French historiography on contemporary Italy brings together a variety of historians whose activity has been relevant for the past 30 years. Following Pierre Milza, who has stimulated research, several French historians have contributed to the understanding of the Italian Risorgimento, of the Fascist period and of the democratic republic. Several historiographical genres have been used: biographies (Mazzini, Cavour, Mussolini), institutions (the Fascist political elite), the Fascist totalitarian phenomenon (the antisemite persecution, the control over government and over the economy), and finally the solid comprehensive accounts of republican Italy. As a consequence, Italy is today one of the great European countries that stir up a lively interest in the French historical school and amongst its public. This article tries to give a broad overview of that.
Keywords: France and Italy, French historiography, French historians, Risorgimento, Italian unification, Fascism, Italian republic