Italian Navy

The Italian Navy (Italian: Marina Militare, lit. "Military Navy"; abbreviated as MM) is the Navy of the Italian Republic. It is one of the four branches of Italian Armed Forces and was formed in 1946 from what remained of the Regia Marina (Royal Navy) after World War II. As of August 2014, the Italian Navy had a strength of 30,923 active personnel with approximately 184 vessels in service, including minor auxiliary vessels. It is considered a multiregional and a blue-water navy.[2][3][4]

Italian Navy
Marina Militare
Coat of arms of Marina Militare
(1861 as Regia Marina)
Country Italy
RoleNaval warfare
Size30,923 personnel
184 vessels (incl. minor auxiliaries)
70 aircraft[1]
Motto(s)Italian: Patria e Onore
"Country and Honour"
MarchLa Ritirata ("Ritirata" in Italian means the return of soldiers to their barrack, or in this case of sailors to their ship after a leave) by Tommaso Mario
AnniversariesJune 10 – Sinking of the Austro-Hungarian battleship SMS Szent István by Luigi Rizzo
Decorations1 Cavalier Cross of the Military Order of Savoy
3 Cavalier's Crosses of the Military Order of Italy
2 Gold Medals of Military Valor
1 Silver Medal of Military Valor
1 Gold Medal for Merited Public Honor
capo di stato maggiore della marina
(Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy)
ammiraglio di squadra
Valter Girardelli
sottocapo di stato maggiore della marina
Deputy Chief of Naval Staff
ammiraglio di squadra
Claudio Gaudiosi
Naval Aviation roundelsRoundel of Italy – Low Visibility – Type 1.svgRoundel of Italy – Naval Aviation.svg
Naval ensign
Naval Ensign of Italy
Naval Jack of Italy


Before and during World War II

The Regia Marina was formed on March 17, 1861, after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy. The Italian Navy assumed its present name after the Italian monarchy was abolished following a popular referendum held on June 2, 1946.

After World War II

At the end of its five years involvement in World War II, Italy was a devastated nation. After the end of hostilities the Regia Marina, which at the beginning of the war was the fourth largest navy in the world with a mix of modernised and new battleships, started a long and complex rebuilding process. The important combat contributions of the Italian naval forces after the signing of the armistice with the Allies on September 8, 1943, and the subsequent cooperation agreement on September 23, 1943, left the Regia Marina in a poor condition, with much of its infrastructure and bases unusable and its ports mined and blocked by sunken ships. However, a large number of its naval units had survived the war, albeit in a low efficiency state, which was due to the conflict and the age of many vessels. The vessels that remained were:

  • 5 battleships
  • 10 cruisers
  • 10 destroyers
  • 20 frigates
  • 20 corvettes
  • 50 fast coastal patrol units
  • 50 minesweepers
  • 19 amphibious operations vessels
  • 5 school ships
  • 1 support ship and plane transport

The peace treaty

The peace treaty signed on February 10, 1947 in Paris was onerous for Regia Marina. Apart from territorial and material losses, also the following restrictions were imposed:

  • A ban on owning, building or experimenting with atomic weapons, self-propulsion projectiles or relative launchers, etc.
  • A ban on owning battleships, aircraft carriers, submarines and amphibious assault units.
  • A ban on operating military installations on the islands of Pantelleria, Pianosa and on the archipelago of Pelagie Islands.
CV Aquila LaSpezia Jun51 NAN5-63
La Spezia, 1951: carrier Aquila just before being scrapped

The treaty also ordered Italy to put the following ships at the disposals of the victorious nations United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain, France, Greece, Yugoslavia and Albania as war compensation:

  • 3 Battleships: Giulio Cesare, Italia, Vittorio Veneto;
  • 5 Cruisers: Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta, Attilio Regolo, Scipione Africano, Eugenio di Savoia and Eritrea;
  • 7 Destroyers, 5 of the Soldati class and Augusto Riboty and Alfredo Oriani;
  • 6 Minesweepers: like Aliseo and Fortunale;
  • 8 Submarines: 3 of the Acciaio class;
  • 1 Sailing School ship: Cristoforo Colombo.

The entry into NATO

Great changes in the international political situation, which were developing into the Cold War, convinced the United Kingdom and United States to discontinue the transfer of Italy's capital ships as war reparations. Some had already been dismantled in La Spezia between 1948 and 1955, including the aircraft carrier Aquila. However, the Soviet Union demanded the surrender of the battleship Giulio Cesare and other naval units designated for transfer. The cruisers Attilio Regolo and Scipione Africano became the French Chateaurenault and Guichen, while Eugenio di Savoia became the Greek Elli. After break up and/or transfers, only a small part of the fleet remained to be recommissioned into the Marina. As Western attention turned to the Soviets and the Mediterranean Sea, Italian seas became one of the main sites of confrontation between the two superpowers, contributing to the re-emergence of Italy's naval importance thanks to her strategic geographical position.

With the new elections in 1946, the Kingdom of Italy became a Republic, and the Regia Marina took the name of Marina Militare (Military Navy). As the Marshall Plan began to rebuild Italy and Europe was rapidly being divided into two geopolitically antagonistic blocs, Italy began talks with the United States to guarantee adequate security considerations. The US government in Washington wished to keep its own installations on the Italian Peninsula and relaxed the Treaty restrictions by including Italy in the Mutual Defense Assistance Programme (MDAP). On April 4, 1949, Italy joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and, in order for the navy to contribute actively in the organization, the Treaty restrictions were definitively repealed by the end of 1951, with the consent of all of Western nations.

Carriers Cavour (550) - Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) and Charles de Gaulle (R91) underway in 2013
The carrier Cavour in the Gulf of Oman, 2013

Within NATO, the Italian Navy was assigned combat control of the Adriatic Sea and Strait of Otranto, as well as the defence of the naval routes through the Tyrrhenian Sea. To ensure these tasks a "Studio sul potenziamento della Marina italiana in relazione al Patto Atlantico" (Study about the development of the Italian Navy with reference to the Atlantic Pact) was undertaken, which researched the structures and the methods for the development of the navy.

Naval ensign

Naval Ensign of Italy
Naval ensign of Italy

The ensign of the Italian Navy is the Italian tricolour defaced with the coat of arms of the Marina Militare. The quarters refer to the four Medieval Italian Thalassocracies, or "Maritime Republics" (Italian: Repubbliche Marinare):

The shield has a golden crown, that distinguishes military vessels from merchant: the crown, "corona rostrata", was proposed in 1939 by Admiral Domenico Cavagnari to the Government, as an acknowledgement of the Italian Navy's origin in Roman times. In the proposal, Adm. Cavagnari wrote that "in order to recall the common origin [of the Navy] from the Roman sailorship, the Insignia will be surmounted by the towered Crown with rostra, the emblem of honour and valour the Roman Senate awarded to the leaders of naval victories, conquerors of lands and cities across the seas".

A further difference is that St. Mark's lion, symbolising the Republic of Venice, does not hold the gospel in its paw (as it does on the civil ensign, where the book is open at the words "Pax tibi Marce, evangelista meus", meaning "Peace to you Mark, my Evangelist") and is wielding a sword instead: such an image is consistent with the pictorial tradition from Venetian history, in which the book is shown open during peacetime and closed during wartime.

Structure and organisation


In 2012 the Navy began a restructuring process that will see a 21% decrease in personnel by 2025. A new structure was implemented in January 2014.[5] The command structure is depicted below:[6]

Reporting to the Logistics Command is Maritime Command – divided into four areas who provide logistic support for their areas.[5]

Italian Navy org chart 2016

Italian Navy org chart 2016
Position Italian title Rank Incumbent
Navy Chief of Staff Capo di Stato Maggiore della Marina Ammiraglio di squadra Giuseppe Cavo Dragone
Navy Deputy Chief of Staff Sottocapo di Stato Maggiore della Marina Ammiraglio di squadra Paolo Treu[7]
Commander in Chief Naval Fleet (CINCNAV) Comandante in Capo della Squadra Navale Ammiraglio di squadra Donato Marzano
Commander in Chief Logistics Command (MARICOMLOG) Comandante Logistico Ammiraglio di squadra Raffaele Caruso[8]
Commander in Chief Schools Command (MARICOMSCUOLE) Comandante Scuole Ammiraglio di squadra Salvatore Ruzittu[9]
Commander Maritime Command North Comandante del Comando Marittimo Nord L'ammiraglio di divisione Giorgio Lazio[10]
Commander Maritime Command South Comandante del Comando Marittimo Sud L'ammiraglio di divisione Eduardo Serra[11][12]
Commander Maritime Command Sicily Comandante del Comando Marittimo Sicilia L'ammiraglio di divisione Nicola De Felice[13]
Commander Maritime Command Sardinia Comando Supporto Logistico della Marina a Cagliari Contrammiraglio Francesco Sollitto[14][15]
COMSUBIN Comandante di Comsubin Contrammiraglio Paolo Pezzuti

Coast Guard

The Corps of the Port Captaincies – Coast Guard (Italian language: Corpo delle Capitanerie di porto – Guardia costiera') is the coast guard of Italy and is part of the Italian Navy under the control of the Ministry of Infrastructures and Transports. In Italy, it is commonly known as simply the Guardia costiera. The Coast Guard has approximately 11 000 staff. [16]


The Italian Navy is divided into seven corps (by precedence) and one:

  • Corpo di stato maggiore – Corps of Staff Officers (SM) (line officers)
  • Corpo del genio navaleCorps of Naval Engineering (GN)
  • Corpo delle armi navali – Corps of the Naval Arms (AN)
  • Corpo sanitario militare marittimo – Maritime Military Medical Corps (MD) for medics; (FM) for Pharmacists
  • Corpo di commissariato militare marittimo – Corps of Military Maritime Commissariat (CM) (administration)
  • Corpo delle capitanerie di portoCorps of the Port Captaincies (CP) the coast guard
  • Corpo degli equipaggi militari marittimi – Corps of the Military Maritime Crews (CEMM)


Command of the Italian Fleet (ships, submarines and amphibious forces) and Naval aviation[17] falls under Commander in Chief Naval Fleet


Ships and submarines

Today's Italian Navy is a modern navy with ships of every type. The fleet is in continuous evolution, and as of today oceangoing fleet units include: 2 light aircraft carriers, 3 amphibious assault ships, 4 destroyers, 12 frigates and 8 attack submarines. Patrol and littoral warfare units include: 10 offshore patrol vessels and 1 corvettes. Ten mine countermeasure vessels, four coastal patrol boats, and a varied fleet of auxiliary ships are also in service.[18]

The flagship of the fleet is the carrier Cavour.


The Italian Navy operates a diverse fleet of aircraft including fixed-wing, rotary and UAVs.


The 2014 Naval Act allocated Euro 5.4 billion for the following vessels:[20]

2018 Defence Budget:[21]

  • 2 additional (III Batch) U-212 updated Hunter-killer submarines (U212E) are financed with commissioning in 2025-2026, for about 1 Billion Euros (With option for 2 additional ones, to maintain a fleet of eight submarines).

The 2017 Budget allocated 12.8 billion (2017–2032 years) also for new, undisclosed, ships, which should be:

  • 1 x USSP "Unità Soccorso Sommergibili Polivalente" (Multipurpose submarine rescue vessel)[22] to replace the submarine rescue ship Anteo: 131.5 m x 23 m, 10.500 tonnes, flight deck and hangar for 1 AW-101, ROV, AUV, UUV, hull for artic navigation, etc.
  • 1 x UIOM "Unità Idro Oceanografica Maggiore (Ocean going Hydrographic and Polar vessel)[23] to replace the hydrographic survey vessel Ammiraglio Magnaghi: 94 m x 16.6 m, 3,600 tonnes, flight deck and hangar.
  • 12 x MHC to replace Lerici/Gaeta MHC class: 7 MHC units for homeland security and 5 MHO units for expeditionary roles.
  • 9 EPC (European Patrol Corvette: about 3,000 t) planned in a joint program with France.


  • 1 x LSS Vulcano class, the second one, to replace AOR Vesuvio (A5329)
  • 3 x LPD (18,000 t, 4 helos NH90, 4 LCU, 500/600 San Marco troops, 185 x 33 m, 1 x OTO Melara 127/64 mm, 2 x OTO Melara 76/62 mm ); to replace LHD Santi class
  • 2 x DDG (Doria/Horizon class development), about 10,000 t; to replace Mimbelli/Durand de la Penne destroyers.

Rank structure

Italian Navy ranks hierarchy
Category Admirals Senior officers Junior officers Naval

NATO Code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 Subaltern officers

summer uniform
Shoulder rank insignia of ammiraglio of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of ammiraglio di squadra con incarichi speciali of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of ammiraglio di squadra of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of ammiraglio ispettore comandante of the Italian Coast Guard.svg Shoulder rank insignia of ammiraglio di divisione of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of contrammiraglio of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of capitano di vascello of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of capitano di fregata of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of capitano di corvetta of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of primo tenente di vascello of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of tenente di vascello of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of sottotenente di vascello of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of guardiamarina of the Italian Navy.svg Shoulder rank insignia of aspirante guardiamarina of the Italian Navy.svg

winter uniform
Rank insignia of ammiraglio of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of ammiraglio di squadra con incarichi speciali of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of ammiraglio di squadra of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of ammiraglio ispettore comandante of the Italian Coast Guard Rank insignia of ammiraglio di divisione of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of contrammiraglio of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of capitano di vascello of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of capitano di fregata of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of capitano di corvetta of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of primo tenente di vascello of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of tenente di vascello of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of sottotenente di vascello of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of guardiamarina of the Italian Navy Rank insignia of aspirante guardiamarina of the Italian Navy
Italian rank name
ammiraglio di squadra1 ammiraglio di squadra con incarichi speciali
di squadra

ammiraglio ispettore
comandante di corpo

di divisione

di vascello

di fregata

di corvetta

primo tenente
di vascello

di vascello

di vascello

guardiamarina aspirante

English rank name translation Admiral Admiral (s.a.) Vice Admiral Admiral Inspector
Chief of Corps
Rear Admiral Upper Half Rear Admiral Lower Half Captain Commander Lieutenant Commander First Lieutenant Lieutenant Lieutenant Junior Grade Ensign Acting

1 The rank of "ammiraglio" (admiral) is assigned to the only naval officer promoted as chief of the defense staff.

2 The rank of "ammiraglio di squadra con incarichi speciali" (squadron admiral with special assignments) is assigned to the naval officer promoted as chief of the naval staff and/or as secretary of defense.

3 As Officer Designated, the rank of "aspirante guardiamarina" is comparable to the Royal Navy midshipman.

See also


  1. ^ "LA MARINA MILITARE OGGI" (PDF). (in Italian).
  2. ^ Todd, Daniel; Lindberg, Michael (May 14, 1996). "Navies and Shipbuilding Industries: The Strained Symbiosis". Greenwood Publishing Group. Retrieved May 14, 2018 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Till, Geoffrey (August 2, 2004). Seapower: A Guide for the Twenty-First Century. London: Routledge. pp. 113–120. ISBN 9781135756789. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
  4. ^ Coffey, Joseph I. (1989). The Atlantic Alliance and the Middle East. United States: University of Pittsburgh Press. p. 89. ISBN 9780822911548. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Organizzazione". Italian Navy. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  6. ^ "Organization Chart of the Italian Navy" (PDF). Italian Navy. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Napoli, cambio al vertice del Comando Logistico della Marina". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Il Comandante - Marina Militare". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  10. ^ "Il Comandante - Marina Militare". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  11. ^ "Comandante del Comando Marittimo Sud - Marina Militare". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  12. ^ "Marina Militare, cambio al vertice Le foto". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 27, 2015. Retrieved January 19, 2017.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Cambio Comando supporto logistico Marina - Sardegna". July 29, 2016. Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  15. ^ "Ammiraglio Comandante - Marina Militare". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  16. ^ "Coast Guard – Port Authorities". Italian Navy. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  17. ^ "The Present Aviation - Marina Militare". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  18. ^ "The Fleet - Marina Militare". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  19. ^ "European Multi Mission Frigates - Marina Militare". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  20. ^ "Naval Program 2014 - Marina Militare". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  21. ^ "Pinotti: «L'Italia avrà altri due sommergibili» - The Medi Telegraph". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  22. ^ "Fincantieri - Logistic Support Ships". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  23. ^ "Fincantieri - Hydrographic Survey Vessel". Retrieved May 14, 2018.

External links

Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy

The Chief of Staff of the Italian Navy (Italian: Capo di Stato Maggiore della Marina Militare) is the commander of the Italian Navy

Condottieri-class cruiser

The Condottieri class was a sequence of five different light cruiser classes of the Regia Marina (Italian Navy), although these classes show a clear line of evolution. They were built before World War II to gain predominance in the Mediterranean Sea. The ships were named after military commanders (condottieri) of Italian history.

Each class is known after the first ship of the group:

Giussano class:

Alberto da Giussano

Alberico da Barbiano

Bartolomeo Colleoni

Giovanni delle Bande NereCadorna class:

Luigi Cadorna

Armando DiazMontecuccoli class:

Raimondo Montecuccoli

Muzio AttendoloDuca d'Aosta class:

Emanuele Filiberto Duca d'Aosta

Eugenio di SavoiaDuca degli Abruzzi class:

Duca degli Abruzzi

Giuseppe Garibaldi

Italian Naval Academy

The Italian Naval Academy (Italian: Accademia Navale) is a coeducational military university in Livorno, which is responsible for the technical training of military officers of the Italian Navy.

Italian Navy Aviation

The Italian Navy Aviation (Aviazione Navale) is the naval air component of the Italian Navy. Composed of around 2000 men and women and 69 aircraft and helicopters, the naval aviation represents a top niche and an enabler for the air-naval instrument.

Italian Navy ranks

The rank insignia of the Italian Navy are worn on epaulettes of shirts and white jackets, and on sleeves for navy jackets and mantels.

Italian aircraft carrier Cavour

Cavour (Italian: portaerei Cavour) is an Italian aircraft carrier launched in 2004. It is the flagship of the Italian Navy.

Italian aircraft carrier Giuseppe Garibaldi

Giuseppe Garibaldi is an Italian aircraft carrier, the first through deck aviation ship ever built for the Italian Navy, and the first Italian ship built to operate fixed-wing aircraft. She is equipped with short take-off and vertical landing aircraft (STOVL) aircraft and helicopters. Giuseppe Garibaldi was involved in combat air operations off Somalia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya.

Italian cruiser Vittorio Veneto

Vittorio Veneto is a helicopter cruiser that served with the Italian Navy. Originally intended to be a class of two ships specifically designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), only Vittorio Veneto entered into service in 1969, its sister ship Italia being cancelled. Vittorio Veneto was decommissioned in 2003. This ship has the same general layout as the smaller Andrea Doria-class helicopter cruisers, but with two elevators in the flight deck and the hangar below, rather than with the hangar as part of the superstructure. It was named for the decisive Battle of Vittorio Veneto which ended World War I on the Italian front.

Italian training ship Amerigo Vespucci

The Amerigo Vespucci is a tall ship of the Italian Navy (Marina Militare) named after the explorer Amerigo Vespucci. Its home port is La Spezia, Italy, and it is in use as a school ship.

Italian training ship Corsaro II

Corsaro II is a yawl, active as a sail training vessel for the Italian Navy

Italian training ship Ebe

Ebe is a former training ship of the Italian Navy. Initially a merchant vessel named San Giorgio, she was acquired by the Navy and used to train non-commissioned officers between 1952 to 1958. Since 1963 she has been preserved and exhibited at the Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci in Milan.

Italian training ship Palinuro

Palinuro is a three-masted, iron-hulled barquentine, active as sail training vessel for the Italian Navy.

Palinuro is named after Palinurus the famous helmsman of Aeneas's ship (after the fall of Troy the defeated Trojans detoured the Mediterranean). Palinurus is seen as a prototype of an experienced navigator or guide.

Maestrale-class frigate

The Maestrale class is a class of frigates of the Italian Navy. The class is composed of eight vessels, all of which were built by Fincantieri S.p. A, Riva Trigoso, except for Grecale, which was built by Fincantieri S.p.A. – Muggiano, La Spezia.

The Maestrale-class frigates were primarily designed for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), however the ships are highly flexible so they are also capable of anti-air and anti-surface operations. Ships of this class have been widely used in various international missions, either under NATO or UN flag, and during normal operations of the Italian Navy.

The first of these ships entered in service in early 1982. The rest of the fleet was launched over the next three years. The ships of the Maestrale class will be replaced by the Bergamini class.

Minerva-class corvette

The Minerva class is a series of corvettes of the Italian Navy. They were built in two batches of four units during the 1980s and 1990s. The ships have fairly good speed and armament, including a 76 mm general-purpose gun, but, due to their emphasis on anti-submarine warfare, they lack anti-ship missile capabilities. These units are designed to operate in coastal areas. Their main missions include sea policing, patrol, fisheries protection, and naval commando training.

Regia Marina

The Regia Marina (pronounced [ˈrɛːdʒa maˈriːna]; Italian for "Royal Navy") was the navy of the Kingdom of Italy (Regno d'Italia) from 1861 to 1946. In 1946, with the birth of the Italian Republic (Repubblica Italiana), the Regia Marina changed its name to Marina Militare ("Military Navy").

Sail training vessel Stella Polare (A 5313)

Stella Polare (A 5313) is a yawl, active as a sails training vessel for the Italian Navy (Marina Militare).

San Giorgio-class amphibious transport dock

The San Giorgio class is an amphibious assault ship, a type of helicopter carrier, of the Italian Navy. These ships can carry a battalion of troops, and up to 36 armored vehicles. The stern floodable dock can accommodate three landing craft. The ships are based at the Brindisi naval base on the Adriatic coast.

San Giorgio and San Marco have been extensively modified into landing helicopter docks. They accommodate a full-length flight deck with four landing spots. San Giusto, the third vessel, has not been modified since construction, however featured an improved design, and is normally employed as a training ship.

Submarine rescue ship

A submarine rescue ship serves as a surface support ship for submarine rescue and deep-sea salvage operations. Methods employed are the McCann Rescue Chamber, Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicles (DSRV's) and deep sea diving operations.

Italy Italian Navy
Fleet Command
History and traditions
Maritime forces
Land forces maritime component
Air forces maritime component
Ship classes of the Italian Navy
Aircraft carriers
Amphibious transport docks
Destroyers and frigates
Corvettes and patrol boats
Auxiliary ships
Training ships
Floating dry docks
Future ships
Current navies in Europe
Sovereign states


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