By Giacomo Puccini
The libretto places the action of Tosca in June 1800. Victorien Sardou, on whose play the opera is based, dates it more precisely; La Tosca takes place in the afternoon, evening, and early morning of 17 and 18 June 1800. Italy had long been divided into a number of kingdom-states, with the Pope in Rome ruling the Papal States in central Italy. Following the French Revolution, a French army under Napoleon invaded Italy in 1796, entering Rome almost unopposed in February 1798 and establishing the Roman Republic.