Military Order of Italy
The Military Order of Italy is the highest military order
Order (decoration)
An order or order of merit is a visible honour, awarded by a government, dynastic house or international organization to an individual, usually in recognition of distinguished service to a nation or to humanity. The distinction between orders and decorations is somewhat vague, except that most...

 of the Italian Republic and the former Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

. It was founded as the Military Order of Savoy, a national order by the King of Sardinia, Vittorio Emanuele I
Victor Emmanuel I of Sardinia
Victor Emmanuel I was the Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia from 1802 to 1821, and Jacobite Pretender from 1819 until his death.-Biography:...

, Duke of Savoy in 1815. The order is awarded in five degrees for distinguished wartime conduct of units of the armed forces or individual personnel that has "proven expertise, a sense of responsibility and valour."

The order was continued on the unification of Italy
Italian unification
Italian unification was the political and social movement that agglomerated different states of the Italian peninsula into the single state of Italy in the 19th century...

 in 1861 and was revived, under its new name, following the foundation of the Republic
Birth of the Italian Republic
The Italian constitutional referendum which officially took place on 2 June 1946, is a key event of Italian contemporary history. Until 1946, Italy was a kingdom ruled by the House of Savoy, kings of Italy since the Risorgimento and previously rulers of Savoy...

 in 1946. It is bestowed by decree of the President of the Italian Republic
President of the Italian Republic
The President of the Italian Republic is the head of state of Italy and, as such, is intended to represent national unity and guarantee that Italian politics comply with the Constitution. The president's term of office lasts for seven years....

, head of the order, on the recommendation of the Minister of Defence. Today there are just 14 living recipients: five from the Army, three from the Navy
Marina Militare
The Italian Navy is the navy of the Italian Republic. It is one of the four branches of military forces of Italy; formed in 1946, from what remained of the Regia Marina . As of 2008, the Italian Navy had 35,200 active personnel with 180 commissioned ships, 19 Floating Docks, and 123 aircraft...

 and six from the Air Force
Aeronautica Militare
The Italian Air Force is the air force of the Italian Republic. It has held a prominent role in modern Italian military history...



Recipients of the Ordine militare di Savoia were transferred retaining their existing accoutrements and seniority.

The various degrees of the order, which may be conferred posthumously, are as follows:
Monarchy Republic Class (English) Full title in Italian
1st Class / Knight Grand Cross Cavaliere di Gran Croce dell'Ordine militare d'Italia
2nd Class / Grand Officer Grande Ufficiale dell'Ordine militare d'Italia
3rd Class / Commander Commendatore dell'Ordine militare d'Italia
4th Class / Officer Ufficiale dell'Ordine militare d'Italia
5th Class / Knight Cavaliere dell'Ordine militare d'Italia

The lowest of these may also be awarded for peacetime actions.


  • The badge is a golden matuna cross, enamelled in white, with a wreath of green-enamelled laurel and oak leaves between the arms of the cross. Officers and Knights wear this badge on a ribbon on the left chest. Commanders and Grand Officers wear it on a necklet.
    • The obverse central disc during the monarchy was red enamel with a white enamel cross. The current version is in white enamel with the letters R.I. (for Repubblica Italiana). In both cases the disc is surrounded by a red enamel ring bearing the inscription Al Merito Militare.
    • The reverse central disc is in red enamel with crossed swords. During the monarchy it had the letters V.E. (for Vittorio Emanuele) on the sides of the sword and the year 1855 above it. The current version has no cypher but has the additional year 1947, the date of the promulgation of the Italian constitution, below the swords.
    • The badge for the three higher classes are suspended by a wreath of green-enamelled laurel and oak leaves; the Officer's badge is suspended by a golden trophy of arms instead and the Knight's badge has neither emblems.
  • The star is an eight-pointed faceted silver star with the badge (without suspension) at the centre. This is worn by Knights Grand Cross and Grand Officers only.
  • The ribbon is blue—red—blue in equal dimensions.
  • Knights Grand Cross wear a sash with the badge of the order suspended from it.

External links

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