Savoy, House of, the ruling family of Italy, 1861–1946. The line was founded by Count Humbert the Whitehanded, who became ruler of Savoy about 1034. The domain was soon extended by marriage to include Piedmont; in 1388 Nice was added.
Through the War of the Spanish Succession, 1701–14, Duke Victor Amadeus of Savoy acquired Sicily. In 1720 he gave Sicily to Austria in exchange for Sardinia and founded the Kingdom of Sardinia, consisting of Savoy, Piedmont, Nice, and Sardinia. After 1831 the Sardinian monarch Charles Albert and his successor, Victor Emmanuel II, led a movement to free Italy of foreign sovereignty and unite the various states into a single nation. Their efforts resulted in the unification of Italy in 1861 and Victor Emmanuel II's accession to its throne. The House of Savoy ruled Italy until 1946, when King Humbert II abdicated and a republic was established.