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Italy - Naval Flags

Last modified: 2021-01-01 by rob raeside
Keywords: italy | naval jack | jack | pisa | amalfi | genoa | venice | customs | anchor (black) |
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For private use at sea there is an ensign similar to the national flag, but carrying a shield on the white strip with the four symbols of the so-called "Sea Republics" (Repubbliche Marinare) of Italian tradition: first quarter Venice (St. Mark's winged lion holding a book), second Genoa (a red-on-white cross), third Amalfi (Maltese white cross on dark blue) and fourth quarter Pisa (peculiar-shaped white cross on red).
Navy carries the same flag, but the lion holds a sword instead of a book and the whole shield is crowned. These flags are official since 9th November 1947.
Alessio Bragadini

Until the end of WW II, the Italian flag always had the Savoy coat of arms in the center (without the crown: Merchant, with the crown: naval ensign) {so there was no confusion at sea}. After the war, the plain tricolor was adopted as the national flag, but in order to avoid confusion with the Mexican merchant flag, the new Italian coat of arms was placed in the center of the Italian merchant flag (again with no crown.)
Nick Artimovich, 16 March 1998

As far as the usage of the Navy flag versus the private use at sea is concerned, the lion holding a sword (St. Mark's Lion) have a book as well, but in this case the book is closed. The reason for is that in the open book you can read the Latin sentence "PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGELISTA MEUS" (Peace to you Mark, my Gospel writer), so in war time the Republic of Venice was not allowing to read "peace" as the first word. Actually, the two versions of the Naval Jack are embedding the two different Venetian flags so maintaining their origin usage.
Fabio Pasello , 15 Septemnber 1999

The present italian coat of arms is never shown either on the merchant or on naval ensign. The shield you see there is the italian naval shield (with crown - navy, without crown- merchant ships). The prsent coat of arms of the Italian republic is the one described in this page. The one on the naval flags is made up by joining the 4 shields of the ancient "repubbliche marinare": Pisa (whitem "Pisan" cross on red field), Amalfi (white "Amalfi" cross on blue field), Genoa (red cross on a white field) and Venice (St.marks lion with a sword for the navy and a book for the merchant ships, gold on a blue field).
Antonio De Girolamo, 14 June 2000

Naval Ensign

image by Graham Bartram

A beautiful photo of the Italian naval ensign (warning : 293 Kb) can be seen at <>.
Dov Gutterman, 31 January 1999

According to Italian Navy site (now defunct) this is the "Bandiera delle Forze Navali e degli Istituti Militari" (Ensign of the Navy and (Naval) Military Institutions).
Dov Gutterman and Pier Paolo Lugli, 5 September 2000

The French Naval Album ed. 10, 2017, gives two shades of blue for Italy, together with specification for red and green, all given as approximations:
  dark blue 287c C 100 - M 70 - Y 0 - K 10
  blue 300c C 0 - M 90 - Y 86 - K 0
  red C 13 - M 97 - Y 85 - K 3
  green C 86 - M 18 - Y 100 - K 4

The dark blue is used only in the 3rd quarter of the composed coat of arms in the (naval and civil) ensigns, the jack and the flag of the Commander of a Naval Force in Wartime (being a "medium" blue bordered jack, and the only one using two shades of blue simultaneously). The dark blue is also used as border in the presidential flag. All other listed flags employ the "medium" blue. 
Željko Heimer, 28 March 2018

Naval Jack

image by Joe McMillan, 5 November 2003

Italian jack is a square banner of the arms appearing on the naval ensign. The Amalfi cross was the original cross which was taken then by the members of the Order of Malta. The reason of that is that the members of this Order came originally from Amalfi.
Pascal Vagnat

According to Italian Navy site (now defunct) this is the "Bandiera di bompresso per le UU.NN. della M.M" (Jack for the Ships of the Navy).
Dov Gutterman and Pier Paolo Lugli, 5 September 2000

Customs Pennant

image by Guillermo Aveledo and António Martins-Tuválkin, 5 July 2009

"Guidone del Naviglio Guradia di Finanza"
Dov Gutterman, 6 August 2000

It is a yellow ~2:3 triangular flag with a black anchor on it.
António Martins-Tuválkin, 5 July 2009

Carbineers Pennant

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 10 August 2000

"Guidone del Naviglio dell'Arms dei Carabinieri"
Dov Gutterman, 6 August 2000

Isn't that a Grenadiers pennant?
John Ayer, 8 August 2000

The cap badge of the italian Carabinieri is a flaming grenade.
Roy Stilling, 8 August 2000

The Carabinieri, as the national police force, have a seagoing arm known as the Servizio Navale Carabinieri, established in 1969 and equipped with 179 craft ranging up to 26 tons. 
Source:  Jane's Fighting Ships 2000-2001.
Joe McMillan, 11 August 2000

Spanish TV reported yesterday night the security measures which have been taken in Rome due to the Pope's funeral, showing images of several police and Carabinieri launches on the Tiber river. A stern shot of one Carabinieri launch showed very clearly the Carabinieri pennant hoisted on the left stern, with the war ensign (Carabinieri are part of the military) on the right stern, on symmetrical poles.   The actual pennant looks brighter than the image above: regular red, blue and yellow would make our image more correct.
Santiago Dotor, 7 April 2005

Ensign for State Ships which are not Warships

image by Luca Secomand and Miles Li, 30 October 2018

 'Flagmaster', the magazine of the British Flag Institute, has an article on Italian flags. This article is superbly illustrated by Roberto Breschi (with those illustrations reproduced with his kind permission), and shows an ensign for state ships which are not warships - "...di stato in mare (equippaggi civil)" - and is the national tricolour with the state emblem (approx one-half the width of the flag high) in its centre. The date of establishment is given as 2003.
Christopher Southworth, 28 October 2011

The Italian State Ensign, adopted by the Law of 24 October 2003, n.321, is the Italian National Flag defaced with the national emblem, thus identical to the Proposal for Presidential Standard (1965).

The Italian National Firefighters Corps (Vigili del Fuoco) website has an excellent article (in Italian, with a close-up photo of two State Ensigns) from 25 May 2009 regarding the legal significance of the State Ensign:
Miles Li, 30 October 2018

Flag for Navy Ships Performing Sailnig Sport

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 18 August 2000

According to Italian Navy site (now defunct) and here, it is a blue pennant as: "Guidone per lo sport velico della Marina Militare" (Ensign for Navy ships performing sailinig sport) with square version as "Bandiera quadra per lo sport velico della Marina Militare" ((Flag for Navy ships performing sailinig sport).
Dov Gutterman and Pier Paolo Lugli, 5 September 2000

Military Naval Pennant

image by Guillermo Aveledo, 12 August 2000

"Fiamma Marina Militare". According to "Adria Bandiera" catalogue. It is manufactured in ratios from long as  3:400 (15x2000 cm.) to short as 4:35 (8x70 cm.)
Dov Gutterman, 10 August 2000

According to Italian Navy site (now defunct) this is the "Fiamma per le UU.NN. della M.M." (Streamer for the Ships of the Navy)
Dov Gutterman and Pier Paolo Lugli, 5 September 2000

National Firefighters Corps Naval Section

image by Miles Li, 30 December 2020

The pennant of the Italian National Firefighters Corps Naval Section "Guidone del Vigili del Fuoco Sezione Navale"
A photo of the pennant can be found at
Miles Li, 4 January 2019

State Police Nautical Squad

image by Miles Li, 30 December 2020

The Polizia di Stato is the national civilian police force of Italy (as opposed to the Carabinieri which is a gendarmerie force). The pennants of the State Police Nautical Squads (Squadre Nautiche della Polizia di Stato) are crimson, either with a golden fouled anchor towards the hoist (illustrated here), or with both a golden police eagle towards the hoist and a golden fouled anchor at the centre. The shades of crimson can vary considerably from brick red to purple.
Miles Li, 30 December 2020

Other Flags

According to Italian Navy site (now defunct) and here there are other naval flags as follows:

a) "Guidone per il naviglio ausiliario dello Stato" (Ensign for Auxiliary Ships) (see here)
b) "Guidone per il naviglio addetto al servizio dei segnalamenti marittimi" (Ensign for ships on charge of sea signalling) (see here).
Dov Gutterman and Pier Paolo Lugli, 5 September 2000

In a page from an italian dictionary (Il Nuovissimo Melzi, 1952), sent by Alex Belfi, which displays the flags of all european countries, there is also a Combat Flag (B. Combattimento). Interesting but it is the Kingdom of Italy jack . Probably out of date since it doesn't appear at the Italian navy site.
Dov Gutterman, 4 October 2000