Italian Army ranks

The Italian Army ranks are the ranks used by the Italian Army and are worn on epaulettes of shirts. The Army of Italy contains levels of ranks showing both their officers' status and seniority as dedicated members of the Italian militia. Although altered throughout history, the current ranks stand as the lowest rank being "soldato semplice" and the highest rank being "generale". There are a total of 32 ranks within 7 categories. These categories include: temporary service volunteers, permanent service volunteers, sergeants, marshals, junior officers, senior officers, and generals.[1]

In order to clearly show an officer's rank as a form of identification and authority, insignia patches are worn by all members of the Italian army. Insignia patches are a sort of label worn on the epaulets of officers that sport different markings, such as stripes and stars, to show how highly ranked an individual is. These patches display a soldier's rank and position to their fellow officers as well as their identity on the battlefield. In each ranking category of officer, there is a trend in the symbols shown on their insignia patches. Each rank an individual rises he gains more detailed and recognizable symbols, these new symbols are most often an additional star or stripe added per higher rank achieved.[2]


Italian Army officers used to wear the ranks on the sleeve, like naval officers. Since 1946, insignia were changed in order to align with NATO regulations. In 1973 the system had the following slight change: the wreath was added to the stars for general officers, instead of the silver epaulette; the crown was added to the stars for field officers, instead of a gold band on the edge of the epaulette; the stars began to be placed near the edge of the epaulette instead of in the center. These changes were mostly intended to make insignia more easily recognizable on the field uniform.


The chart below represents the Italian Army rank insignia used on the slip-on of winter service uniforms. The color of the uniforms is khaki.[3]

Officers who are assigned to a position acting in a higher rank than their own wear the insignia of the higher rank but the highest star of the insignia is trimmed in red enamel. Similarly, an officer temporarily assigned to a position attaining a higher rank in the absence of the incumbent officer, wear the star in bronze colour.

As can be seen, the Italian rank system has a large number of junior NCO ranks. Several ranks (which are variations on corporal) have a "chosen" version of the rank, "chosen" having the same sense of "leading", as in the historic British Army appointment of "chosen man" (now called lance-corporal).


NATO codeOF-10OF-9OF-8OF-7OF-6OF-5OF-4OF-3OF-2OF-1OF(D)Student officer
Generals Senior officers Junior officers
No equivalent
(Chief of Defense Staff only)
Generale di Corpo d'Armata con Incarichi Speciali
(Chief of Army General Staff)
Generale di Corpo d'Armata
(Tenente Generale)
Generale di Divisione
(Maggior Generale)
Generale di Brigata
(Brigadier Generale)
Colonnello Tenente Colonnello Maggiore Primo capitano Capitano Tenente Sottotenente Allievo Ufficiale
Translation General Corps General with special tasks Corps general Divisional general Brigadier general Colonel Lieutenant colonel Major First captain Captain Lieutenant Second lieutenant
AbbreviationGen.Gen.CSMD Gen.CSMEGen.C.A.Gen.D.Gen.B.Col.Ten.Col.Magg.Pr.CapCap.Ten.S.Ten.
Pay gradeO-11O-10O-9O-8O-7O-6O-5O-4O-3O-2O-1
  • Before 1947 generale d'armata rather than generale was the title of a four star general.
  • The chief of the Italian Army is a generale di corpo d'armata con incarichi speciali (special duties) NATO rank OF-9. The insignia has four stars with the higher star has a red enamel.


Sub-officers Volunteer ratings Enlisted
Marshals Sergeants Permanent service volunteers Temporary service volunteers
Luogotenente Primo Maresciallo Maresciallo Capo Maresciallo Ordinario Maresciallo Sergente Maggiore Capo Sergente Maggiore Sergente Caporale maggiore capo scelto Caporale maggiore capo Caporale maggiore scelto Primo caporale maggiore Caporal Maggiore Caporale Soldato
Translation Sub-lieutenant First marshal Chief marshal Ordinary marshal Marshal Chief sergeant major Sergeant major Sergeant Senior Chief Corporal-Major Chief Corporal-Major Senior Corporal-Major First Corporal-Major Corporal-Major Corporal Private
AbbreviationLgt.1° Mar.Mar. Ca.Mar. Ord.Mar.Serg. Magg. Ca.Serg.Magg.Serg. CMCS CMC C.le Magg. Sc. 1° C.le Magg. C.le Magg.C.leSold.
Pay gradeE-9E-8E-7E-6E-5E-4E-3E-2E-1

This chart represents the Italian Army enlisted rank insignia with seniority decreasing left-to-right inside a given pay grade. All ranks of sergente or higher are considered as Non Commissioned Officers. Airborne units personnel wear the chevrons on a blue base.

Enlisted ranks introduced in 2018

Other rank insignia
Shoulder board
Italian Primo luogotenente q.s.[4][5] Sergente maggiore capo q.s. Caporale maggiore capo scelto q.s.
English Sub-lieutenant (special class) Chief Sergeant Major
(special class)
Senior Chief Corporal-Major


Enlisted insignia saw no significant changes until 1973 when the chevrons were moved from the sleeve to the epaulette. In 1997 the new ranks from 1°CM to CMCS were created for permanent service enlisted personnel, and the new insignia were created. in the same year, the rank of C.le Sc. was created as top rank for conscript personnel, and the new insignia was created.

Current usage

The rank of caporale is not a command grade and only results in a higher paygrade, and may be attained by conscript personnel. The ranks up to caporal maggiore may be attained by temporary service personnel. Higher ranks may only be attained by permanent service personnel. Sergeants generally have team command tasks, and are appointed in the rank only after several months training course. The rank of soldato is used only for recruits and is substituted by the following, depending on the branch or service:


  1. "Italian Ranks - over the Front".
  2. US 6339866, French Vaughn, "Method and apparatus for a removable nametag or insignia" (patent)
  3. In the images the Pantone colour khaki 16-0726 TC, rendered as RGB 161 143 94, has been used.
  4. q.s. - (qualifica speciale - special rank)
  5. "Riordino delle carriere del 27/02/2018" (PDF).
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