Italian honorifics

These are some of the honorifics used in Italy.


As part of the republican constitution that became effective in Italy on 1 January 1948, titles of nobility ceased to be recognized in law (although they were not, strictly, abolished or banned), and the organ of state which had regulated them, the Consulta Araldica, was eliminated.[1] However the so-called predicati territorial or manorial designations that were often connected to a noble title by use of a nobiliary particle such as di, da, della, dei, could be resumed as part of the legal surname upon judicial approval for persons who possessed it prior to 28 October 1922 (date of Italian fascism's accession to power).[2] In practice, this meant that, e.g., "John Doe, Duke of Somewhere" or "Princess Jane of Kingdom" might become "John Doe di Somewhere" or "Jane della Kingdom", respectively. Nonetheless, titles are often still used unofficially in villages, private clubs and some social sets. Signore and Signora (formerly signifying landed nobility) are translations of "Lord" and "Lady", used also in the military hierarchy and for persons in official positions or for members of a society's elite. A few titles are also common in diminutive form as terms of affection for young people (e.g. Principino for "Princekin" or Contessina for "the Little Countess").

Use of the prefix "Don" as a style for certain persons of distinction spread to the Kingdom of Naples and Sicily during the Spanish domination of southern Italy in the 16th Century. Officially, it was the style to address a noble (as distinct from a reigning) prince (principe) or duke (duca), and their children and agnatic descendants. Any Italian monarch (as in Spain) might informally be addressed or referred to with this prefix, for example King Carlos III of Spain was widely known in his Neapolitan realm as "Don Carlo". Genealogical databases and dynastic works still reserve the title for this class of noble by tradition, although it is no longer a right under Italian law. In practice, especially in the countryside, Don was also used as an honorific title for untitled noblemen, such as knights. The feminine is "Donna".

State honorifics

The President of the Republic can give “honours of the Republic”. These are:

In addition, the orders of chivalry of the Royal House of Savoy and other Italian dynasties confer honorifics (Cavaliere and Dama), as do the Holy See and the Order of Malta. Oddly, the Italian Republic bestows the rank of knight but not that of dame, though ladies may be decorated with knightly rank.

State rules


Academic degrees

Roman Catholic Church hierarchy

Besides normal titles, there are some words that are peculiar to the Catholic Church, being found in European countries of catholic tradition:

Military hierarchy

Style for letters

Excluding special titles or antique versions, in Italy that is the manner of address in letters:

See also


  1. "Governo Italiano". La Costituzione della Repubblica Italiana: Disposizioni Transitorie e Finali §XIV (in Italian). Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri. Retrieved 2006-12-04. I titoli nobiliari non sono riconosciuti. I predicati di quelli esistenti prima del 28 ottobre 1922 valgono come parte del nome. l'Ordine mauriziano è conservato come ente ospedaliero e funziona nei modi stabiliti dalla legge. La legge regola la soppressione della Consulta araldica.
  2. 1 2 "Regalis". Italian Titles of Nobility. Louis Mendola. Retrieved 2006-12-04.

External links

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