I like how your TL is so thought out and full of details we can have discussions on alternate scenarios to your original alternate history timeline. It also really interesting reading your thought process and ideas behind your timeline which is something we usually don't see often.

I would love to see such a scenario tbh but frankly I feel like you already have a lot on your plate already haha
If I was going to redo the 1739-40 campaign to allow the rebels to "win" in the most convincing way possible, I think it would go something like this:

  • San Pellegrino in June 1739 is an even more decisive victory and Villemur's command is largely neutralized as a fighting force.
  • Boissieux still reaches the Nebbio and captures San Fiorenzo, but is shocked by Villemur's disaster and pauses to request more reinforcements (and perhaps to move Montmorency's men to his position, as they've been doing basically nothing up in Capo Corso)
  • Boissieux's pause and the removal of Villemur as a threat allow the rebels to concentrate more at San Quilico and the passes to Bastia and reinforce their positions with artillery.
  • France wants to avenge their honor but they'd still prefer that Genoa pay for it, and thus there is a period of wrangling with the Genoese. The French decide to sack Boissieux and offer his removal as an inducement. Whether or not Genoa agrees to pay for additional troops, France eventually sends a few thousand.
  • All this significantly delays the campaign. By the time Lautrec and reinforcements arrive, it's autumn. In the meantime, the Corsicans fortify Borgo as a fallback position.
  • Lautrec is able to force through the Corsican defenses and takes Bastia, albeit at some cost. A French detachment attacks Borgo but is repulsed.
  • Lautrec attacks Borgo with his main force and wins a pyrrhic victory.
  • By this time the Treaty of Belgrade has been signed, and France ruins its relations with Genoa in November with Jonville's proposal to "rent" the whole island to France. Genoa makes noises about refusing to pay for French troops. Lautrec takes Vescovato but ends the year's campaign before heading inland.
  • Lautrec resumes the campaign in the spring and heads up along the Golo in April/May, only to be decisively defeated at Ponte Novo (which in this alt-TL happens in the Spring of 1740 instead of November of 1739). The Austrians land in southern Corsica in May, on schedule.
  • "Honor" notwithstanding, the French are now faced with a campaign that Genoa is no longer willing to support financially (at least not to the extent the French would want), and now that the Austrians are here a further campaign up the Golo would merely be throwing French lives away for territory that will have to be turned over to the Austrian occupation. There is also potentially an opportunity to play the two sides against each other, which Theodore might actually be good at. At this point he just needs to run out the clock until October, when the emperor kicks the bucket.
Similar with the army size stuff, easy enough to slightly up. I think Prussia model is plausible and Fredrico would be tempted to align with someone if that would help pay for a large military, but that certainly can plausibly *not* happen. I do think Modena is not necessarily a perfect model though. Like military size involves cost per soldier and share of government spending on military in addition to revenue. Like Prussia spent roughly 1/3rd less per soldier and 85% instead of slightly over 50% of budget on military compared to France, which allowed it slightly over twice the army per capita. Compared to a small Italian state, Corsica will likely have lower revenue per capita, but it will spend a much larger share on the military (far lower court/noble/administrative spending) and have somewhat cheaper soldiers.

So I thought about this for a bit and did some napkin math.

My belief that Corsica couldn't sustain its military was actually based on Prussian numbers. The Prussian army paid about 300 livres per soldier per annum around the time of the SYW. (The Savoyard army immediately prior to the WAS seems to have paid about the same amount as Prussia; France paid 500.) For 1,410 soldiers, the "paper strength" of the Corsican regular army under Federico, that comes out to 423,000 livres per annum. It was noted in an earlier update that the state's gross income following Federico's coronation was "just over 400 thousand livres."

Admittedly, Corsica probably pays even less for its soldiers than Prussia. Presumably more expensive regiments (like cavalry) pull Prussia's average up. Wages on Corsica are probably also rather low: The Genoese retained micheletti (irregular Corsican soldiers) at a rate of 15 lira per month during the Revolution, which comes out to about 38.5 livres per annum, while French fusiliers seem to have gotten about 15 livres per month, or 180 livres per annum (although seven livres per month were deducted for food and clothing, so their actual paid wage was more like 96 livres per annum).

Federico's reforms have been very helpful; government income now is probably at least 600,000 livres, which is how much ancien regime France managed to get out of Corsica, and probably higher than this given that the French deliberately under-taxed the island. Nevertheless, even if you assume a substantial discount - let's say 200 livres per soldier per annum, two-thirds of what Prussia pays - Theo's army would cost 262,000 livres, and that is a peacetime figure that assumes no provincial infantry are mobilized (beyond the usual 300 active at any one time) and that no extraordinary expenses are incurred.

I haven't spent much time on naval figures. Apparently Ordinary Seamen in the Royal Navy made 19 shillings per month, which at the rate of about 24 livres per pound in the 1780s equals 22.8 livres per month or 273 livres per annum. This seems rather high given the figures I've just mentioned; perhaps there was some wage inflation going on in Britain. Ordinary wages for other 18th century navies seems difficult to come by. For the moment, let's assume Corsican sailors cost no more than our hypothetical 200-livres-per-annum soldiers.

The closest British equivalents to the Minerva had crews of 160-200; let's assume 180. The rest of the "archipelago fleet" ships probably come out to around 300 crewmen in total. The two state galiots have a crew of 60 each. In 1781 the navy also gets a naval infantry company of 100 men. That's 700 men in total, and ignores the crews of any small ships like tartanes, cutters, and gondolas (which the navy definitely does have). At the "discount soldier rate" that's another 140,000 livres - and that's just treating the sailors like soldiers, without any consideration of actual ship maintenance or repair, which is a major part of naval expense. Combined with 262,000 livres for Theo's army, we're back up to at least 400,000 livres, even with all the various exceptions and conservative estimates I've made. And again, just to drive the point home, this is peacetime expenditure.

Like I said, this is napkin math, so feel free to correct me - but the impression I get is that while Corsica might technically be able to sustain this military establishment given present revenue, they wouldn't have much left over. Even a conservative guess suggests to me that the government is spending at least 2/3rds of its gross revenue on the military.
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I was also under the impression that the sole reason they are worrying about the size of the military is the expense. They are not lacking willing recruits. They are not worried about the military staging a coup. They want to have a strong armed force. They are dirt poor and know they cannot afford the armed forces they currently have for long.
Plausability entirely aside, I think the Corsicans losing entirely before bouncing back works really well narratively as the darkest before the dawn moment. You remove that and I think it is less interesting.
Revenue will be a good bit higher than that though. So 600,000 livres is OTL figure. Population is a bit higher and it is more economically developed. That easily gets it to 700,000 or so. But Corsica will have more incentive to ensure good revenue and definitely not intentionally undertax like France (who also didn't run *that* tight a ship even in France proper). The thing is it is safe to put on a much greater burden when you are the legitimate government. Successful rebellions tend to be followed by higher taxes than the original excuse to revolt. I don't remember the source of the quote, but explaining why this happens "Then you took, now we give". No one likes paying taxes, but it being 'our' government makes it feel better and probably slightly reduces evasion rates.

And it doesn't take much to greatly increase the wiggle room. Like a revenue of 900,000 livres I feel is very likely and would allow about 700,000 in military spending. The navy is about as much as Corsica really needs given it's navy is never going to be anything but easily squashed, though maybe increase its budget to 200,000 livres to be more plausible. That doubles the army spending, but we probably shouldn't quite double the regulars since those are very minimalistic assumptions were are running off on. This is also where the point of "They are not lacking willing recruits. They are not worried about the military staging a coup. They want to have a strong armed force " Icedaemon mentions and a minimalistic court become relevant, strong incentives and rewards to figuring out to increase revenue for military.

You have ~1100 regulars, 500 auxiliaries, and 3,600 provincial infantry. Focusing on scalability is good. I'm concerned a bit how low the proportion of regulars is, even the more militarized European countries tended to be a bit lower, perhaps to avoid effectively militiazing the military. Maybe 2,000 regulars, 800 auxiliaries, and 4,500 provincial infantry seems plausible max? Basically in time of war, the 2k regulars and perhaps 1500 provincials would be what is available for expeditionary forces/field army (If someone is willing to foot at least part of the bill, otherwise do rather less). The remaining auxiliaries and provincial infantry would basically be a combo of protecting the home front and reserves. That raises cost per soldier to closer to 240 livres, reasonable given no cavalry and lower wages.

Yes, this would be budget-breaking in war, but that is pretty universal for early modern Europe or really any time in history. Hopefully someone is willing to pay for it, if not debt is a sad, ever-present reality of life for practically every state of the era. And this is where having a larger number of regulars is helpful. Corsicans should lean into the reputation of being tough, good soldiers, makes it easier to get someone to pay the costs (and you can also charge a bit of a premium, which is pretty sweet given your soldiers are actually cheaper!). Its one of those things where having more regulars is expensive, but in the long run probably not as much as it seems. Also another trick since Corsica is small, is you may not want all those provincial infantry mobilized even in war all the time, have good garrisons, rest called up when there is reason to believe someone is imminently going to invade. Then of course is the militia, clan system for extra manpower if an invasion happens to make it hard to secure territory (although that will be starting to atrophy with the decline of the vendetta, relative peace, etc).
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Corsica is a dirt poor country, Italy is just out of a major famine, and in the US when the revolutionary government raised taxes the Whiskey Rebellion occured. I strongly doubt the Corsicans are going to be less ready to stand up to taxes they have even less ability to pay than the America colonists. Besides, a standing army is something that needs time to come about and its fine that its starting out at a rather small size.
Successful rebellions tend to be followed by higher taxes than the original excuse to revolt. I don't remember the source of the quote, but explaining why this happens "Then you took, now we give".

That's a quote I've posted a few times in this thread, just because I'm fond of it:

Carp said:
There’s a story which Napoleon supposedly dictated to Montholon during his captivity at St. Helena about a French officer and a Corsican peasant shortly after the conquest. The officer complains to the peasant about the ingratitude of his fellow Corsicans and lists all the good things the French administration had done since the conquest of the isle, adding that under Paoli, the Corsicans paid twice as much in tax as they presently did under France. "Very true, seigneur," replied the peasant, "but then we gave, now you take."

I don't doubt that the Corsican government can sustain significantly higher taxes than the French got out of the island, because the French rate was shockingly low. 400,000 livres from 160,000 people is only 2.5 livres per annum, while I've seen figures that in 1788 the French paid 17.8 livres in taxes per annum (and the British paid considerably more). The actual tax burden would be higher because of the tithe, but Corsican peasants aren't burdened by any seigneurial dues. Even if we assume that Corsican peasants are even poorer than French peasants, that's still very affordable.

Still, as the American and French Revolutions demonstrated, it's less about the absolute value of the taxes than how you feel about the taxes. The British had a far heavier per capita tax burden than Americans in 1775 - or, for that matter, the French in 1788. The Corsicans might abide higher taxes from a "native" government than a foreign one, but that doesn't make raising taxes unproblematic. Perhaps the Corsicans "gave" to Paoli, but Paoli ruled during the revolution, when revenue meant the difference between the survival or destruction of the nation. The stakes for Theo are not so high. Theo also has constitutional constraints - he cannot make any decision "on the imposition of taxes" without the consent of the Dieta.

As for the army, I think culture has to be considered as well as finance. Although Theodore did have regular forces at various points during the Revolution, most of the work was done by various militia and irregular formations. That memory creates its own historical myths just as it did in post-revolutionary America. Theodore himself believed that all the kingdom really needed was a robust militia and a small royal guard, which is why a regular regiment of infantry was not created until 1767. Indeed, one could argue that this regiment (as well as the older Royal Dragoon regiment) was technically illegal, as the constitution of 1736 explicitly states that all troops will have to be Corsican militia (except the royal guard). "Militia" is vague enough to be widely interpreted - even Corsican regulars have time to do other side jobs when they're not on active patrol - but the point is that the Corsicans imagine themselves as a "nation in arms" who won their freedom with patriotic volunteers rather than a crack professional army. That probably affects how they think about military policy, and given this background I think it's reasonable to assume that Corsica would probably have a lower regular-to-militia ratio than most European states.
The Old Enemy
The Old Enemy


Genoa at the turn of the century

All corruption… no public spirit - everything jobbed - no Liberty of the Press - that and all personal liberty at the mercy of Inquisitors of State… No military knowledge or spirit. Fortifications ruinous…[1]
- William Petty, the Earl of Shelburne, describing Genoa in his journal after visiting the city in 1771

The defeat and occupation of Genoa in the War of the Austrian Succession had ended the Republic’s pretensions at being even a minor military power. Goaded into war by Sardinian rapacity, the Genoese had managed to scrape together a 10,000 man force (at least on paper) which had performed adequately as a Bourbon auxiliary. After the catastrophic defeat of the Gallispan forces in Lombardy, however, the government’s will to fight disintegrated. The foreign regiments defected to other armies, the Corsican regiments were disbanded, and many of the Ligurians either deserted or ended up joining the insurgents in the failed Revolution of 1750. Left with ruined finances and a devastated country, the post-1750 government could not spare much for military preparedness. By 1780 the entire army amounted to about 3,200 men, nearly half of whom were foreign mercenaries. Very little had been done over the past 30 years to modernize or strengthen the Republic’s fortresses. Many bastions still bore the marks of war, and many coastal batteries were still missing guns that had been seized and hauled away by the Austro-Sardinian armies. The “navy” was an antiquated flotilla of four galleys which rarely left port.

Genoa’s confidence in its security came not from this weak and decrepit military establishment, but from its diplomatic relationships. The Genoese believed that Austria, France, and Spain could all be counted on to protect the Republic from its most dangerous enemy: Sardinia. Spain had close commercial ties to the Republic, France did not want the Savoyards to gain total control of their approaches into Italy, and Austria had every reason to fear that if the House of Savoy came for Genoa, they would come for Milan next. The Empress-Queen had been particularly zealous in the Republic’s defense, for while Maria Theresa did not love Genoa - she never forgave the Republic for joining the Bourbons against her - she despised King Carlo Emanuele III, who had extorted her out of her rightful patrimony in the 1740s. Genoa’s army was weak, but it was (barely) adequate to garrison the frontier fortresses, and in times of emergency the Ligurian peasant-militia had proved to be surprisingly adept at harassing enemy troops in the mountains. The Genoese army did not need to win battles; it merely needed to hold its ground long enough for help to arrive.

The Genoese government was not blind to the fact that the Corsicans coveted the last bit of the island they did not control, but they had learned to not take Corsican threats seriously. From the consulta demanding war during the “Saporiti Conspiracy” of 1764, to Federico’s ephemeral “occupation” of Isola Maddalena in 1773, to Piccioni’s act of piracy in 1781, it seemed as though every King of Corsica felt the need to brandish his saber towards the hated Republic at least once in his reign. What was true for Sardinia, however, seemed even more true for Corsica. Sardinia was a respectable secondary power with a powerful army, while Corsica was a poor island with a handful of second-hand corvettes which could be blasted into submission by any power with a real navy (which excluded Austria, but certainly not France or Spain). Sardinia was a threat; Corsica was a belligerent child waving a toy sword, a shabby little delinquent aping the adults as if he was one of them.

Because of this singular focus on Sardinian aggression, the defense of the remote outpost of Bonifacio - by now the very last vestige of a Genoese overseas empire which once stretched all the way to the Crimea - was completely neglected. Bonifacio’s natural defenses made it invulnerable to any seaborne attack. It was certainly possible that the Sardinians might enlist the aid of the Corsicans and invest the city by land and sea, but the Sardinian Navy was not terribly impressive, and unlike the fortresses of Liguria the fall of Bonifacio would not place the rest of the state into peril. Genoese war plans concluded that in the event of a war with Sardinia, all resources would be devoted to the defense of the Ligurian heartland and Bonifacio would be left to fend for itself.

Reports and letters from the 1770s portray a shocking state of military decay in Genoa’s last colony. Bonifacio’s usual garrison consisted of a single company of (typically foreign) troops, supported by no more than a hundred part-time militiamen and a handful of bombardieri. The soldiers were paid regularly, but grumbled about old and broken muskets, poor quality uniforms, and a lack of lanterns which made patrolling at night impractical. A string of commissioners for the last three decades had sent letters to the War Office complaining that the fortifications needed repair, gun carriages were rotted or broken, many guns lacked appropriate ammunition, the powder in the magazine was old and unreliable, and their stock of working small arms was insufficient. The fact that these complaints had to be made repeatedly by every new commissioner suggests that solving them was not a top priority of the War Office. Bonifacio had ample cisterns, but the garrison did not routinely stockpile large quantities of food in peacetime for reasons of cost, and thus would be dependent on naval supply in the event of a siege.

One of the reasons that King Federico had felt bold enough to occupy the isle of Maddalena in 1773 was because much of this information was known to him. Early in his reign he had enlisted spies to report on the city’s defenses, which proved very easy to do. Corsican shepherds who grazed their flocks on the Isole delle Bocche regularly visited the city to buy and sell wares, and it was easy enough to ply them for information or even infiltrate the city with an agent in shepherds’ garb. The Corsicans may not have been privy to the commissioner’s own correspondence, but simple observation and some idle chatting with the soldiers told them quite a bit. Theo inherited not only a crown and a kingdom, but a desk drawer full of intelligence reports, sketches of the fortifications, and pilfered letters.[2]

As encouraging as these reports must have been, the Corsican ministers knew that their own military shared many of these same problems. Their defenses were similarly decrepit, and were only beginning to receive serious work with the help of Spanish funds and engineers. Their army was small and underfunded, and their soldiers also complained of poor quality uniforms and missing equipment. Count Innocenzo di Mari, the Minister of War, informed the king that while in theory the kingdom could raise more than three thousand provincial infantry, he did not have enough muskets for even half of them and only enough uniforms for a third. The “new” navy had only been in existence for three years, was still short of skilled sailors, and had accomplished nothing more distinguished than escorting coral boats, making a cruise to Tabarka, and robbing some Genoese fishermen. Only in the area of artillery did Corsica have a clear advantage, and that was only because they had managed to cajole King Carlos III into giving them cannon and powder for their coastal defenses. Whether the army could actually find men who knew how to use them was another question entirely.

The capabilities of Corsican artillerists was crucial because the siege of Bonifacio would be the keystone of the whole affair. Once captured it was impossible to imagine that it would be recaptured, as Bonifacio could only be threatened from the land, and it was taken for granted that the Genoese would not be mad enough to attempt an invasion of Corsica (although Mari declared that he dearly hoped they would try). The longer the siege dragged on, the more opportunity there would be for the Genoese to send a relief fleet or for the powers to intervene. Federico had considered many options, including bribing disgruntled soldiers to gain entrance to the city. If such long-shot methods failed, however, the only option would be to break the will of the defenders by a siege, for Bonifacio was believed to be impossible to take by storm. Cannon would have to be placed across the bay to bombard the city, and the besiegers would have to wait for the defenders to either run out of food or decide they simply could not take such punishment any longer.

This had already been attempted during the Second Siege of Bonifacio, which had dragged on for nine months before French diplomatic pressure and Theodore’s lack of money had compelled the king to sign the Treaty of Monaco and end hostilities. At the time many leading revolutionaries had grumbled that the siege was a “stolen victory,” but the operation had also been plagued by difficulties. The siege was poorly planned and slowly implemented. The land blockade had begun in January but the besiegers’ guns were not in place until March, and both ammunition and trained gunners were in short supply. The naval blockade involved only a few small ships which were constantly being driven off by bad weather, and numerous Genoese supply vessels managed to slip through. Lessons had been learned, but it was uncertain if the Corsican government was capable of applying the proper solutions.

The ministers of the council of state were far from unanimous on the subject of war. Marco Maria Carli, the Minister of Finance, was the most vocal opponent. He expressed skepticism that a war would “pay for itself” by commerce raiding and worried that the state would be digging itself into a deeper financial hole, particularly if it lost. Innocenzo di Mari, the Minister of War, was more conflicted; he had long desired to showcase “his” army and had complete contempt for the fighting ability of the Genoese, but admitted that his forces were untested and under-supplied. Foreign Minister Giovan Francesco Cuneo d’Ornano supported the war and was optimistic about Turin’s attitude, but even he cautioned that the response of the Bourbons was very uncertain and that either France or Spain was capable of forcing Corsica to back down. Only Father Carlo Rostini, the Grand Chancellor - and, at 70 years old, the only man on the council who actually had memories of the bad old days under Genoese rule - was fully and unreservedly for war, considering the “liberation” of all Corsica from the hated Genoese to be worth any sacrifice.

Ultimately it was the king’s word which mattered, and the king’s word was war. Similarly to his father, Theo believed that taking Bonifacio would constitute the “completion” of the Revolution which his esteemed great-uncle had begun. He also argued that Corsica’s victory would demonstrate the state’s vitality and its ability to chart its own foreign policy, which in his mind had been recently thrown into doubt by his own ill-advised decision to bow to Spanish demands. Having studied at the Royal Academy of Turin and spent time at court, Theo believed he knew the Sardinians and believed that they could be brought on board. He was equally convinced that the Dieta could be convinced to follow his wishes - for, as the council reminded him, there could be no war unless the Dieta approved it.

Nevertheless, war would not come immediately. The twenty six year old king was rash, but he was not so rash as to discount the advice of Minister Mari, who pointed out that the best time for a war would be October. This was when “malaria season” ended, which would make troop movements less hazardous and allow the full use of Porto Vecchio. October was also the beginning of the autumn-winter period of rough seas in the Mediterranean, during which galleys and other rowed craft were typically laid up until spring. This would give Corsica’s sailing fleet at least five months of operation without interference from Genoa’s galleys. Genoese coral boats would also be getting ready to head home at this time after months at sea, and would thus have holds full of coral - the perfect time to plunder them.

First minister Paoli kept his cards close to the vest in these council meetings. Privately, he echoed many of Carli’s misgivings and bemoaned the belligerence of his “always immoderate” friend Rostini. The plan of enlightened reform and public works that he had long dreamt of implementing would be considerably delayed by the expenditures of war. In council, however, he seemed to side with the belligerents, pointing out that as long as Bonifacio was in Genoese hands the Genoese could dispose of it as they saw fit. If they were to lease or even sell it to the French or British - which was not beyond the realm of possibility - that power would have total mastery over Corsica, and any chance Corsica had of taking this key harbor for itself would probably be lost forever. This possibility really did unnerve Paoli, but he clearly also recognized what the king’s own wishes were and decided that it was best to shape his will rather than to fight it.

In light of Mari’s recommendation, Paoli proposed that “all necessary measures” be taken to prepare the country for war by late September. There was much to do - The attitudes of the Bourbons had to be discreetly sounded out, the cooperation of Turin had to be secured, the army had to be prepared to act, the navy needed to be fully supplied and ready to sail, a sound plan for taking Bonifacio needed to be agreed upon, and all the supplies needed for a siege - cannon, ammunition, gunpowder, tents, blankets, tools, provisions, carts, draft animals, and so on - had to be prepared and staged. At that time, if these things were in satisfactory order and the diplomatic situation remained favorable, there would be war; if not, they would stand down and consider whether to make plans for the following year, or abandon the enterprise entirely.

They had just over three months, not long at all to make a country ready for war. It was encouraging to know, however, that their unwitting foe was even less ready.

[1] “Job” in this context means “to use public office for private profit or advantage.” There was plenty of “jobbing” in Britain but apparently the Earl Shelburne believed the Genoese civil service was particularly corrupt and self-interested.
[2] The Genoese, in contrast, had virtually no intelligence on Corsica. The fact that no Genoese were allowed to reside in the kingdom was probably an obstacle to good spycraft, but more importantly the Genoese government simply did not believe that Corsica constituted enough of a threat to merit an intelligence campaign. What they knew of the government at Bastia came mainly from the reports of visiting merchants and information passed to them by the Spanish consul, who looked after Genoese mercantile interests in the city.
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I feel like the actual taking of Bonifacio should be easy... it's more a matter of a diplomatic standoff involving Austria, France and Spain that I'm intrigued by. Would Theo II willing re-surrender Bonifacio to the Genoese once taken if the Spaniards made enough of a bluff regarding their relationship?
Will Genoa's Meditteranean ancient colonial empire keep its last citadel or fall into history entirely? The way you describe it a glorious victory for the Corsicans seems is a looking like whats going to happen - but are we in for a surprise?
I hope the Corsicans succeed and take Bonifacio.

It would be interesting to see how it affects Corsica and Europe if after Charles III dies you replace Charles IV with a Ferdinand not educated by Bernardo Tanucci or Gabriel.
In all fairness, the notion that Bonifacio could be sold to a major power which could thereafter dictate Corsican policy as almost a colonial overlord is hardly wrong and a much better reason than just wanting to colour the entire map of the island your colour.
Why is that particularly bad necessarily for Italy? France vs Austria works okay. Remember Italy was largely unified OTL when a unified Germany was still no more than a twinkle in Bismarck's eye. Germany made it easier to get Rome and Venetia, but the former was probably going to happen eventually and the latter would make Italy very salty, but isn't essential.