papal zouave portrait.jpg Papal Zouave: Papal ranged infantry with high hit points that absorbs some of the damage inflicted to nearby allies. Deals high damage but possesses no damage multipliers. Countered by Artillery.
  • Italians papal bombard portrait.jpg Papal Bombard: Papal Artillery that absorbs some of the damage inflicted to nearby allies. Good against Infantry.
  • Galleass portrait.png Galleass: Slow, powerful ship resistant to building fire that can train units.

Unique buildings[]

  • Basilica portrait.png Basilica: Ships powerful Papal allies and boosts nearby building construction speed.
  • Lombard portrait.png Lombard: Trains Outlaws and Mercenaries, but is also host to a unique investment mechanic, allowing the conversion of resources for free, but over time.

Home City Cards[]

Main article: Italian Home City Cards


Argentina, Barbary States, Brazil, and United States

In-game dialogue[]

Almost all Italian units speak their namesake language, except for the Papal Guard and the Schiavone, who speak Zürich German and Croatian, respectively.

  • Si? - Yes?
  • L'italiani Ganumi fannu - ???
  • Fuoco! - Fire!
  • Tagliaboschi - Lumberjack
  • Non mi si faccia fretta, codesta è arte! - Do not rush me, this is art!
  • Ossequi? - At your service
  • Pronto/Pronti - Ready
  • Cacciatore - Hunter
  • Minatore - Miner
  • Capomastro - Builder
  • Cercatore - Finder
  • De certi sicuro - Certainly
  • Quale li di fi ciu? - ???
  • Aviteletendo? - ???
  • Berlatte del ceia? - ???
  • Buondi - Hello
  • Come e state? - How are you?
  • Piscatore - Fisher
  • Contadino - Farmer
  • All'assalto! - Attack!
  • Alla'armi - TO arms!
  • In pocalupo - ???


  • The Italians were planned as a civilization in the original Age of Empires III in 2005, but were ultimately scrapped. However, two unique units for them were retained: the Elmetto as a mercenary unit and the Hoop Thrower as a campaign-only unit for the Knights of St. John.
  • Although Italy had no colonies in the New World and only had explorers of Italian origin, the King of Tuscany Ferdinand I sent in 1608 an unsuccessful colonial expedition to what is now French Guiana (this would be colonized by the French only in 1630). The expedition was the only attempt by an Italian state to colonise the Americas.
  • Although at first glance it may seem anachronistic, the Italian flag was based on the French revolutionary flag, beginning to be used by Italians from 1796 as a symbol of national unity until its definitive unification in 1861.


As the early modern period dawned, the Italian peninsula was divided between a plethora of small states: merchant republics, kingdoms, duchies, and even the Papacy. These entities, most of which were fabulously wealthy, had driven the Renaissance and dominated the trade networks of the Mediterranean. Such high stakes invited conflict, however, and when the Italian polities were not engaged in conflicts abroad, they fought each other nearly incessantly.

For a long time, trade networks between Europe and the lands to the east had flourished, but this changed during the 15th century when the expanding Ottoman Empire vanquished the declining Byzantine Empire and incorporated its lands. Intense rivalry between the Ottomans and European states led to the closure of the traditional trade routes east, and so the latter sought other ways to reach the trading hubs of Asia. While the Italian states spearheaded very few of these efforts, many of their people joined the exploration efforts that sailed in all directions, charting routes around Africa and also reaching the Americas.

While many other European states settled these lands, the Italian states seldom did so, being preoccupied with Mediterranean trade and rivalries with the Ottomans and with each other. Further, as the settlement of other continents proved a lucrative business, competition was high, and the small Italian states did not have the power to compete with their larger neighbors in Europe. Although they played a pivotal role in early modern events in their sphere of influence, most notably the Wars of the Holy League against the Ottoman Empire (16th-17th centuries) and the Thirty Years’ War (17th century), their decline progressed swiftly. By the time that the Napoleonic Wars began at the turn of the 19th century, their splendor was past, and they were easily conquered by the French Empire.

Adversity drove ambition, however, and after the collapse of the French Empire in 1815, many residents of the Italian states saw the need for unity – a process that would consume the following six decades. Through war and diplomacy, these regions coalesced into one nation-state – largely thanks to the leadership of the so-called Four Fathers of the Fatherland: Victor Emmanuel, Camillo Benso, Giuseppe Mazzini, and most famously, Giuseppe Garibaldi. In 1871, the unification process – or Risorgimento – ended when the new Kingdom of Italy annexed the Papal States and proclaimed Rome its new capital.