The Old Italian States stamps have their collocation in a very complex period of the Italian history, period that saw the disappearing of the old Duchies, the unification of the territory under a single flag and the birth of the Italian Kingdom; period also characterized by wars, occupations and insurrectionary revolts: the "Risorgimento".
At the time of the issuing of the first postage stamps that happened in June 1st 1850 by the Lombardy-Venetia Kingdom, the Italian territory was divided in States with different currencies, administrations and governments; it's enough to think that in 1859 something like 270 different types of currencies, between official and not, were circulating in the various States. This complicates the postal history of that time that becomes so fascinating and various for the different postal relationships between the States themselves as well as with the outside world. These postal relationships even today are not yet clarified in every detail and therefore they become further stimulus for the collector studies.
As we can see from the small introduction map, after the 1st Independence War the Italian territory was divided in the following States (from North to South):
Sardinia Kingdom, Lombardy-Venetia Kingdom, Parma Duchy, Modena Duchy, Tuscany Grand Duchy, Roman States and Two Sicilies Kingdom (divided in Naples Kingdom and Sicily Kingdom).
It was the 2nd Independence War that changed definitively this status, giving the final blow to a system that was shaking already by some time on the pushes for independence and liberalism that were more and more spreading around. The Lombardy-Venetia Kingdom lost almost all the Lombardy in May-June 1859. The Roman State lost the Romagne territories with Marche and Umbria (June 1859). After several ups and down even Tuscany (April 1859) and Parma and Modena Duchies (June 1859) went under the Sardinia Kingdom. Same destiny got the Two Sicilies Kingdom (March-September 1860) with the known action of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
The Italian Kingdom is born officially March 17th 1861 when "Vittorio Emanuele II takes on, for God grace and Nation will, for himself and his successors the title of Italy King".
Only the Veneto and part of Lazio territories resisted a bit longer. The first one was annexed with the third Independence War in 1866; the second one definitively in 1870 with the Roma conquest.
To deal here with the complexity of historic/political events that brought to the Italy unification would be too long, boring and pretentious. I then preferred to limit myself to insert a short historic card for each of the States just to have an idea of the social/politic environment of the time more than going in detail in each State history. Besides the reading of these short cards I invite you to consult the several specialized books on the subject, some of them mentioned in the "Bibliography".
Several Provisional Governments followed the various States Duchies or Kingdoms with the progress of the national unity ideas. There it is the appearance, together with the typical issues of the various States, of the Provisional Government issues (Parma, Modena, Romagne, Tuscany, Naples and Neapolitan Provinces).
Each States issued its own postage stamps, almost always representing the State coat of arms or the King effigy.
Almost all the stamps were without perforation with the exception of some issues of the Lombardy-Venetia Kingdom and of the Roman States, and were separated with scissors; if we add the lighting often very poor and the minimum margin space (just remember that the Tuscany stamps space was often less than 1 mm) we can understand why the stamps do have very often irregular margins.
But just to the perforation missing or not perfect as for today stamps, together with the color adopted for the printing and to the quality of the printing itself, so inaccurate and "handmade" in comparison to the today quality, is due a good part of the "antique" fascination of these stamps that in their segment are small art masterpieces.
Their life was relatively short (the Italian Kingdom was created in 1861) but the variety of uses, of the issues and the chromatic shades, makes this philatelic segment and the OLD STATES collection absolute unique.