Set sail to Venice, shed off the burden of the Barbarian invasions that have torn your beloved peninsula apart after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Take the role as general of one of the Italian republics that emerged in the chaos and reinstate the might that once shone from your lands. Genoa, Venice, Pisa, Ragusa, Amalfi or even the Papal states. The choice is yours which history to write.

► Italians.mp3

Quick Card

Archer and Naval civilization

  • Advancing to the next age costs -10%
  • Dock techs cost -50%
  • Fishing ships +2 LOS
  • Gunpowder units cost -15%

Unique Units:

  • Genoese Crossbowman (anti-cavalry archer)
  • Condottiero (anti-gunpowder infantry)

Unique Technologies:

  • Pavise: Genoese Crossbowman +1/+1 armor
  • Silk Road: Trade units cost -50%

Team Bonus:

  • Condottiero (anti-gunpowder infantry) available in Imperial barracks


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 tricking the king of the Ostrogoths, Theodoric the Great, to conquer Odoacer’s Italy. When Theodoric died in 526, the peninsula fell back into disorder, allowing 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 peninsula. 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 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 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.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Italian armies were generally composed of and led by condottieri, professional mercenaries whose allegiance was determined by 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 interstates conflict, 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 the 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 which exists to this day.

  • John_the_Late

    What about the 3rd and 4th scenario of the Barbarossa campaign? Will the Italian civs be changed form Goths to Italians?

    • Someone already asked somewhere… they’re not planning to do this.

  • lwt888kk

    I think you can add some new soldiers,because I think Italians are a little feeble…………

  • BulgarianBoliar

    I think that the cheap next age bonus is very nice!

  • Pylou

    If you want my opinion, I was really dissapointed when I see the Italian civ, and for some reasons :

    – The Genoeses Crossbowmen is for me the same (tought lower) to the typical crossbowmen, and they really look like the hand cannoneers ! When we wait for a new civ, it’s more exciting when we can see differents units like… like the MAGYAR HUZCAR (I really loved him) ! So.. I think it could be better

    – The Contodierro (I’m not sure for the spelling)… is a really genious unit too but… WHY ONLY IN TEAM MODE ? It will be incredible in single mode ! And I think is could be better to put it in castles instead of Genoeses crossbowmen, cause this unit is the real good UNIC UNIT of the ITALIAN CIV, to my opinion

    Well, so I was fell in love with this game and please if you do new versions, keep us informed ! Thanks a lot, or maybe…

    …De la part d’un français, merci beaucoup 🙂

    • roel1

      I think that the genoese crossbowmen is really strong! (the texture is from age of chivalry: hegemony)
      they pown elephants, paladins, camels, huzars!, they are really strong~!, better than the janisary against calv. they are awsome. the condotdierro is not so genious in my opinion, they are average, and a fun team bonus. I would not like to see genoese crossbowmen as an teambonus, because that will mean i will be dead X_X

      • redmenace13

        are u sure that condotierros cannot be used in non-team games? i think that no matter if u are on a team or not, u still get ur own bonus. also i dont think they would ever get used if u needed castles to make them. i personally like the genoese xbow, they have an interesting bonus and are fun to use. however, if they could make them look more different from hand cannons (which the italians get) it would be a lot better.

        • HumanMale1

          Yeah, team bonuses work for you whether or not you have allies. The only difference is that when on a team, your allies have the condottiero as well. I love that the condottiero is a team bonus, because it will help take down the Turks, which for me is always tough.

          Also, don’t look down on the Genoese Crossbowman. Anti-cavalry is probably the coolest trait for an archer, and they fare the best out of all unique unit archers against the Mayan plumed archers.

  • sirseor

    I may be missing something, but it seems that the basic and elite Genoese Crossbowmen have the exact same stats? Or do they improve in some ‘hidden’ way?

    • John_the_Late

      Yes, the attack bonus is increased.

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  • eleledu

    i dont understand why not create roma civilization to play . legionaries, etc etc will be amazing you can play aainst them in campaing but not in a single game y cant understand

    • thestrider99

      because if you want romans u can alway’s get AoE 1 the rise of rome+byzantines are estern romans

      so really no reason to create a roman civi
      but if you want a roman mod her’s one here:

  • thestrider99

    everithime i play against the italians they kick my ass big time those crosbowman masacre my cavaleri and Condottiero’s pick down my arlablast’s so whats left

    pls help

  • davidthegreat

    it would be great if the Condottiero be made available at the barracks for all civs without an italian ally.

  • Rewold

    I think the Italian population has been programmed very badly.
    No denying that it is the weakest of all other peoples, without a horse, without siege weapons developable poteziabili it in college, infantry using the base even if the leader frankly if he had a little bit more attack would have been better not to mention the special unit that special i did not understand yet what has … has no long-range it more attack power of a normal archer.

    In addition, I note that the Italians did not heresy … how is it possible? the population with the Vatican in their own land is not heresy? seems absurd to me, along with the Spanish people that I think you should have a power Eclesiastico stronger.

    the Italian population have remained very disappointed … : (