- +20% Global trade power
- +50% Improve relations
- −10% Stability cost modifier
- +15% Infantry combat ability
- −15% Galley cost
- +20% Galley combat ability
- +33% National manpower modifier
- +15% National tax modifier
- +1 Yearly prestige
- −25% Core-creation cost
- +20% Fort Defense
Italy is one of the formable countries that can be formed by any country with the Latin culture group, most likely Tuscany, Savoy, Genoa, Milan, Venice or Naples. The Holy Roman Empire and the Papal State can't form Italy. Forming Italy in Ironman mode will give the player the Italian Ambition achievement.
The player's country:
Forming Italy is the only condition to receive the Italian Ambition achievement.
If the country is AI-controlled then it:
If the country:
Note: Italy is one of the two countries that does not get hefty penalties for owning Rome or vassalizing the Papal State while Catholic. Taking Rome should be postponed until ready to form Italy immediately after having Rome cored.
Italy is situated in between France, the Ottomans, and Austria. These three powers all have great military power and the potential to provide a great obstacle to the player. Especially the Ottomans with their high naval force limit and shared interest in the mediterranean sea. This threat can be averted by allying one of the strong powers situated close to the Italian Peninsula. Nations such as Hungary and France can provide very worthy allies. Austria and Castile/ Spain are not advised, as one of the low amount of expansion paths are through the HRE, usually lead by Austria, or the rest of the Mediterranean Sea, controlled by Castile or their personal union partners Aragon and Naples. Allying France is preferred since they will normally rival Austria or Castile and do not have any interests in the Italian region. Other possible allies such as Poland and Bohemia can act as a counterbalance to the power of Austria and the Ottomans.
The second issue with Italy is their trade nodes. When Italy is formed their trade port is either in Genoa or in Venice. These nodes are highly competitive and lead to a large amount of conflicts. But, because of their end node status, these nodes have the opportunity to become a large source of income. To stay out of conflict with both France and Castile, trade should be focused in the Venice node. The disadvantage of the Venice node is that the gold from the new world and Africa does not reach it. Later on in the game, when the player feels that France can be beaten and trade in Genoa would provide more ducats, the trade port should be changed to Genoa. An alternative way is to quickly take the Genoan coast that is not owned by any of the large powers and securing it for own benefit, preventing anyone else from taking the power. Focus can then be transferred to the North African coast to improve the amount of trade going from there to Genoa. When a strong foothold has been established, the player can focus on colonizing the African continent or continuing into mainland Europe or the Balkans. Because of the end node being in control of Italy, colonizing can be very lucrative. When going for the colonizer route, special attention should be given to the provinces that act as centers of trade, estuaries or natural harbors. Colonizing can also be lucrative when the main trade city is in Venice. This means that in order to get the most income, the provinces of Damietta and Suez should be conquered from the Mamluks in order to get access to the Gulf of Aden trade node and all nodes that lead into it. By going through Egypt, India can be reached far earlier than the other colonial empires.
You get about 60-80% of your home node and 100% in the other one, or at least nobody that collects there as their home node. Aside from that getting the trade provinces in Seville, Constantinople, Alexandria and Tunis will assure you of a good trade income, this could be accomplished at around 1550 - 1650.
Italy will have a strong Mediterranean presence, which leads to increased tensions with some of the neighboring countries. While Italy gets boosts to its military, they aren't the absolute best. The +33% manpower and 15% infantry combat ability are quite nice and can fend off units crossing into the Alps or over rivers with ease. The lowered galley cost and combat ability are superb for keeping the mediterranean under control and fending off any assaults from sea. Another idea that indirectly helps with military, albeit more offensively, is the lowered core creation cost. This idea allows for more rapid expansion while keeping technology up to date. It also helps against the Berber traditions for increased coring cost. The high base development of the Italian provinces lay base to a strong army, rivalling that of other major European powers.
As Italy it is advised to keep a few vassals, preferably as march, with certain ideas to aid the nation. Countries with strong military focused ideas help to keep the balance on land, while having a coastal vassal with naval ideas aid in ruling the waves. The weakness in Italy's is that its generic ideas force it to be average in all aspects. Offset this with vassals to cover any apparent weaknesses.
Italy starts in a vulnerable position as you start as small country in the middle of great powers, but being in two end nodes allows for great rewards. Their position in southern Europe allows for multiple directions for expansion, sending the trade home by taking the sanctuary's and later dominate with the extra core creation cost.