Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean 24 January 1859 (Franco-Sardinian Alliance): By the late 1850s, the cause of Italian unification (Italian Unification) was drawing widespread support from intellectuals and radicals across Europe. After narrowly surviving an assassination attempt by one such group (Orsini affair), Napoleon III (Napoleon III) of France decided he would secretly back the Kingdom of Sardinia in an attempt to unite northern Italy (Second Italian War of Independence) (in return for territorial concessions (Treaty of Turin), of course).