Napoleon"s invasion of italy: before napoleon invaded italy, italy was a very week state and was mostly ruled by foreign dictators. Also many parts (or states as italy was divided into states that were each governed by different people) were under direct influence of the austrian empire. In 1796 napoleon successfully invaded and took power of italy. He fought off all the local rulers and the austrians to gain control of the peninsula. In 1798 napoleon divided italy into just four and later four states instead of the previous number. All the new states were ruled either by napoleon or by his family. (viceroy a ruler exercising authority on behalf of a queen or king. It is unclear and there is a lot of historiography on the fact of, How was life under french rule : some say life got worse as napoleon used a lot of italian soldiers in his french army and imposed conscription over italian men.