Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean 11 April 1848 (First Italian War of Independence): When news of Metternich's flight (Klemens von Metternich) reached Italy, Milan (Five Days of Milan) and Venice seized the opportunity to throw off Austrian rule (Republic of San Marco). Italian nationalists throughout the peninsula rallied to their cause and by the end of April all the major Italian states had joined them in the fight against Austria (First Italian War of Independence). However the Papal States and Naples were only in the war to appease popular pressure and pulled out as soon as they could, leaving Sardinia as the main champion of Italian independence.