1 Logos and restyling over time

The Arma dei Carabinieri (first “Corps of the Royal Carabinieri” and then “Arma dei Carabinieri Reali”) is one of the Italian police forces with general competence and in permanent public security service. The Corps was created during the Restoration by King Vittorio Emanuele I of Savoy upon his return to Turin in 1814. From a military point of view it was a light infantry corps with a cavalry component; the first coat of arms was that of the Savoy family, that is a red shield with a white cross, surmounted by the crown. In 1833, by decree of King Charles Albert of Savoy, the colors of the plume were adopted, namely scarlet and blue. In 1924, during the Fascist period, the Savoyard shield itself was accompanied by fasces.

In 1935 the coat of arms became a red shield with a silver cross, accompanied in the cantons by both a silver hand holding a green snake and a gold explosive grenade loaded with the initials of King Vittorio Emanuele; in the upper part of the shield was positioned the eagle of the Savoy on a blue field. The shield was surmounted by the Royal Crown and placed on two lictor beams with the ax on the outside; under a blue scroll with the motto “In the centuries faithful”.

The change of the constitutional form of 1946 also involved the change of the coat of arms; in 1952 it consisted of a golden lion’s paw that holds a snake (on a blue background) while on a red background there was an uprooted silver oak. Behind the shield there were two carbines, four sabers and many fluttering ribbons; in the upper part stood the flaming grenade.

In 1977, the coat of arms had to be modified to include the new decorations in the meantime granted to the Carabinieri, a new elaboration was promoted, especially for the part relating to the symbols of the decorations, based on a design by Francesco Paolo Volta; the monogram of the Italian Republic appeared on the grenade.

In 1989 the Carabinieri took the rank of “armed force” and therefore the need arose to adapt the coat of arms to the new status by recovering all the previous elements, grafted into a rigorous heraldic path and a more harmonious graphic model. The coat of arms was slightly modified and essentialized: the ornaments on the sides of the shield were reduced and the turreted gold crown appeared.

In 2002 the heraldic coat of arms was modified with the red and blue shield which contains some symbols: a silver hand that tames a green snake, a symbol of caution and warrior spirit. Then a burning gold grenade, also present on the uniforms, as a symbol of the victorious artillery. Then a golden lion, a symbol of good government, in front of an oak with acorns, a symbol of military glory.

In addition to the evolution of the heraldic coat of arms, the visual identity of the Carabinieri is highly recognizable thanks to other distinctive elements: the blue cars with white capital letters on the sides, the explosive grenade on the cap with the “RI” monogram, the black trousers with the red sash, the red and blue plume of the high uniform, the uniform of the Corazzieri guarding the President of the Republic. A curiosity: until 1971 the liveries of the cars were military green; in 1969 chromatic experiments were carried out, being able to choose the new livery between blue and white. Dark blue was chosen because it was considered the most appropriate color for the urban and extra-urban operating context in order to make the mobile unit more easily identifiable.