Nobile (aristocracy)
Nobile or Nob. is an Italian title of nobility ranking between that of baron and knight. As with the other titles of nobility, such as baron or count, nobile is also used immediately before the family name, usually in the abbreviated form: Nob.

The word “nobile” is derived from the Latin “nobilis”, meaning honourable. This title is generally used to denote any person belonging to the nobility.

The other European equivalents of “nobile” are the title of “baronet
A baronet or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess , is the holder of a hereditary baronetcy awarded by the British Crown...

” in England and, to some extent, the Austrian and South German title of “Edler von
Edler was until 1919 the lowest title of nobility in Austria-Hungary and Germany, just beneath a Ritter, but above nobles without title who used only the preposition von before their surname. It was mostly given to civil servants and military officers, as well as those upon whom the second rank of...


The heraldic coronet, or coronet of rank, of a “nobile” is composed of a jewelled circlet of gold surmounted by five pearls, either on stems or set directly upon the rim. The armorial shield of a “nobile” is surmounted by a silver helm displayed in a ¾ side-view and surmounted by the coronet already described. A noble entitled to wear a coronet as part of their regalia of noble status also customarily displays it above the shield in the full heraldic achievement associated with the particular title in question.

The History

Following the creation and formal proclamation of the 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...

, the existing Heraldic College (Consulta Araldica), thenceforth denoted the Italian Heraldic College, was updated to include and additional title of nobility, that of “nobile”, as the lowest rank in the hierarchy of Italian titles of nobility. The terms by which the Consulta Araldica existed were, therefore, amended to include the addition of article 8 of the Royal decree dated 8 May 1870. Its great innovation lay in altering the coverage of the terms of noble patents by stipulating that the use of a title of nobility was no longer restricted to the first-born, as had previously been the case according to article 20 of the regulations governing such titles.

Prior to the creation of the Kingdom of Italian, in the duchy of Milan, the Heraldic Court of Milan (the legal body empowered to decide on matters regarding titles of nobility), awarded and registered the term “nobile” as a title of nobility, until Napoleon's army overran the Austrian Habsburg-controlled duchy in 1796. When such a title was granted, the coat of arms of the new “nobile” was entered into the ‘Book of Coat of Arms of Maria Teresa of Austria’ (kept today by the State Archives of Milan - ASMi) along with a painting of the arms concerned. The records of such grants and the depiction of their corresponding arms show that, at that period, the title of “nobile” did not include the right to have a corresponding coronet of rank placed atop of the helm in the full armorial achievement of the “nobile”.

The Law

The Italian Republic does not recognize titles of nobility. The Italian Constitution of 1948 abolished the Consulta Araldica, and with it all titles of nobility in use up to that time. As a result, the title of “nobile” is not recognised to exist under the current Italian civil law code. There is, nonetheless, a private organisation, the Association of the Italian Nobility (Corpo della Nobiltà Italiana), which seeks to promote and continue of the work of the former royal Italian heraldic regulatory entity, the Consulta Araldica.
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