How To Form Italy in EU4 (Complete Guide)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
The Italian peninsula’s a politically fragmented region. But you can unify it with any nation within the Latin culture group. The only ones who can’t are the Papal State, the Holy Roman Empire, or any end-game tag.
As a Latin nation, you have access to the “Form Italian Nation” decision. Forming Italy only comes with these simple requirements:
- Has at least Admin Tech 10
- Has at least 20 core provinces in the Italy region, including the following:
Note: You’ll get Admin Tech 10 around the 1520s. While waiting for that, you’ve plenty of time to conquer the region.
Recommended Nations to Form Italy
Historically, the Savoyards were the ones who united Italy under one sovereignty.
In EU4, Savoy’s also best poised to fulfill that same destiny. Their national ideas give them an edge in diplomacy. They’re skilled at mitigating aggressive expansion (AE) from their modifiers.
Savoy also has the option to form Sardinia-Piedmont before becoming Italy. They’ll get a functionally similar national idea set, but with better bonuses.
Most importantly, Sardinia-Piedmont gets a -10% aggressive expansion impact modifier. This further helps stave off coalitions from appearing.
Lastly, Savoy’s missions give you permanent claims across the full breadth of Italy. But they go beyond that with claims on France and Jerusalem too. Savoy also gets the most number of permanent modifiers from their missions:
|Permanent Modifiers||Modifier Name||Savoyard Mission|
|+1 Yearly legitimacy
-10% Diplomatic annexation cost
|Unity of Italy||Union with Naples|
|+10% Goods produced
+5% Administrative efficiency
|Alpine Powerhouse||Powerhouse of the North|
|+0.5 Yearly papal influence
+2% Missionary strength
|The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus||A Center of Belief|
Milan is a versatile nation to play.
You get to choose between three powerful government forms within the first decade. But this choice appears during Milan’s “Golden Ambrosian Republic” disaster.
By itself, that disaster’s easy to play through.
However, it gives all your neighbors a special “Government Form” casus belli (CB) on you. Worse, France and Austria get a “Restoration of Personal Union” CB on you as well.
New players may find it hard to deal with these threats. If even one of them attacks, it can delay or derail your campaign for Italy. You must know how to work around those via shrewd diplomacy.
Like Savoy, Milan also has an extra diplomatic slot, but not the buff to improving relations.
Instead, their armies get a +10% infantry combat ability. It’s quite a useful modifier in the early game for when you’re doing your conquests. It’ll help you crush any rebels that pop up during the disaster as well.
As for the Milanese missions, most are focused on internal development.
They also get permanent claims but only for provinces within the region. Many of the modifier rewards are temporary and last around 15–30 years. They do get one set of permanent provincial modifiers:
|Permanent Modifiers||Modifier Name||Milanese Mission|
+10% local tax modifier
|The Capital of Italy||All Roads Lead to Milan|
Naples owns the entire southern half of Italy.
Their strategic position puts them far from the borders of the Empire. So you don’t have to worry too much about ze Germans forming coalitions against you.
Though Naples starts as a subject of Aragon, it’s scripted to end peacefully within the first few years. But you actually don’t wait for that to happen.
It’s preferable to fight Aragon for your independence. That way, you can take their provinces early. Some of which are already your cores.
Taking those back lets you form the Two Sicilies later in the 1500s. The Two Sicilies is another of Italy’s predecessor states, along with Sardinia-Piedmont.
For Naples’s missions, they give you permanent claims on only two areas of Italy. So you’ll need to manually fabricate claims on the rest of the target provinces.
But you do get claims across the Mediterranean, including some of Iberia and the Holy Lands. Naples also gets these permanent modifiers:
|Permanent Modifiers||Modifier Name||Neapolitan Mission|
|+1 Tolerance of the true faith||Naples Defends the Faith||Defender of the Faith|
|+5% Mercenary discipline||Victory in the Italian Wars||Win the Italian Wars|
|-15% Liberty desire from subject development||Privileged Subjects||Crown of Aragon|
|+15% Ship trade power||Defeated the Barbary Pirates||Defeat the Barbary Pirates|
General Tips to Form Italy
#1: Idea Sets
As a European, you’ll want Administrative and Diplomatic for your first ideas.
These ideas help you manage the excessive costs for annexing high development provinces. Many of those provinces are found in the Italy region.
First, Administrative gives you a -25% core-creation cost modifier. With it, you can save more admin power, which can then be used to tech up or to core other provinces. This also stacks with the discount from a permanent claim.
Coring Genoa normally costs 125 admin power, even more when turning it into a state. But with Administrative ideas and a permanent claim, you only need to spend half that amount.
Second, Diplomatic helps you maintain good relations with other nations.
This is important to prevent them from forming coalitions. (See Aggressive Expansion section below.)
Diplomatic also has a -20% province war score cost modifier. This affects how many provinces you can annex during a peace deal. It also means you don’t have to prolong your wars to have enough score to demand for peace.
#2: Aggressive Expansion
A big problem on the road to Rome is aggressive expansion (AE). You accumulate AE every time you annex provinces or vassalize nations.
The amount you generate depends on the provinces’ development.
Ones with high dev give you a ton of AE, and most of Italy’s highly developed. On top of that, Northern Italy’s part of the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) at the start.
Conquering HRE provinces incurs an extra +50% AE. That status quo won’t last long though. After the “Shadow Kingdom” Imperial incident, the North will secede from the Empire.
If your AE gets high enough, nearby nations will form coalitions against you.
Fighting those is never fun.
In a coalition war, your enemies have a passive +30 war enthusiasm. That means it’s harder to get them to sign a peace deal. Worse, coalition members can’t sign a separate peace. Only the war leader can do that.
That said, nations will join a coalition only if you’ve negative relations with them. So you must maintain positive relations with everyone around you.
This is where your diplomacy modifiers become useful.
With extra diplomats, you can improve relations with several countries all at once. If everyone’s your friend, then no one will object if you gobble up an entire nation.
#3: Roma Province
All Catholics get severe diplomatic penalties for annexing Roma or vassalizing the Pope.
Only Italy, a unified HRE, or a revived Roman Empire are exempt from those.
This is why you’ll want to put off conquering Roma until you’re ready to form Italy.
Even then, turning Roma into a core can take several months. You must be ready to endure the penalties while waiting for your core.
For example, your allies may abandon you if you get attacked due to the diplomatic penalties.
One way you can prepare for that is to max out your relations and trust with them prior to taking Roma.
You should pay close attention to your relationship with the Papal State.
If they have a negative opinion on you then you may get excommunicated.
While you’re excommunicated, you’ll have -50 relations with other Catholic nations. Your neighbors will also get the “Excommunicated Ruler” CB.
So send the Papal State a diplomat from time to time to maintain good relations. You can also simply ally them. That’ll nullify some of the opinion penalties from your warmongering.
#5: Fortify the Alps
The Alpine mountain range acts as a natural barrier against non-Italian invaders. You can harness this geographic boon by placing forts on these strategic provinces:
- Como or Waldstätte
Note: Trent is technically an Italian province in the Germany region. So it’ll remain as a member of the HRE after the “Shadow Kingdom” incident. But you can get it without fighting the Emperor by vassalizing Trent diplomatically.
Your forts in these provinces will project a zone of control on the passes. They’re mountainous too. This terrain extends the time needed to siege your forts. They also give you a combat advantage when fighting off a besieging force. Your enemies will take increased attrition damage as well.
During your conquest of the region, secure your Alpine flank with forts and ramparts.
Once they’re done, you can delete the rest of your forts around Italy.
This won’t need to pay for them anymore, thereby improving your economy. But you could also leave your capital fort intact, if you’d like the extra insurance.
Tip: If you’re playing as Savoy or Milan, one of your missions is to build forts along the Alpine areas. Finishing that mission upgrades those forts for free. This means you can get Bastions or Star Forts way before everyone else.