Order of Merit for Labour

Order of Merit for Labour

Republican insignia of the order
Awarded by  Italy
Type Order of knighthood
Eligibility Civilian merit
Awarded for Agriculture, industry and commerce
Status Extant
Established 9 May 1901
Next (higher) Military Order of Italy
Next (lower) Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity

The Order of Merit for Labour (Italian: Ordine al Merito del Lavoro) was founded as national order of chivalry in 1923 by King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy; it is awarded to those "who have been singularly meritorious" in agriculture, industry and commerce, crafts, lending and insurance.[1] It is a continuation of the earlier Ordine al Merito Agrario, Industriale e Commerciale founded in 1901.[2] Members of the order may use the title Cavaliere del lavoro.[3]

The origins of the order lie with King Umberto I who, in 1898, instituted "a decoration for agricultural and industrial merit and a medal of honour."[4] The first was the exclusive prerogative of large landowners and industrialists, the latter for their employees. This was replaced by the Chivalrous or Knightly Order of Agricultural, Industrial and Commercial Merit in 1901, which was intended by Vittorio Emanuele III to give greater dignity to the earlier award.

Awarded in the single degree of Knight, the order is open to all Italians, living at home and overseas. Every year, on 1 June, 25 new Knights of Labour are invested from a shortlist of 40 candidates.[5] The related Star of Merit for Labour, established in 1923, confers the title of Maestro del Lavoro.[6]

Ribbon Class Name of the Order Title
Knight Ordine al Merito del Lavoro Cavaliere del lavoro
Master Stella al Merito del Lavoro Maestro del lavoro

The order is bestowed by decree of the President of the Italian Republic, its head since 1952, on the recommendation of the Minister of Economic Development (successor to the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Craftsmanship). The badge bears the inscription Al merito del lavoro—1901; the V.E. monogram formerly at the centre of the Greek cross, now substituted for the national coat of arms.

In 1977, the four-time President of the Council of Ministers, Cav. Silvio Berlusconi, was appointed to the order by the sixth President of Republic, Giovanni Leone.[7] He later renounced the title after he was found guilty of tax fraud.[8]

See also


  1. Instituted by Royal Decree No. 3167 on 30 December 1923, revived by Law No. 199 of 27 March 1952
  2. Instituted by Royal Decree No. 168 on 9 May 1901
  3. Law No. 194 of 15 May 1986 Norme sull'Ordine cavalleresco al merito del lavoro (Regulations of the Chivalrous Order of Merit for Labour), published in Gazzetta Ufficiale, No. 116, 21 May 1986
  4. Instituted by Royal Decree No. 195 on 1 March 1898
  5. The Italian Honours Procedure (p.6) Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Department of Protocol (retrieved 5 October 2008)
  6. Established by Royal Decree No. 3167 of 30 December 1923, renewed by Law No. 316(1) of 1 March 1967 Nuove norme per la concessione della "Stella al merito del lavoro" (New regulations for the concession of the Star of Merit for Labour), published in Gazzetta Ufficiale, No. 133, 29 May 1967
  7. The Rt. Hon. Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (retrieved 22 July 2011)
  8. Italian ex-PM Berlusconi renounces knight title BBC news (retrieved 24 March 2014)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Order of Merit for Labour.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 7/30/2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.