fourteenth transitory and final disposition of the current Constitution
of the Republic of Italy did not intend to abolish noble titles, or even
to forbid their use (Noble titles are not recognised. The predicates
of those existing prior to 28 October 1922 are applicable as part of the
It simply does not recognise them, but the fact of not admitting them
implies nothing more than the republican disinterest in the aforementioned
titles – which are a private and historic heritage – since
the Constituent Assembly could not deprive citizens of a natural right:
in short, according to the Constitution, the State does not care whether
someone has a noble title, be it old or new, nor does it forbid him to
style himself with it or use it in public and private relations, nor does
it consider the abuse of noble titles a crime, as the noble title has
simply lost the particular protection guaranteed by the law.
The magistracy is therefore the only Authority today which, according
to the terms of the fourteenth transitory and final disposition of the
Constitution of the Republic, has the task and the power to ascertain
the legal existence of a predicate granted prior to 1922 in order to declare
their being due as part of the surname: this in so far as regards the
protection of the most jealous and delicate rights of the human person,
the right to the name.
The Heraldic Court, through its Commissions, examines, ascertains and
prepares documentation for the purpose of expressing opinions pro
veritate in matters of heraldry, nobility and chivalry, also for
the respective jurisdictional ascertainment carried out by the International
Court of Arbitration and by the ordinary magistracy,
However, the activity of the Heraldic Court is not revealed only in a
premonitory and investigative function for the purposes of legally changing
a surname, adding a surname or, as part of a surname, a predicate (this
procedure is the competence of the Ministry of the Interior).
In fact, when these accurate researches and verifications have allowed
indisputable probative elements to be found, a deed of indemnity may be
proposed before a Sovereign House, and, in this particular case, the Heraldic
Court exerts all its activity through and examination and a process of
nobility for the recognition of the truthfulness of qualifications, titles,
coats of arms, predicates, etc.; in fact, the decree of a sovereign claimant
to the throne may sometimes be necessary in order to legitimate the right
to a noble heritage.
The accurate control of the coat of arms, for example, complies with
a further need for guarantee, so that it can stand up to possible opposition
by third parties. The reason is that the “own” coat of arms
identifies and personifies that particular family which bears a certain
surname, whereas the “other” coat of arms is the one that
belongs to an aggregation other than one’s own.
We do not believe that the change of the institutional regime can “cancel”
history, and not still attach today an undeniable historic importance
to titles of nobility and, therefore of chivalry; whatever opinion one
may have on the subject, one thing that is certain is that, faced with
the phenomenon of the real existence of these ideas and suggestions, the
law cannot disregard them but must study and regulate any effects and
friction that may arise therefrom.
So, if a wise portion of modern society maintains the just respect for
noble traditions and appreciates their high dignity, also the remaining
part – which shows disregard and even scorn for the old forms of
life – is not completely immune from the allure of the title and
the prestige it brings.
This is the reason why our learned researchers apply themselves to the
drafting of the above-mentioned conscientious and confirmed genealogical,
historic, noble and chivalrous reports, or even just curricular reports,
which demonstrate and confirm the right of the parties to what they claim,
since, even today, by judicial ascertainment, it is still possible to
have the noble and/or chivalrous status declared with a sentence of first
instance pronounced by the International Court of Arbitration, approved
by the presiding judge of an ordinary court, resulting in the recognition
of the claimant’s noble status, which is then published
in the Official Gazette of the Region.
This milestone is an indisputable truth, doing justice to those who are
entitled by law to a noble and/or chivalrous title, but also and above
all to both old and new nobility.