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There are currently five orders of knighthood awarded in recognition of service to the Italian Republic. Below these are a number of other medals that that do not confer knighthoods.[1]

The degrees of knighthood, not all of which apply to all orders, are Knight (Cav.), Officer (Uff.), Commander (Comm.), Grand Officer (Gr. Uff.), Knight Grand Cross (Cav. Gr. Croce) and Knight Grand Cross with cordon. Italian citizens may not use in the territory of the Republic honours or distinctions conferred on them by non-national orders or foreign states, unless authorised by decree President of the Council of Ministers. The use of awards of the Holy See (including the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre) is subject to permission,[nb 1] while the use of those of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta is unregulated.

A white Greek cross embellished in the four principal angles with gold eagles displayed and surmounted by a gold crown of four towers.
The former badge of an Officer of the Republic, used from 1951 to 2001.

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Italian Republic

The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic effectively replaced as national orders the Order of the Crown of Italy (1868), the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (1572) and the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (1362), which the sovereign, as Grand Master, did not abdicate and continues to award in exile as fons honorum.[2] Today these continue merely as dynastic orders of the former Royal House of Savoy. Whilst their bestowal is suppressed by law in Italy, the continued use of those decorations conferred prior to 1951 is permitted, exclusive of any right of precedence in official ceremonies.[3]

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Order of Merit of the Italian Republic

A ribbon 1/8 green, 1/8 red, 4/8 green, 1/8 red and 1/8 green.

The Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, instituted in 1951, is the highest ranking honour and most senior order. It is awarded in five degrees for "merit acquired by the nation" in the fields of literature, the arts, economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities and for long and conspicuous service in civilian and military careers.[3] Barring exceptional circumstances, no one may be awarded a rank higher than Knight in the first instance.

Investiture normally takes place on 2 June, anniversary of the foundation of the Republic (celebrated in Italy as Festa della Repubblica) and on 27 December, anniversary of the promulgation of the Italian Constitution. The badge bears the inscription Al Merito della Repubblica encircling the national coat of arms on the obverse and Patriae Unitati and Civium Libertati encircling the head of Italia Turrita on the reverse. The order is bestowed by decree of the President of the Italian Republic, as head of the orders of knighthood, on the recommendation of the President of the Council.

Military Order of Italy

A ribbon 1/3 blue, 1/3 red and 1/3 blue.

The Ordine Militare d'Italia, until 1947 the Military Order of Savoy (1815),[nb 2] is awarded for distinguished wartime conduct of individual personnel (or units of the armed forces) that have "proven expertise, sense of responsibility and valour." The lowest of its five degrees may also be awarded for peacetime actions. Recipients of the Ordine Militare di Savoia were transferred and retain their existing insignia and seniority.[nb 3] The badge bears the inscription Al Merito Militare—1855; the Savoy cross and letters V.E. substituted with R.I. and 1947, the date of the promulgation of the constitution.

The order is bestowed by decree of the President of the Republic, head of the order, on the recommendation of the Minister of Defence. Today there are just 14 living recipients.[4] The related Medal of Military Valour, established in 1932, is subdivided into gold, silver and bronze categories.[5]

Order of Merit for Labour

A ribbon 1/3 green, 1/3 red and 1/3 green.

The Ordine al Merito del Lavoro is awarded to those "who have been singularly meritorious" in agriculture, commerce and industry. It was first instituted by Royal Decree on 9 May 1901, replacing the Ordine Cavalleresco al Merito Agrario, Industriale e Commerciale which had been created by Royal Decree on 1 March 1898.[nb 4] The order is open to all Italians, at home and overseas. Each year, on 1 June, 25 new Knights of Labour are invested. The badge bears the inscription Al Merito del Lavoro—1901.

"Number of Order 11996/ The President of the Republic/ Head of the Order of Vittorio Veneto/ on proposal of the Minister of Defence/ with Decree dated 16/06/1973/ has conferred the honour of/ Knight /of the Order of Vittorio Veneto/ on Mr. Arnolfo Mugnai /in accordance with Art. 4 of the Law No. 263 of 18 March 1968 in recognition of/ merit for combat, with right to bear the relative insignia/ Rome, 16/06/1973/ (Signed) the President of the Council of the Order."
Letters patent of a Knight of Vittorio Veneto, with badge and miniature.

The order is bestowed by decree of the President of the Republic, head of the order, on the recommendation of the Minister of Economic Development (successor to the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftsmanship). The related Star of Merit for Labour, established in 1923,[nb 5] confers the title of Master of Labour.[6]

Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity

A ribbon 1/18 red, 1/18 white 14/18 green, 1/18 white and 1/18 red.

The Stella della solidarietà italiana was originally instituted in 1947, to recognise those expatriates and foreigners who made an outstanding contribution to the reconstruction of Italy after World War II.[nb 6] The badge bears the inscription Solidarietà Italiana. The order is bestowed in three degrees by decree of the President of the Republic, head of the order, on the recommendation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Order of Vittorio Veneto

A ribbon 1/18 green, 1/18 white, 1/18 red, 1/18 green, 1/18 white, 1/18 red, 2/18 white, 2/18 blue, 2/18 white, 1/18 green, 1/18 white, 1/18 red,1/18 green, 1/18 white and 1/18 red.

The Ordine di Vittorio Veneto instituted with a single rank of Knight in 1968, "to express the gratitude of the nation" to those decorated with the Cross of War who had fought for at least six months in World War I and earlier conflicts.[nb 7] A small annuity is granted in favour of those recipients who do not enjoy an income above their tax allowance. The order is bestowed by decree of the President of the Republic, head of the order, on the recommendation of the Minister of Defence. Since 2008, however, with no surviving recipients, it lies dormant.

Kingdom of Italy

The existing orders of the Most Holy Annunciation, of Saints Maurice and Lazarus and the Military and Civil orders of Savoy were continued on the the unification of Italy in 1861. These were augmented during the Liberal period by the Order of the Crown of Italy, the Chivalrous Order of Agricultural, Industrial and Commercial Merit, the Colonial Order of the Star of Italy and later, by the Civil and Military Order of the Roman Eagle.[7]

The Knight Bachelor, usually transmitted by male primogeniture, was similar to a British baronetcy but older.[8] These Cavaliere Ereditario were not however, members of an order of chivalry.

Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation

A red ribbon bearing a gold cross of four pommels engraved with the Annunciation.

The origins of the Ordine supremo della Santissima Annunziata date from 1362, when Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy, instituted the Order of the Collar, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.[9] Eventually, it became a requirement for a person to have already received the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus before being admitted. The highest ranking honour of the Kingdom of Italy and limited to 20 Knights; it continues to be awarded by the Sovereign Head of the order, the head of the House of Savoy, in recognition of "eminent services in high military positions, to those who have distinguished themselves in senior positions in the civil service and to those who, as private citizens, have brought distinction upon Italy as exemplary benefactors of the nation or of mankind or have rendered particularly noteworthy services to [the former Royal] house."[10]

Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus

A green ribbon.

The Ordine dei Santi Maurizio e Lazzaro was formed in 1572 by a union of the original Order of Saint Maurice (1434) and the Italian foundation of the Military and Hospitaller Order of Saint Lazarus of Jerusalem (1142).[nb 8] Eventually, it became a requirement for a person to have already received the Order of the Crown of Italy in at least the same degree before being admitted. The order continues to be awarded by its Grand Master, for "significant contributions to science, literature, the arts, industry, trade, scholarship and research, the liberal arts, the professions, public service and other worthy fields of endeavour, which bring honour and greatness to the House of Savoy and benefits to humanity."[11]

The formerly related Maurizian Medal for Military Merit of fifty years, established in 1839,[nb 9] was one of the few medals not suppressed by the Republic, becoming the Maurizian Medal of Merit for fifty years military career in 1954.[12]

Order of the Crown of Italy

A ribbon 3/8 red, 2/8 white and 3/8 red.

The Ordine della Corona d'Italia was founded in 1868 by King Vittorio Emanuele II, to commemorate unification.[nb 10] The order was awarded more liberally than the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus and could be conferred on non-Catholics as well. It continued to be awarded by the head of the former Royal house (acting as King of Italy) for civilian and military merit until the demise of the last reigning monarch when it was replaced by his successor with the Order of Merit (falling within the Civil Order) of Savoy.[13]

Civil Order of Savoy

A ribbon 1/3 white, 1/3 dark blue and 1/3 white, bearing a pale blue greek cross engraved with a monogram on a gold disc.

The Ordine Civile di Savoia was founded in 1831 by the King of Sardinia, Charles Albert, Duke of Savoy, to reward those virtues not belonging to the existing Military Order of Savoy. Admission, limited to 70 Italians, was in the personal gift of the monarch and, as such, it continues to be awarded rarely by the head of the House of Savoy to those who "have by their long and diligent efforts, become outstanding members of society, or who have contributed greatly to the common good," among the scientists, lettered, administrators, engineers, architects, artists, authors and publishers of discoveries and to the teachers of sciences and letters and the managers of education.[14]

Colonial Order of the Star of Italy

A ribbon 1/18 green, 1/18 white 14/18 red, 1/18 white and 1/18 green.

The Ordine coloniale della Stella d'Italia was founded in 1914 by King Vittorio Emanuele III, to reward soldiers deployed to the colony of Libya. It had fallen into abeyance by 1943, when Allied forces re-took the colonies of Italian North Africa.[15]

Order of the Roman Eagle

A ribbon 1/8 purple, 1/8 yellow 4/8 purple, 1/8 yellow and 1/8 purple.

The Fascist Ordine civile e militare dell'Aquila Romana founded in 1942 with civil and military divisions[nb 11] was formally abolished in 1944;[nb 12] although it continued to be awarded in the short-lived Italian Social Republic with, from February to April 1945, the Order of the Patron Saints of Italy.

See also

Footnotes

  1. ^ See Royal Decree No. 974 of 10 July 1930.
  2. ^ Founded by Letters Patent dated 14 August 1815, renewed by Royal Decree on 27 September 1855 and 28 March 1857.
  3. ^ Under Legislative Decree of the Provisional Head of State No. 15 of 2 June 1947, renewed by Law No. 199 of 27 March 1952.
  4. ^ Revived by Law No. 199 of 27 March 1952.
  5. ^ Established by Royal Decree No. 3167 of 30 December 1923, renewed by Law No. 316(1) of 1 March 1967.
  6. ^ Instituted by Decree Law of the Provisional Head of State No. 703 of 27 January 1947, amended by Decree Law No. 812 of 9 March 1948.
  7. ^ Instituted by Law No. 263 of 18 March 1968.
  8. ^ Instituted by Papal Bull of the Supreme Pontiff Pope Gregory XIII on 16 September and 13 November 1572.
  9. ^ Established as Medaglia Mauriziana pel Merito Militare di dieci lustri by Royal Magistral Patent dated 19 July 1839, approved by Royal Decree of 21 December 1924.
  10. ^ Founded by Royal Decree No. 4251 of 20 February 1868, renewed by Royal Decree No. 4850 of 24 January 1869, Royal Magistral Decree of 17 November 1907 and Royal Decree No. 276 of 16 March 1911.
  11. ^ By Royal Decree No. 172 of 14 March 1942.
  12. ^ By Decree of the Lieutenant of the Realm of 5 October 1944.

References

  1. ^ "The Italian Honours Procedure" (pdf). Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Department of Protocol. http://www.governo.it/Presidenza/cerimoniale/onorificenze_araldica/documentazione/sistema_onorifico_rep_it.pdf. Retrieved 2008-10-05.  
  2. ^ "Ordini Cavallereschi del Regno d'Italia" (in Italian). Corpo della Nobiltà Italiana. http://www.cnicg.net/regno.asp?strRefUrl=http://www.cnicg.net/orders.asp&strRefNome=Ordini%20Cavallereschi%20Italiani. Retrieved 2009-09-10.  
  3. ^ a b Law No. 178 of 3 March 1951 Istituzione dell'Ordine "Al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" e disciplina del conferimento e dell'uso delle onorificenze (Institution of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic and discipline of the conferment and the use of honours), published in Gazzetta Ufficiale, No. 73, 30 March 1951 (in Italian).
  4. ^ "Ordini Cavallereschi della Republica Italiana" (in Italian). Corpo della Nobiltà Italiana. http://www.cnicg.net/repubblica.asp?strRefUrl=http://www.cnicg.net/orders.asp&strRefNome=Ordini%20Cavallereschi%20Italiani. Retrieved 2009-09-10.  
  5. ^ Royal Decree No. 1423(1) of 4 November 1932 Medaglia e Croce di Guerra al Valor Militare, published in Gazzetta Ufficiale, No. 261, 2 November 1932 (in Italian).
  6. ^ Law No. 316(1) of 1 March 1967 Nuove norme per la concessione della "Stella al merito del lavoro" (New rules for the concession of the Star of Merit for Labour), published in Gazzetta Ufficiale, No. 133, 29 May 1967 (in Italian).
  7. ^ Hooper, John. "The fall of the house of Savoy". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/jun/23/italy.johnhooper. Retrieved 2010-01-06.  
  8. ^ Mendola, Louis A.M. (1989). Italian Titles of Nobility. London: Journal of the Orders and Medals Research Society. http://www.regalis.com/reg/titles.htm.  
  9. ^ Sainty, Guy Stair (2006). World Orders of Knighthood and Merit. Buckingham: Burke's Peerage and Gentry. p. 257.  
  10. ^ Statutes of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (trans. Louis A.M. Mendola) 1409, most recently revised 3 June 1869.
  11. ^ Statutes of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (trans.) 1572, most recently revised 30 October 1999.
  12. ^ Law No. 203(1) of 7 March 1954 Medaglia Mauriziana al Merito di dieci lustri di carriera militare, published in Gazzetta Ufficiale, No. 116, 21 May 1954 (in Italian), as amended by Law No. 1327 of 8 November 1956.
  13. ^ Statutes of the Order of Merit of Savoy (trans.) 23 January 1988, revised 10 October 1996.
  14. ^ Statutes of the Civil Order of Savoy (trans.) 1831-10-29, renewed by Royal Decree of 1 October 1850 and 27 March 1887, revised 1985-06-11. Retrieved 2010-01-16
  15. ^ Mendola, Louis A.M. (1993). Contemporary Knighthood in Italy. London: Journal of the Orders and Medals Research Society. http://www.maineworldnewsservice.com/caltrap/contempo.htm. Retrieved 2010-01-16.  

External links


There are currently five Italian orders of merit (Italian: Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana) that recognise contributions to the Italian Republic.

Contents

Order of Merit of the Republic (Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana)

The Ordine al Merito della Repubblica is awarded in five ranks for contributions in the fields of literature, the economy, public service, and social, philanthropic and humanitarian activities.
File:ItalianMerit
The Order of Merit, old badge used between 1951 and 2001
The five ranks with ribbons are as follows, with number of decorations awarded through December 2006:
Knight of the Grand Cross with Collar: Cavaliere di Gran Croce Decorato di Gran Cordone Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana
1st Class / Knight of the Grand Cross: Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (8,362)
2nd Class / Grand Officer: Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (4,975)
3rd Class / Commander: Commendatore Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (13,973)
4th Class / Officer: Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (21,478)
5th Class / Knight: Cavaliere Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana (85,863)

Military Order of Italy (Ordine Militare d'Italia)

Main article: Military Order of Italy

The Ordine Militare d'Italia recognizes the distinguished conduct in war by units of the armed forces or by an individual. The lowest of the five ranks of the order, Knight, may also be awarded for peacetime activities.

Order of Merit for Labour (Ordine al Merito del Lavoro)

The Ordine al Merito del Lavoro is awarded to recognize achievement in agriculture commerce and industry, in the single rank of Knight.

Star of Italian Solidarity (Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana)

The Stella della Solidarietà Italiana was originally instituted in 1947 to recognize the achievements of those Italians and foreigners who had played a distinguished role in the reconstruction of Italy after World War II. There are three ranks:

(1st Class / Grand Officer) Grande Ufficiale dell'Ordine della Stella della solidarietà italiana (643)
(2nd Class / Commander) Commendatore dell'Ordine della Stella della solidarietà italiana (3,415)
(3rd Class / Knight) Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella della solidarietà italiana (6,507)

Order of Vittorio Veneto (Ordine di Vittorio Veneto)

The Ordine di Vittorio Veneto Instituted with a single rank of Knight in 1968 "to express the grateful thanks of the nation" to those who had fought for at least six months in World War I and who had achieved the cross to the Merit of War.

References

See also


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