After two wars of independence and the Expedition of Garibaldi to the Kingdom of the two Sicilies in Southern Italy, on March 17, 1861, the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia proclaimed Vittorio Emanuele II King of the newborn Kingdom of Italy: it was the official birth of Italy as a country.
Some important territories were still missing at the completion of the project of unification of the Risorgimento – the movement for Italian Unification – in addition to the areas annexed only after the First World War - and partly lost after the Second: Veneto was still under Austrian rule, while the Papal State laid at the centre of the Peninsula, determined not to be annexed. Their conquest took place in 1866 and 1871 respectively.
The capital of the new nation was Turin, already the capital city of the Kingdom of Sardinia, while the Statuto Albertino, the constitution of the latter, was extended to the whole territory.
After the Parliament’s proclamation, the international recognition did not take long to arrive: the first nation to recognize the new State was Great Britain; on March 30, 1861, the Foreign Office wrote to an Italian diplomat in London, Vittorio Emanuele Taparelli d'Azeglio, that it had been informed of the proclamation and that he, d’Azelio, would be received by Queen Victoria as a representative of the Kingdom of Italy: a statement that, in fact, was a recognition of the new State.
Switzerland followed suit and wrote to the king Vittorio Emanuele II on April 2, just 3 days after the UK. As a matter of fact, as it can be read on the website of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bern had already informally announced that it intended to recognize the Kingdom of Italy, but wanted to wait until a great power - such as Great Britain in the 19th century - did so first.
The road was now open for diplomatic recognition, that gradually arrived from other countries, and Italy consolidated as a unified state in the decades that followed.