The stendardo presidenziale italiano (Italian presidential banner) is flown during military events and other ceremonies to signal the presence of the Capo dello Stato (Head of State) and therefore accompanies the president of Italy in all his travels. It is raised on cars, ships, and airplanes whenever the Italian president is on board, as well as outside municipal offices when the head of state is visiting a city and inside the room where he works officially.
The latest presidential standard design, which takes its cues from the flag of the Italian Republic of 1802-1805, is intended to tie together more closely the insignia of the head of state to the Italian national flag (il Tricolore), both as a specific historical reference to the Risorgimento as well as a symbol of national unity. Its square shape and blue edging symbolize the armed forces, of which the President of the Republic is the head. The original banner is maintained by the office of the Comandante del Reggimento Corazzieri.
History of the Italian Presidential Banner
After the Italian Republic was formed immediately after World War II, the national flag was provisionally adopted. Only in 1965, at the instigation of the Ministero della Difesa, did planning began for the adoption of a specific banner for the head of state. The most obvious design—the tricolor with the emblema della Repubblica Italiana in the center—was never considered to avoid confusion with the banner of the President of Mexico, which was also the national flag of that country.
Among the various versions offered, the then President Giuseppe Saragat chose one with a blue background overlaid with the national symbol of Italy in gold. Both colors were part of the Italian military tradition, symbolizing leadership and valor.
The Saragat version would last until 1990, when President Francesco Cossiga adopted a new banner, consisting of the Italian national flag bordered in blue, and introduced regulations governing its use that multiplied its utilization in ceremonies and in public buildings.
The 1990 version lasted only two years. At the beginning of his term, in fact, President Oscar Luigi Scalfaro reinstated the 1965 standard, but reduced the size of the emblem of the Republic. This style would remain in use until November 4, 2000, when the current design was introduced by President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.