The pairing is also referred to as Spero by some fans, from the first syllables of Spain and Romano in Japanese. It is also called Spamano, combining Spain and Romano, or Japanese called "親分子分 (Oyabun Kobun)" too, which seems to be the most popular amongst Hetalia fans.
Austria proceeded to hand custody of Romano over to Spain, marking the beginning of his control over Southern Italy.
The Era Of Boss Spain
Though Spain at first was overjoyed to get his own servant, he quickly found that the older brother Romano was disobedient, lazy, and had problems with wetting the bed, as well as being a challenge to handle in general. France insisted that he take care of Romano instead, but Spain refused to give him up.
After seeing how careless Romano was at handling chores, Spain begged Austria to exchange Chibitalia with him (due to seeing that the child was more obedient, polite, and "cuter" than his Italy), though he wasn't successful. In Axis Powers Hetalia volume 1, it is revealed that Romano also had the disease Chorea, though he eventually was cured of the disease shortly after Spain made him dance the Tarantella.
The younger Romano often felt weak and useless, and was jealous of the attention his brother got in comparison to him, as well as his brother's natural talents. He also believed France and Spain were only using him to get a claim on his late grandfather's inheritance. However, Spain was unaware of his feelings and simply believed that Romano hated him.
When the time came for Romano to go on a trip back to his homeland, he insisted that he go alone, though unbeknownst to him, France still had the intention of becoming his boss. Romano subsequently was kidnapped by Turkey, who was planning to conquer Europe to begin with. Spain managed to rescue Romano, but the war with Turkey was far from over.
In order to protect his servant, Spain threw himself further into poverty by selling most of his assets to Turkey.
Though Romano would often claim that he hated Spain, he had the tendency of becoming extremely jealous when his boss was in the company of others, especially in the case of a German soldier (where he believed Spain was also in danger). Spain remained oblivious as to why the child treated him harshly, and would only upset him more by comparing his face to a tomato when he was angered (due to it being red and chubby).
Spain also found that pulling Romano's haircurl would garner a violent reaction, though Romano secretly enjoyed it, finding that it "felt nice". But after France told Romano about "teasing play", Romano became disturbed by the hair-pulling and thought of Spain as a pervert.
Spain had spent much of his money on Romano, despite him sinking further into poverty.
The War Years
After the unification of Italy (an event which has yet to be covered in the series), Romano had long since left Spain and went back to his homeland to live with his brother. However, he was shown to still be in contact with Spain by the time of the "Great Depression ", when the two attended a meeting and blamed America for the rapidly-spreading financial crisis.
When both of the Italy brothers were kidnapped by England during the Spanish Civil War, Romano attempted to call Spain to bail them out of the situation, though he was unable to rescue them (due to his boss ordering him to make hundreds of roses).
Due to the high cost of the war, both ended up having to spend a lot of money. As a result, Spain was in debt by the start of WWII, and refused to get involved.
When Spain became ill due to his poor economy and was near-death, Romano attempted to go out on a quest to help cure him. This included pushing through the mafia and running as fast as he could to help Spain. This shows why claims of him not liking Spain are not only incorrect but non-canon as well. But by the time he returned, Spain had completely recovered due to his people adopting the euro as their currency.
At some other point in time, Spain had a dream in which both Italy brothers were his servants and Romano was warmer to him. But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare once his idealized version of Romano, in an attempt to wake him up (as he had done when he was a kid), jumped down on him and crushed his "vital regions". This revealed that Spain appreciates Romano just the way he is.
In a recent strip, Spain and Romano had to deal with an influx of turtles in Romano's home. Romano was dismayed and annoyed about the situation, but Spain was cheerful about the whole thing, going so far as to ask Romano what names they should give to the turtles.
Spain had asked Romano to marry him as well. Romano seems to have accepted. This is shown in this strip .
Going by a line from part 2 of Boss Spain's Control Of Southern Italy, it is believed that part of the reason why Romano treats Spain so coldly is due to him fearing that Spain only wants him for his grandfather's inheritance, and that his childhood fears have possibly carried over into his adulthood.
Another speculation and long-held fanon belief is that Romano is a strong Catholic and tries to deny any strong feelings he may have for Spain, remaining "closeted" as homosexuality and/or bisexuality wouldn't be approved of by his people's religion. One other belief is that Romano considers Spain to have been the cause of most of his childhood grief, and therefore has a hard time showing that he cares.
Romano's inferiority complex is also believed to have carried over to his adulthood to some extent, with him being lonely and resenting the attention and popularity that his brother gets and the idea that his brother has someone to confide in (who he happens to hate).
It is also speculated that Romano has an abandonment complex, which may have stemmed from his grandfather having left him in his youth in favor of taking Veneziano to live with him, and later dying. Spain was shown to fantasize of having both brothers living with him under his roof on two occasions, and expressed interest in having the younger Veneziano eventually marry him, which Romano objected to (as he would be abandoned).
Spain is either seen as the one who is unaware of Romano's true feelings, or the one who actually holds more affection.
- Chibitalia (omake, Axis Powers Hetalia volume 1)
Webcomic: "Extra Stories"
- The Story Of Italy's Big Brother
- Boss Spain's Control Of Southern Italy
- Lithuania's Outsourcing Series, part 3
- Boss Spain's Control Of Southern Italy, part 2
- Spain's Lazy Morning
- In Just Two Minutes, You Can Grasp The Exterior Of The European Economy
- Boss Spain Doesn't Understand (incomplete)
- Sea Turtles And Southern Italy
Webcomic: "Comic Diaries"
- Comic Diary 2
- Comic Diary 5
- Comic Diary 9
- Comic Diary 10