The Emblem of the Italian Republic

On the 5th of May 1948 the republican Italy was awarded its emblem at the end of a creative process that had required 24 months, two public competitions and 800 sketches submitted by roughly 500 citizens.

Italian Republic Coat of ArmsQuirinale Palace

A Symbol of the Republic

The process began in October 1946, when the government led by Alcide De Gasperi set up an ad hoc Commission chaired by Ivanoe Bonomi which projected the future emblem as the fruit of a concerted effort that was to be as broad as possible.

To this end, it was decided to announce a public competition open to all citizens, based only on a few elements: the absolute exclusion of symbols of the party, the inclusion of the star of Italy and “drawing inspiration from the essence of the land and of the municipalities”.

Reading the Emblem

The emblem of the Italian Republic is characterised by three elements: the star, the cog-wheel, and olive and oak branches.

The olive branch symbolises the nation’s will for peace, embracing both internal concord and international brotherhood.

The oak branch that rims the right-hand-side of the emblem embodies the strength and the dignity of the Italian people.

Moreover, both plants are among the most typical of Italy’s forest species.

The steel cog-wheel symbolises work and represents the first article of the Constitutional Charter: “Italy is a Democratic Republic, founded on work”.

The star is one of the most ancient emblems of Italian iconography.

View of the ceiling in the Salone delle Feste with the Triumph of ItalyQuirinale Palace

It has always been associated with the personification of Italy.

Allegory of Italy (Early twentieth century) by Alessandro Palombi and Ernesto BallariniQuirinale Palace

Crowning its head with its bright shine.

Italian Republic Coat of ArmsQuirinale Palace

The star is one of the most ancient emblems of Italian iconography and it has always been associated with the personification of Italy, crowning its head with its bright shine. This was how it was represented in the iconography of the Risorgimento and in the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Italy (the so-called “big star”).

L'Emblema della Repubblica e il Torrino del QuirinaleQuirinale Palace

The Competitions

Two competitions were held, both won by the sketch presented by Paolo Paschetto, professor of ornamentation at the Institute of Fine Arts in Rome.

Retouched several times by the Commission, the proposal finally reached the Constituent Assembly where, with no few disputes, it was approved in the session of January 31, 1948.

After the bureaucratic procedures were fulfilled and the final colours decided: on the 5th of May 1948 the President of the Republic, Enrico De Nicola, signed Legislative Decree N. 535, endowing Italy with its emblem.

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