In 1858, Italy was divided into seven states, with the North being under the Austrian Habsburgs, the centre being ruled by, the Pope and the Southern regions being under the domination of the Bourbon kings of Spain. Only one state, Sardinia-Piedmont was ruled by an Italian Princely House. The Italian language also had not acquired one common form and had many regional and local variations.
So, people living in these regions, except Sardinia-Piedmont, would not have thought of themselves as Italians. The first region to become a part of united Italy was Lombardy (1859). The last region to join was the Papal State in 1870. The largest number of states joined in 1860.