Sudden realization, over in a thread at Fr. Z’s —
Even though people say, “Most of the popes have been Italian,” Italy wasn’t a political entity for most of the popes. They were from the Papal States, or from some independent Italian city-state or duchy or kingdom, or from a city attached to the Holy Roman Empire but located geographically in Italy. Or they were from the Roman Empire.
So most of the Popes haven’t been Italian at all. They’ve been from their own countries inside Italy.
UPDATE: 74 from the Roman Empire; 2 from Odoacer’s Kingdom of Italy; 9 from the Ostrogoth Kingdom; 9 from the Frankish/Carolingian Holy Roman Empire; 38 from the later Holy Roman Empire; 58 from the Papal States; 3 from the Crescentian Patriciate of Rome; 1 from Benevento; 1 from Capua; 1 from the Kingdom of Sicily; 1 from the city-state of Treviso; 1 from the Kingdom of Arelat; 6 from the Kingdom of Naples; 6 from the Republic of Venice; 4 from the Republic of Genoa; 2 from the Republic of Siena; 2 from the Republic of Florence; 1 from the Duchy of Florence; 4 from the Duchy of Milan; 3 from the Grand Duchy of Tuscany; 2 from the Kingdom of Italy; and only 3 from the Republic of Italy.
So yeah, not a lot of Italians in there. Papal Statesians are much more prevalent.