At the beginning of August 1881 the Austrian press mooted the idea of a visit from King Humbert to the emperor Francis Joseph.
His term of office was clouded by the assassination of King Humbert (29th July 1900), and his administration was brought to an end in February 1901 by a vote of the chamber condemning his weak attitude towards a great dock strike at Genoa.
He received the supreme honour of the knighthood of the Annunziata from King Humbert in 1898.
Though not a great monarch, King Humbert had, by his unfailing generosity and personal courage, won the esteem and affection of his people.
Within five weeks of its formation King Humbert was shot by an anarchist assassin named Bresci while leaving an athletic festival at Monza, where his Majesty had distributed the prizes (2Qth July 1900).
Robilants opposition to a precipitate acceptance of the Austrian hint was founded upon fear lest King Humbert at Vienna might be pressed to disavow Irredentist aspirations, and upon a desire to arrange for a visit of the emperor Francis Joseph to Rome in return for King Humberts visit to Vienna.
The growing desire in Italy for alliance with Austria and Germany did not at first secure his approval; nevertheless he accompanied King Humbert to Vienna and conducted the negotiations which led to the informal acceptance of the Triple Alliance.
At the new years reception of deputies King Humbert aroused enthusiasm by a significant remark that Italy intended to remain mistress in her own house; while Mancirfi addressed to Count de Launay, Italian ambassador in Berlin, a haughty despatch, repudiating the supposition that the pope might (as Bismarckian emissaries had suggested to the Vatican) obtain abroad greater spiritual liberty than in Rome, or that closer relations between Italy and Germany, such as were required by the interests and aspirations of the two countries, could be made in any way contingent upon a modification of Italian freedom of action in regard to home affairs.
To secure his position he at once entered into relation with the Normans, now firmly established in southern Italy, and later in the year the new alliance was cemented at Melfi, where Nicholas II., accompanied by Hildebrand, Cardinal Humbert and the abbot Desiderius of Monte Cassino, solemnly invested Robert Guiscard with the duchies of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily, and Richard of Aversa with the principality of Capua, in return for 'oaths of fealty and the promise of assistance in guarding the rights of the Church.
At the same time he mitigated the Francophil tendencies of some of his colleagues, accompanied King Humbert and Queen Margherita on their visit to Homburg in September 1897, and, by loyal observance of the spirit of the triple alliance, retained for Italy the confidence of her allies without forfeiting the goodwill of France.