But it’s the French who have been the strongest. Over the past 20 years, French companies have bought Italian rivals, from the dairy producer Parmalat to the fashion maker Gucci. There has been speculation for years that Generali, one of the few big multinationals left in Italy, could merge with French rival Axa.Things came to a head when Italy’s populist government of 5Stars and the League came into office last summer and identified French President Emmanuel Macron as the symbol of the pro-EU establishment it wants to destroy.Here are just five of the most recent spats between Paris and Rome:1. Yellow JacketsMacron’s plan for a fuel tax increase has sparked violent protests | Lucas Barioulet/AFP via Getty ImagesThe provocation that seems to have tipped the French over the edge was when Luigi Di Maio, leader of the 5Star Movement and deputy prime minister, met with leaders of the Yellow Jackets movement in Paris.In a post on Facebook Thursday, Di Maio wrote that Paris “has attacked several times the Italian government” in the run up to the European election in May, and added that the meeting “doesn’t represent a provocation” toward the French government because Macron’s En Marche movement meets with Italy’s Democratic Party.The 5Stars had already publicly expressed their support for the Yellow Jackets, whose initial protests against a fuel tax morphed into a general anti-Macron movement. 4. High-speed train lineConstruction work on the Saint-Martin-la-Porte tunnel in France that is meant to provide access to the future Turin-Lyon railway link | Philippe Desmazes/AFP via Getty ImagesParis and Rome are also at odds over a controversial railway project to link Turin and Lyon. The 5Stars are strongly opposed to the €8.6 billion project, and on Tuesday gave the now-recalled French Ambassador Christian Masset a cost-and-benefit analysis that shows that Italy would incur a net loss of €7 billion if it were to go ahead.The French government was not impressed. France has already dug 25 kilometers into the Alps, and further delays could push Brussels to reduce EU funding for the project, an amount that currently stands at €400 million. France would like Italy to make up its mind and respect its international commitments: “There are deadlines that require decisions to be taken in a timetable compatible with the mobilization of European funding,” said Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne last week while visiting the construction site in Savoie. The Italian government said it will discuss the project with Paris, but no date has yet been set, an Italian transport ministry spokesperson said.5. Leonardo da VinciEven Leonardo Da Vinci isn’t immune from the Franco-Italian fighting | AFP via Getty ImagesEven art isn’t immune from the Franco-Italian fighting. The Louvre wants to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death in October. In 2017 the Italian government agreed to lend the Paris museum much of the work it owns by Da Vinci. But that might now not happen. “Leonardo is Italian, he just died in France,” said Lucia Borgonzoni, Italy’s undersecretary of state for culture, in November. “He’s not called Leonardò, as they call him, but Leonardo,” she added while announcing her intention to renegotiate the deal.Silvia Sciorilli Borrelli and Paola Tamma contributed to this story. Also On POLITICO France recalls ambassador to Italy over Rome’s ‘repeated attacks’ By Emma Anderson Italy’s Di Maio meets with Yellow Jackets By Maïa de La Baume Paris recalled its ambassador to Rome on Thursday — the last time that happened was in 1940, when Italy declared war on France.This time it was “repeated, baseless attacks” from the ruling Italian parties that caused France to make its diplomatic move.It’s been a long time coming for two countries that each consider themselves the best at everything, from food to fashion to football. The French “love to show off, they are smug even if they are weak,” wrote the right-wing Italian daily Libero in an editorial. Before recalling its ambassador, France played it cool: “We don’t want to take part in the race for who is the most stupid,” French Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau said. “With Italy we have many things to do and we want to continue doing them.”2. Migration5Star Movement member Alessandro Di Battista | Vincenzo Pinto/AFP via Getty ImagesAlessandro Di Battista, one of the leaders of the 5Stars, told a TV show that tackling the problem of monetary sovereignty in Africa is the only way to solve the migration problem in Europe. Di Battista claimed that because the CFA franc — the currency used by 14 sub-Saharan African nations — is printed in France and has a fixed exchange rate against the euro, France effectively controls those countries that use it and has taken their sovereignty away from them.The 5Stars say their attack is based on work by Massimo Amato of Bocconi University, but Amato said they have misunderstood him. European Commissioner Pierre Moscovici — a Frenchman — said at the last Eurogroup meeting of eurozone finance ministers that talk about the currency was “irresponsible … provocation and we don’t want to take these kind of statements seriously because that’s exactly what the authors want.”3. LibyaFormer French president Nicolas Sarkozy | Valery Hache/AFP via Getty ImagesThe catalyst for many of the current problems came in 2011 when then French President Nicolas Sarkozy pushed for military intervention in Libya, a former Italian colony from where Rome still gets much of its oil.For many in Rome, Paris had gone too far. They blamed the French for leading the charge that led to an increase in the number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean and then for abandoning Italy when the consequences needed to be faced. This was a spat that began before Macron took office but it’s been exacerbated since then. In May last year Macron called a meeting with Libyan factions in Paris while Rome was in the middle of a political crisis after an inconclusive election (the populists came into office a few days later). The meeting “will be a nice photo-opportunity [for Macron], to us it will create a big disappointment,” an Italian diplomat was quoted as saying in the left-leaning La Repubblica.While this was going on, the center-left Italian government of the time led by Paolo Gentiloni was trying to defuse tensions and was working on a new treaty (the Quirinal treaty) with France. It was meant to be like the 1963 Elysée Treaty that laid the ground for new ties between France and West Germany. Officials say the planned new treaty is now in the deep-freeze.