Vehicle registration plates of Italy

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Present Italian car number plates have black characters on a rectangular white background, with small blue side-fields on the right and left (see European vehicle registration plates). The current numbering scheme, in use from 1994, is unrelated to the geographical provenance of the car. Italian plates are printed by the state.

History[edit]

1903-1905[edit]

The very first Italian number plates gave the unabbreviated name of the place of origin, followed by a number, as GENOVA 83.

1905-1927[edit]

Plate was white. The registration number was a numeric code (in red), different for each province, and a progressive number, unique for that province (in black). E.g. 63 – 2993, where 63 is the code for Turin.

1927-1976[edit]

1948-1976 Italian vehicle licence plate from Livorno.

Plate was black with white digits. Rear plate was 27.5 × 20 cm (since 1951), front plate was 26.2 × 5.7 cm. Note that single line rear registration plates (similar to the ones used by other European countries) will not be available until 1976. The registration number was the provincial designator, which is a two-letter code (exception: Rome's code is Roma), and a progressive code, unique for that province, up to 6 characters long.

From 1927 to 1932, the progressive code was before the provincial designator. Then, the progressive code was before the provincial designator in front plates and after it in rear plates.[1]

The progressive code for the first 999999 cars of the provinces was just a progressive number, not filled with initial zeroes; in the rear plate the last four digits are in the second row and the first ones (when present) in the first row. For cars from 1000000, it was A00000-A99999, B00000-B99999 etc. Possible letters were, in this order, A B D E F G H K L M N P R S T U V Z X Y W. After that, it was 00000A-99999A, 00000D-99999D etc. Possible letters were, in this order, A D E F G H L M N P R S T V W X Y Z; then, the letter was moved to the second position, and then to third (same range as in second position).

1976-1985[edit]

1976-1985 front and rear Italian vehicle licence plates from Rome.

Front plate was identical as in the period 1927-1976. Rear plate, instead, came in three pieces. One, size 10,7 × 33 cm, black with white digits, contains the progressive code and, very small, the provincial designator. The other two were black with orange letters, and contained the provincial designator. One was 10,7 × 33 cm, the other one was 10,7 × 20 cm. Only one of the latter two was used: for a long plate, the small province code piece is put left of the progressive code, for a roughly square plate, the big province code piece is put above the progressive code.

1985-1994[edit]

1985-1994 Italian vehicle licence plate from Verona.

Plates become white with black digits. Rear plate was identical as in the period 1976-1985. Front plate becomes larger (32.5 × 10.7 cm) and the progressive code on it is moved after the provincial designator, as it was already for rear plates.

1994-present[edit]

1994-1999 Italian vehicle licence plate.

An entirely new numeration system was introduced which omitted any explicit reference to the place of origin. A simple alpha-numeric serial code takes the form AA 999 AA. Here ‘A’ can be any letter of the Latin alphabet except I, O, Q, U and is treated as a base-22 digit; ‘9’ can be any decimal digit. e.g. AK 514 RH, AX 848 LK, BA 924 NS, etc. The three-digit number changes first, then the letters from right to left. So, first plate is AA 000 AA, followed by AA 001 AA...AA 999 AA, then AA 000 AB to AA 999 AZ, then AA 000 BA to AA 999 ZZ, then AB 000 AA to AZ 999 ZZ, then BA 000 AA to ZZ 999 ZZ.

Rear plates are no more in two pieces. Instead, a square plate can be chosen instead of the ordinary long one. If the rear plate is square, the numbering scheme starts from ZA 000 AA.

1999-present Italian vehicle licence plate from Bolzano.

In 1999, the plates were redesigned, starting from the serial number BB 000 HH. The digits are thicker. The last decimal digit is now very close to the third letter. The standard European blue band has been added on the left side, with the European flag motif (12 yellow stars) and the country code I. Another blue band was added, on the right side, bearing a yellow circle with the year of registration.

The two-letter provincial code is optionally present on the right band in capital letters (90% of circulating vehicles bear such code). For the capital city of Rome, the word Roma replaces the two-digit provincial code. Provincial codes are in capital letters except for three cases, where the second letter is expressed in small caps for the provincial codes of the autonomous province of Bolzano/Bozen (Bz), for the autonomous province of Trento (Tn) and for the autonomous region Aosta Valley (Ao), that are surmounted by the local coat of arms.

The reintroduction of the provincial code (although no longer as a compulsory element of the plate) was implemented because the 1994 suppression of the two-letter provincial codes proved extremely unpopular. Unlike before, the provincial code is not part of the registration number, which is the same for the whole nation.

Special plates[edit]

Motorbike plates[edit]

Motorbikes have plates formed by two letters and five digits, starting from AA 00000. For these vehicles the provinces' codes are not used to avoid confusion (for example, the plate after AF 99999 is AH 00000, because AG means Agrigento). Plates size is 177x177 mm (6,96x6,96 inches). Small moped have a different registration system.

Trailer plates[edit]

Trailer plate until 2013.

Car's and truck's trailers had two plates: the trailer's own one was quite small and bore the word "RIMORCHIO" (trailer) and a two letters-five digits code, the other had the same size of vehicles' rear plates and bore the same registation of the prime mover written with black sticks on a retroflective yellow base. From February 2013 new trailer plates have been introduced: they use the same pattern of standard vehicle plates, the numeric scheme is XL 000 LL where "L" is a generic letter, "0" is a digit and "X" is the reserved letter. Mover repetition plates are no longer needed on trailers registered with new plates.

Police plates[edit]

Local police forces had the word "POLIZIA LOCALE" (local police) in blue. They have same pattern as trailer and civilian plates, the scheme is YL 000 LL where "L" is a letter, "0" is a digit and the "Y" is the reserved letter. Unlike civilian plates they don't show up the code. Normal police plates had "POLIZIA" in red and they have numbers instead. Customs police had starts with prefix "GdiF" in red. The serial letters is also red and had three serial numbers in black. [2]

Diplomatic plates[edit]

Diplomatic plates had blue letters. The consular plates had "CC" and four numbers, while "CD" had three. Scheme is CC 0000 AA or CD 000 AA. The "AA" is a country code while "0" is a digit.

Military plates[edit]

Military plates had prefixes EI for Army and MM for Navy (they are all red), the trailers had "RIMORCHIO" in it. There is a code same as mentioned before, but it is small and it is black. The scheme is EI LL 000. While "EI" is a prefix, while "LL" is a letter and "0" is a digit. Between the letter and number is a green dot.

Dealer plates[edit]

Had the two letters and then four numbers. Between letters and numbers had the letter "P" in green.

Red Cross plates[edit]

Had the prefix "CRI" in red, the style is CRI L0000,while "L" is a letter while "0" is a number. Between "CRI" and "L" is a Red Cross sign.

Firefighters[edit]

Had the prefix "VF" in red. Unlike Port Authority plates they doesn't have text in the bottom.

Port Authority plates[edit]

Had the prefix "CP" in red. They have text "GUARDIA COSTIERA" in bottom.

Temporary plates[edit]

Like normal plates, but have a expiration year band in the top of the plate.

Agricultural plates[edit]

Trailers had the text "RIM AGR." The style is same as the civilian plates but the serial letters are only one instead of two. The background of this plate is yellow in color.

State Forestry Corps plates[edit]

These plates had the prefix "CF" in red. The format is CF L00 AA, "CF" is a prefix, then "L" is a letter, two numbers and then "AA" suffix which is unknown, for example "CA", in red.

Road Machinery plates[edit]

The style of these plates is LL LL000. These plates are colored red in yellow.

Civil Defense plates[edit]

These plates had the prefix "PC" in red. The style is PC AA 00L, The "PC" is the prefix, while "AA" is maybe the branch of force (in the red color), while "0" and "L" is a serial.

Carabinieri plates[edit]

These plates had the prefix "CC" in red. The style is CC LL 000 while "CC" is a prefix, while "LL" is a letter while "0" is a digit.

Lists of provincial designators[edit]

List of provincial designators on present day[edit]

Code Province Code Province Code Province Code Province Code Province
AG Agrigento AL Alessandria AN Ancona AO Aosta AP Ascoli Piceno
AQ L'Aquila AR Arezzo AT Asti AV Avellino BA Bari
BG Bergamo BI Biella BL Belluno BN Benevento BO Bologna
BR Brindisi BS Brescia BT Barletta-Andria-Trani BZ Bolzano/Bozen CA Cagliari
CB Campobasso CE Caserta CH Chieti CI Carbonia-Iglesias CL Caltanissetta
CN Cuneo CO Como CR Cremona CS Cosenza CT Catania
CZ Catanzaro EN Enna FC Forlì-Cesena FE Ferrara FG Foggia
FI Florence (Firenze) FM Fermo FR Frosinone GE Genoa (Genova) GO Gorizia
GR Grosseto IM Imperia IS Isernia KR Crotone LC Lecco
LE Lecce LI Leghorn (Livorno) LO Lodi LT Latina LU Lucca
MB Monza and Brianza MC Macerata ME Messina MI Milan (Milano) MN Mantua (Mantova)
MO Modena MS Massa-Carrara MT Matera NA Naples (Napoli) NO Novara
NU Nuoro OG Ogliastra OR Oristano OT Olbia-Tempio PA Palermo
PC Piacenza PD Padua (Padova) PE Pescara PG Perugia PI Pisa
PN Pordenone PO Prato PR Parma PT Pistoia PU Pesaro-Urbino
PV Pavia PZ Potenza RA Ravenna RC Reggio Calabria RE Reggio Emilia
RG Ragusa RI Rieti RN Rimini RO Rovigo Roma Rome (Roma)
SA Salerno SI Siena SO Sondrio SP La Spezia SR Syracuse (Siracusa)
SS Sassari SV Savona TA Taranto TE Teramo TN Trent (Trento)
TO Turin (Torino) TP Trapani TR Terni TS Trieste TV Treviso
UD Udine VA Varese VB Verbania VC Vercelli VE Venice (Venezia)
VI Vicenza VR Verona VS Medio Campidano VT Viterbo VV Vibo Valentia

These abbreviations for the names of provinces are extensively used in contexts other than vehicle registration. For example, "Trino (VC)", to indicate a place called Trino in the province of Vercelli, could appear in a postal address or in a guide book. The abbreviations even count as valid words in Scarabeo, the Italian version of the board game Scrabble. Sometimes, the code RM is used instead of Roma for the province of Rome, in postal addresses or documents.

Sardinia formed four new provinces in its territory in 2001, but this act was recognized by national authorities only in 2008; these provinces gained the right to put their codes on cars, which are VS for the Province of Medio Campidano (from its capital cities Villacidro and Sanluri), CI for the Province of Carbonia-Iglesias, OG for the Province of Ogliastra and OT for the Province of Olbia-Tempio.[3]

List of provincial designators from 1905 to 1927[edit]

Number Province Number Province Number Province Number Province
1 Alessandria 2 Ancona 3 L'Aquila 4 Arezzo
5 Ascoli Piceno 6 Avellino 7 Bari 8 Belluno
9 Benevento 10 Bergamo 11 Bologna 12 Brescia
13 Cagliari 14 Caltanissetta 15 Campobasso 16 Caserta
17 Catania 18 Catanzaro 19 Chieti 20 Como
21 Cosenza 22 Cremona 23 Cuneo 24 Ferrara
25 Florence (Firenze) 26 Foggia 27 Forlì 28 Genoa (Genova)
29 Agrigento 30 Grosseto 31 Lecce 32 Leghorn (Livorno)
33 Lucca 34 Macerata 35 Mantua (Mantova) 36 Massa and Carrara
37 Messina 38 Milan (Milano) 39 Modena 40 Naples (Napoli)
41 Novara 42 Padua (Padova) 43 Palermo 44 Parma
45 Pavia 46 Perugia 47 Pesaro 48 Piacenza
49 Pisa 50 Imperia 51 Potenza 52 Ravenna
53 Reggio di Calabria 54 Reggio nell'Emilia 55 Rome (Roma) 56 Rovigo
57 Salerno 58 Sassari 59 Siena 60 Syracuse (Siracusa)
61 Sondrio 62 Teramo 63 Turin (Torino) 64 Trapani
65 Treviso 66 Udine 67 Venice (Venezia) 68 Verona
69 Vicenza 70 Pola 71 La Spezia 72 Taranto
73 Trent (Trento) 74 Trieste 75 Zara 76 Fiume

List of abandoned provincial designators (post-1927)[edit]

Code Province Reason Years
AU Apuania Province renamed back to Massa-Carrara. 1939-1949
CG Castrogiovanni City renamed to Enna. 1927-1928
CU Cuneo Code changed to CN. 1927-1928
FU Fiume Code changed to FM. 1927-1930
FM Fiume City no longer in Italy. 1930-1945
FO Forlì Province renamed to Forlì-Cesena (FC). 1927-1994
GI Girgenti City renamed to Agrigento. 1927-1928
LB Lubiana City no longer in Italy. 1941-1945
PL Pola City no longer in Italy. 1927-1945
PU Perugia Code changed to PG. 1927-1933
PS Pesaro Province renamed to Pesaro and Urbino. 1927-1994
ZA Zara City no longer in Italy. 1927-1945

References[edit]

  1. ^ The use of alphabetical codes for number plates started in Italy on 28 February 1927, as prescribed by the Communication n. 3361 from Minister of Public Works (from R.D.I. n.314 13.3.1927 and the law n.2730 29.12.1927) which inaugurated a new highway code.
  2. ^ Italy's page on Worldlicenseplates.com
  3. ^ "Codice della strada - Le Nuove Sigle Provinciali Sarde" (in Italian). Quattroruote. 26 May 2008. 

External links[edit]

  • Plates in Rome provides detailed coverage of Italian number plates from 1903 onwards.