Italy is at the junction of U.S. Highway 77 and State Highway 34, on the Blackland Prairie forty-five miles south of Dallas in southwest Ellis County. Although a few families had settled in the vicinity by 1860, the Aycock brothers built the first house on the present site of the town in 1879 and used it as a dwelling, grocery store, and post office. That year residents debated what to name the settlement. Some favored Houston Creek, because Sam Houston reportedly camped on the creek that flowed through town. Others wanted the name Egypt or Italy. The postal department rejected the first choice because of possible confusion with Houston Creek in Harris County. Gabriel J. Penn, postmaster in Waxahachie, named the town Italy in 1880 because the climate was much like that found in "sunny Italy." The population was 500 in 1890. Settlers found the land good for cotton, corn, sweet potatoes, and wheat. The greatest impetus for growth occurred in December 1890, when the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad arrived, and the town became a market center for the surrounding area. The next year the first newspaper was published, and Italy was officially incorporated.

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

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Place type

Italy is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • (Houston Creek)


  • Latitude

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


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Italy by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
1,926 2020 United States Census Bureau
1,957 2019 Texas Demographic Center
1,863 2010 United States Census Bureau
1,993 2000 United States Census Bureau
1,699 1990 United States Census Bureau