Order of Merit of the Italian Republic

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Presidents Napolitano and Ciampi at the handover of the Gran Cordone

The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic ( Italian Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana - OMRI ) was founded in 1951. It is intended to reward national and foreign nationals for services rendered to the nation in the fields of science, literature, the arts, economics, and the performance of public services and social, philanthropic, and humanitarian activities, as well as for long and excellent service in civil and military careers . The President of the Italian Republic may also give the award for reasons of international courtesy.


After the abolition of the monarchy in June 1946, a fundamental reorganization of the state labeling system was necessary. The framework established by an Act of March 3, 1951 Order of Merit of the Italian Republic replaced de facto the 1362 donated Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation and the Order of Knights of St. Mauritius and Lazarus (1572), both house orders of the Royal House of Savoy , as well as the State Order of Civil Merit of Savoy (1831) and the State Order of the Crown of Italy (1868). Two other Orders, the Military Order of Savoy (1815) and the work of Merit (1901) were, however, in a revised form of the Republic adopted. The Order of Merit of the Italian Republic has been the highest-ranking Order of Merit in Italy ever since. In 2001 it received new insignia on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.

Order classes

The medal consists of five classes as well as a special level, the collar :

Strap buckles
Order class 1951 to 2001 From 2001 onwards
Grand Cross with Great Order Chain
(Cavaliere di Gran Croce decorato di Gran Cordone)
Cordone di gran Croce di Gran Cordone OMRI BAR.svg ITA OMRI 2001 GC-GCord BAR.svg
Grand Cross
(Cavaliere di Gran Croce)
Cordone di gran Croce OMRI BAR.svg ITA OMRI 2001 GC BAR.svg
Grand Officer
(Grande Ufficiale)
Grande ufficiale OMRI BAR.svg ITA OMRI 2001 GUff BAR.svg
Commendatore OMRI BAR.svg ITA OMRI 2001 Com BAR.svg
Ufficiale OMRI BAR.svg ITA OMRI 2001 Uff BAR.svg
Cavaliere OMRI BAR.svg ITA OMRI 2001 Cav BAR.svg

The awards are given by the presidents of the state, on the proposal of the prime minister and after hearing the council of the order. The latter consists of the presiding chancellor and ten other members (up to 2015 there were 16). The Chancellor and the other members of the Order Council are appointed by the President of the State for a single period of six years after hearing the Council of Ministers on the proposal of the Prime Minister.

As a rule, the first award takes place in the knight's class, taking into account a minimum age of 35 years. Only in a few legally regulated exceptional cases or for reasons of international courtesy can the President of the State deviate from this rule. A higher order class can usually only be awarded after at least three years. The awards usually take place on June 2 ( Festa della Repubblica ) and December 27 ( promulgation of the constitution ), in the case of awards to civil servants at the end of their service life, to foreigners and in other special cases on other days.

If a holder of the order proves to be unworthy, the award can be withdrawn by the President of the State after hearing the Council of the Order and on the justified suggestion of the Prime Minister. Italian MPs and Senators cannot be awarded the Order of Merit.

Order of Merit, left 1st model (1951–2001), right current version
How to wear the order (from left to right) from class 5 to special level
Insignia and award certificate for Cavaliere Paolo Salvati

Order decoration

The medal, which can be awarded on the ribbon or on the chain, consisted in the years 1951 to 2001 of a white, gold-bordered cross with a five-pointed gold star in the middle. Golden eagles with outspread wings filled the corners of the cross. In the middle of each cross bar was a small ball. A golden crown hovered over the ball on the upper beam , which in turn was attached to the ribbon or chain. The ribbon is green with red side stripes. In 2001 the order received new insignia reminiscent of the old order of the Crown of Italy : the order mark is now a white enamelled Ruppert cross with green laurel wreaths in its corners, with a simple ring as a suspension and with a gold five-pointed star in the center medallion.

Medal bearer

The Grand Cross with Grand Order Chain (Cavaliere di Gran Croce decorato di Gran Cordone) is an official insignia of the Italian President. As the highest decoration of honor, it is almost exclusively awarded to foreign heads of state. It is de facto the successor to the Annunciate Order .

The Gran Cordone was awarded to King Paul I of Greece as the first foreign head of state in December 1952 and Queen Elizabeth II as the first female head of state in May 1958. The award was revoked from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in September 2012.

The Grand Cross (Cavaliere di Gran Croce) was awarded 8,936 times (including the special level with a large chain of orders) until December 2015, the order class Grand Officer (Grande Ufficiale) 24,450 times, the Commendatore 46,914 times, the Officer (Ufficiale) 31,446 times and the knight (Cavaliere) 135,448 times.

Web links

Commons : Order of Merit of the Italian Republic  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. accademiadelcerimoniale.it on the parliamentary history of the origins of the order
  2. Legal bases on quirinale.it
  3. ^ Entry in the order database of the Italian President
  4. Gazzetta Ufficiale No. 255 of October 31, 2012