Throughout their long history, Italians have been more the “house divided” than the “house united” both for good and for bad. In Roman times, the Republic successfully administered large parts of Italy thanks to a political system largely based on self-governing “colonies” and “allies”. The Empire was careful not to do away with the Republic’s proven administrative system, which it co-opted into an imperial system for the most part based on self-governing Provinces. In the middle ages, the lombard-led North Italian city-states of the Holy Roman Empire divided between pro-papal “Guelphs” (“Welf”) and anti-papal (or “lay”) Ghibellines (“Waiblingen”), reflecting the factions of their germanic cousins to the North. From time to time Italian States would band together into “Leagues” whenever threatened by more powerful domestic or foreign neighbors. By and large, however, Italian states (like their German cousins) preferred independence to unification until Piedmont finally succeeded in incorporating the other States of the Peninsula into one big Kingdom in 1861 under the Savoy Monarchy. In modern times, Italians divided politically between Fascists and Communists as their fledgling Republic preferred to centralize power in the hands of a Rome government purposely designed by the country’s Founding Fathers to be weak and subservient to the legislative branch.