The stamps of Italy, from 1862 to date, offer casual collecting, philatelic study, and thematic collecting options that are almost limitless. With over 2,500 years of recorded history and civilization, Italy will probably never run out of archeological, artistic, cultural, and historical subjects to illustrate on their pictorial definitive and commemorative postage stamps.
Rome, the capitol of Italy, was founded as a settlement along the Tiber
River in 753 B.C. It is one of the oldest, continuously occupied, cities
on the face of the Earth. It definitely measures up to its nickname as
the "ETERNAL CITY".
First a Republic, and then a vast Empire, Italy, by the end of the 1st Century controlled most of the known Western World, and for the next 500 years, it would shape the future of the Western World. For it's immeasurable influence on modern day Western culture, Italy has long been referred to by historians as the "CRADLE OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION".
You basically can't "dig" anywhere in Italy, without finding some kind of evidence of the ancient past. On one of my trips to Italy, I talked to an archeologist that was working near the Temple of Hadrian in Rome. She told me that if one were to remove the modern city of Rome and dig down about 40 feet, the ancient city of Rome, with all its historical treasures, IS STILL THERE!
The excavation of Pompeii, destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D., did not begin until the late 19th Century, and today, well over 100 years later, only about half of the city of Pompeii has actually been unearthed. Much of Italy's past still lies beneath centuries of accumulated European soil, yet to be discovered.
The Kingdom of Italy was proclaimed on March 17, 1861, and the first official postage stamps of Italy began appearing in 1862. They were actually a continuation postage stamps of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
The goal of the Wars of Independence, between 1859 and 1866, was to establish a united kingdom encompassing all of the Italian peninsula. They were a joint effort between pro-monarchy nationalist forces in Southern Italy, led by Giuseppe Garibaldi and Giuseppe Mazzini, and the Kingdom of Sardinia, led by King Victor Emmanuel (House of Savoy).
In 1866, with the aid of France and Prussia, the Austrian Imperial provinces of Lombardy and Venetia were annexed to the Kingdom of Italy. In 1870, the Italians took over the Papal States, and for the first time since the 6th Century, all of the Italian peninsula was united into a single parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with its capitol at Rome.
During the Wars of Independence, the postage stamps of the Kingdom of Sardinia were used in the newly united provinces. This accounts for the fact that the first postage stamps of Italy listed in the Scott catalog begin with catalog number seventeen. The first sixteen catalog numbers actually belong to the separately listed postage stamp issues of the Kingdom of Sardinia.
Between 1862 and 1900, there are a lot of regular definitive postage stamps of Italy. This is due, in large part, to the fact that there were three different monarchs during this time period. And, of course, each of them had to have their own definitive postage stamp series.
In 1910, Kingdom of Italy issued their first commemorative postage stamps. Throughout the 1920's and 1930's sets of definitive stamps would dominate Italian philately, depicting their glorious Roman Imperial heritage or heroes of the Wars of Independence. Some of them are shown on this category page.
Links to historical articles and reviews of the definitive and commemorative postage stamp issues will eventually appear at the top of the third column of this page.
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Definitives of 1862-1877
Definitives of 1879-1897
Definitives of 1901-1927
Commemoratives of 1910-1921
Commemoratives of 1922-1924
Definitives of 1923-1929
Commemoratives of 1925-1928
Definitives of 1929-1942
Commemoratives of 1929-1931
Commemoratives of 1932
Commemoratives of 1933-1934
Commemoratives of 1934
Commemoratives of 1935
Commemoratives of 1936-1937
Commemoratives of 1937
Commemoratives of 1938-1939
Commemoratives of 1941-1942