- Vehicle registration plates of Italy
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.
The very first Italian number plates gave the unabbreviated name of the place of origin, followed by a number, as GENOVA 83.
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.
Plate was black with white digits. Rear plate was 25 x 17.5 cm, front plate was 26.2 x 5.7 cm. The registration number was the provincial designator, which is a two-letter code (exception: Rome's code is Roma, Roma for 2- or 3-wheel vehicles), 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.
The progressive code for the first 999999 cars of the provinces was just a progressive number, sometimes filled with initial zeroes (the rules for that changed during the years).For cars from 1000000, it was A00000-A99999, B00000-B99999 etc. Possible letters were, in this order, ABDEFGHJKLMNPRSTUVZXYW. After that, it was 00000A-99999A, 00000D-99999D etc. Possible letters were, in this order, ADEFGHJLMNPRSTVWXYZ. Then, the letter was moved to the second position, then to third (same range as in last position).
Front plate was identical as in the period 1927-1976. Rear plate, instead, came in three pieces. One, size 10,7x33 cm, black with white digits, contains the progressive code and, very small, the provincial designator (RM only for Rome). The other two were black with orange letters, and contained the provincial designator. One was 10,7x33 cm, the other one was 10,7x20 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.
Rome was (and is) the only city in the world where vehicle registration plates bear the full name of the city.
Plates become white with black digits. Front plate becomes larger (32.5 x 10.7 cm) and the progressive code on it is moved after the provincial designator, as it was already for rear plates.
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
Roman alphabetexcept I, O, Q, U and is treated as a base-22 digit; ‘9’ can be any decimal digit. e.g. AX 848 LK. 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 etc.
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, the plates were redesigned. 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 flagmotif (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 (95% 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.
Lists of provincial designators
List of provincial designators from 1927 until present day
abbreviations for the names of provinces are extensively used in contexts other than vehicle registration. For example, "Trino (VC)", to indicate a place called Trinoin the province of Vercelli, could appear in a postal addressor 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.
List of abandoned provincial designators (post-1927)
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 FM Fiume city no longer in Italy 1930-1945 FU Fiume code changed to FM 1927-1930 GI Girgenti city renamed to Agrigento 1927-1928 PL Pola city no longer in Italy 1927-1945 PU Perugia code changed to PG 1927-1933 ZA Zara city no longer in Italy 1927-1945 PS Pesaro Province renamed to Pesaro and Urbino 1927-1994 FO Forlì Province renamed to Forlì-Cesena (FC) 1927-1994
List of provincial designators from 1905 to 1927
#Note|Note1927The use of alphabetical codes for number plates started in Italy on
28 February 1927, as prescribed by the Circolare del Ministero dei Lavori Pubblici n. 3361 (from R.D.I. 13.3.1927 n.314 and the law 29.12.1927 n.2730) which inaugurated a new highway code.
* [http://www.targheitaliane.it/ Plates in Rome] provides detailed coverage of Italian number plates from 1903 onwards.
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