Italy has not always been the strong and united country that stands before us today. It was not until the nineteenth century where a movement for Italian unification took place. This movement is known as, "Risorgimento". Risorgimento aimed to unite Italy under one flag and one government. To the Italian people, this movement was more than just a unification of their country but a renewal of Italian society and a desire for freedom of foreign control, liberalism and constitutionalism. An important figure through this time period was Giuseppe Verdi, a famous composer primarily known for his operas. His operas had said to have a purpose behind them or operas with revolutionary messages. To understand the importance of Giuseppe Verdi and the Risorgimento, it is important to understand the history and segmented states of the Italian peninsula. .
In Europe, the Italian peninsula has been land that several different countries have invaded over time. Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Spanish, French, Austrian, Russian and various other countries have at some point controlled the states that is today known as Italy. One of the most important dominations was by the French when Napoleon rose to power. He separated the peninsula into three different sections. The north, kingdom of Italy where Napoleon lived himself and the kingdom of Naples where Napoleon's first brother Joseph Bonaparte ruled. The Office of the Historian by the U.S. Department of State had wrote, "The period of the French invasion and occupation was important in many ways. It introduced revolutionary ideas about government and society, resulting in an overthrow of the old established ruling orders and the destruction of the last vestiges of feudalism. The ideals of freedom and equality were very influential. Also of consequence, the concept of nationalism was introduced, thus sowing the seeds of Italian nationalism through most parts of the northern and central Italian peninsula.