Italian Navy
Marina Militare
Coat of arms of the Italian Navy, displaying the coats of arms of former Italian maritime republics (clockwise from top left: Venice, Genoa, Pisa and Amalfi)
Founded1861 as Regia Marina (official)
1946 as Marina Militare
Country Italy
RoleNaval warfare
Size30,923 personnel
184 vessels (incl. minor auxiliaries)
70 aircraft[1]
Part ofItalian Armed Forces
Motto(s)Italian: Patria e Onore
"Fatherland and Honour"
MarchLa Ritirata (ritirata is the return of soldiers to their barrack, or sailors to their ship after a leave) by Tommaso Mario
Anniversaries10 June – 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
Chief of Staff of the Italian Navyammiraglio di squadra
Enrico Credendino
Deputy Chief of Naval Staffammiraglio di squadra
Claudio Gaudiosi

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]


Before and during World War II

Main article: Regia Marina

The Regia Marina was formed on 17 March 1861, after the proclamation of the Kingdom of Italy.[5] The Italian Navy assumed its present name after the Italian monarchy was abolished following a popular referendum held on 2 June 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 8 September 1943, and the subsequent cooperation agreement on 23 September 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:

The peace treaty

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

Aircraft carrier Aquila just before being scrapped in La Spezia, 1951

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:

The entry into NATO

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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.

The carrier Cavour in the Gulf of Oman, 2013

With the new elections in 1946, the Kingdom of Italy became a republic, and the Regia Marina took the name of Marina Militare (lit.'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 4 April 1949, Italy joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (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.

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 on 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

The ensign of the Italian Navy is the flag of Italy bearing the coat of arms of the Italian Navy. The shield's quarters refer to the four Medieval Italian Maritime Republics:

The coat of arms is surmounted by a golden crown, which distinguishes military vessels from those of the merchant navy.

The crown, corona rostrata, was proposed in 1939 as a conjectural link to the Roman navy by Admiral Domenico Cavagnari, then a member of the Chamber of Fasces and Corporations in the Fascist government. In the proposal, Adm. Cavagnari wrote that "in order to recall the common origin [of the Navy] from the Roman mariners, 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


Main article: Structure of the Italian Navy

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.[6]

Position Italian title Rank Incumbent
Chief of Staff of the Navy Capo di Stato Maggiore della Marina Admiral Enrico Credendino
Deputy Chief of Staff of the Navy Sottocapo di Stato Maggiore della Marina Vice Admiral Giuseppe Berutti Bergotto[7]
Commander in Chief Naval Fleet Comandante in Capo della Squadra Navale (CINCNAV) Vice Admiral Aurelio De Carolis
Commander Schools Command Comandante Scuole (MARICOMSCUOLE) Vice Admiral Antonio Natale[8]
Commander Logistics Command Comandante Logistico (MARICOMLOG) Vice Admiral Salvatore Vitiello[9]
Commander Maritime Command North
Comandante del Comando Marittimo Nord (MARINANORD) Rear Admiral Giorgio Lazio[10]
Commander Maritime Command South
Comandante del Comando Marittimo Sud (MARINASUD) Rear Admiral Eduardo Serra[11][12]
Commander Maritime Command Sicily
Comandante del Comando Marittimo Sicilia (MARISICILIA) Rear Admiral Nicola De Felice[13]
Commander Maritime Command Rome
Comandante del Comando Marittimo Capitale (MARICAPITALE) Rear Admiral
Raiders and Divers Grouping Comandante Raggruppamento Subacquei ed Incursori (COMSUBIN) Rear Admiral Paolo Pezzuti

Coast Guard

The Corps of the Port Captaincies – Coast Guard (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, the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, as well as the Ministry of Defence. In Italy, it is commonly known as simply the Guardia costiera or Capitaneria di Porto. The Coast Guard has approximately 11,000 staff. [14]


The Italian Navy is divided into six corps (by precedence):


Command of the Italian Fleet (ships, submarines and amphibious forces) and Naval aviation[15] falls under the Commander in Chief Naval Fleet.


Ships and submarines

Main articles: List of active Italian Navy ships and List of decommissioned ships of the Italian Navy

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, 11 frigates and 8 attack submarines. Patrol and littoral warfare units include: 10 offshore patrol vessels, 10 mine countermeasure vessels, 4 coastal patrol boats, and a varied fleet of auxiliary ships are also in service.[16]

The flagship of the fleet is the carrier Cavour.


Main article: List of active Italian military aircraft § Navy

See also: Italian Navy Aviation

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


The 2014 Naval Act allocated €5.4 billion for the following vessels:[18]

The 2017 budget allocated €12.8 billion (2017–2032 years) for the following ships:

The 2018 budget allocated about €1 billion for:[22]

The "Documento Programmatico Pluriennale 2021–2023" funds the following ships:[25]


For the Naval Aviation the Navy plans to expand or replace the following assets:[19]

For the San Marco Marine Brigade, the Navy plans to acquire following assets:[19]

Rank structure

Main article: Italian Navy ranks

Commissioned officer ranks

The rank insignia of commissioned officers.

NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
 Italian Navy[29][30][31]

Ammiraglio Ammiraglio di squadra con incarichi speciali Ammiraglio di squadra Ammiraglio di divisione Contrammiraglio Capitano di vascello Capitano di fregata Capitano di corvetta Tenente di vascello Sottotenente di vascello Guardiamarina Aspirante guardiamarina

Other ranks

The rank insignia of non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel.

NATO code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
 Italian Navy[32][33]
Sottocapo di Prima Classe Scelto q.s. Sottocapo di Prima Classe Scelto Sottocapo di Prima Classe Sottocapo di seconda Classe Sottocapo di terza Classe
No insignia
Primo luogotenente q.s.[a] Luogotenente Primo maresciallo Capo di prima classe Capo di seconda classe Capo di terza classe Secondo capo scelto q.s. Secondo capo scelto Secondo capo Sergente Sottocapo Comune di prima classe Comune di seconda classe

See also


  1. ^ q.s. - (qualifica speciale - special rank)


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  15. ^ "The Present Aviation – Marina Militare". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
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  17. ^ a b "New ships, submarines and weapon systems for Italian Navy". November 23, 2020.
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  19. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Linee di indirizzo strategico 2019–2034" (PDF). Marina Militare. Stato Maggiore della Marina. Retrieved November 11, 2019.
  20. ^ "Fincantieri – Logistic Support Ships". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
  21. ^ "Fincantieri – Hydrographic Survey Vessel". Retrieved May 14, 2018.
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  30. ^ "Ufficiali Superiori". (in Italian). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
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  33. ^ "Graduati e Comuni". (in Italian). Ministry of Defence. Retrieved September 26, 2021.