Before Italy was a unified country like it is today, Italy actually was divided into many states, which were almost entirely independent from each other. This was the case in Italy for many centuries until 1852 when Count Camillo di Cavour(who was in favor of Italian unification), became prime minister of the Italian state of Piedmont, which brought forth the key steps in the process of Italian Unification.
Cavour, in an attempt to be in the good favor of France which was under the rule of Napoleon III at the time, contributed some troops to the Crimean War effort on the side of France. This was relatively successful. Eventually when Austria attempted to take Piedmont a couple of years later France stepped in to prevent Austria from taking the state. Cavour because of this was able to gain the Italian state of Lombardy which had been under the control of Austria. Cavour was unsatisfied with just Lombardy and began building fraudulent plebiscites in Tuscany and Romanga, to attempt to persuade them to join the unification of Italy.
A very important turning point though was when the very respected general Giuseppe Garibaldi took some of the southern Italian states and gifted them to Piedmont. In the later portion of the 1860s the Papal states and Venetia were claimed by Piedmont, this was the final step in the Italian unification.
To conclude these were the key steps in the unification of Italy, to what it is as a country today.