is quite sad to speak of the situation of heraldry today. We can see that
that science, once held in great honour for many centuries, has now fallen
almost into oblivion, a situation of neglect that has been criminally
encouraged. It is perhaps the only art form that has been sacrificed to
erroneous ideological and political preconceived ideas.
In fact, on the altar of a badly conceived principle of equality, the
constitution of the republic does not recognise noble titles (Clause XIV,
transitory and final: “Noble titles are not recognised”),
although the Albertine Statute had already pointed out that “All
inhabitants of the kingdom, whatever their title or rank, are equal before
the law. All equally enjoy civil and political rights and are admissible
to civil and military appointments, apart from the exceptions determined
by the Laws” ( art. 24 ).
Instead of giving heraldry the consideration and position that it is
due, that is as a useful aid to universal history, it has been treated
– with a serious error due to absolute ignorance and incompetence
– as though it were a source of megalomania, vanity or autocratic
caste prerogative, so as to assign a noble title to a certain category
of persons reputed to belong to a privileged sector of the public.
While it is true that this study is not forbidden, it cannot be denied
that obstacles are placed in its way or, at least, that it is not acknowledged
its true value as a scrupulous and patient science; this began by no longer
recognising noble titles, as though that were some kind of crime and not
an honour that the bearer has inherited from his forefathers.
On the other hand I believe it is our duty, almost a mission, to perpetuate
the study of such an ancient and prestigious science, and it is both a
right and a duty to refer to a person according to the titles and honours
deriving from glory in any field, from the arts to politics, from a military
career to the court of law, from virtue to the ecclesiastical field, from
the trade to the exploits, of one or more ancestors.
Who can deny that it is thanks to heraldry that so much history has been
passed down to us today, and that many times it is through heraldry that
historians can trace the past with more efficacy and truth than with other
Nor must we fail to mention that history has come down to us not only
through this science but also with the aid of other sciences close to
it or intertwined, such as the study of coats of arms, sphragistics, chronology,
diplomatic studies, palaeography, numismatics, archive studies, etc.
Heraldry is quite a vast and well defined doctrine and science, the knowledge
of which must be made known to people who doe not even imagine it necessity,
nor believe in its truth.
It recalls so many glories of our forefathers and so many deal old memories,
that it absolutely must be studied: it speaks to us in a high, noble language,
and is able to sum up the virtues and glories of every household.
Heraldry is also magnificently complemented by genealogy, which enables
each one of us to trace his or her origins.
Nations, towns, the smallest municipalities, are all proud of their past.
So why should this not apply to any citizen? Each family has a history
of its own: that is why no one should frown when a person with common
sense sets about tracing his own heraldry and genealogy.
It is a desire that each one of us should feel, to know something about
our own family and the surname we are passing down to our children and
have received from our father.
Heraldry is in fact that subsidiary science of history which gives a
subject the form of a discipline, interpreting and classifying the colours,
the figures, and the complements that it derives from the symbols on the
coats of arms: through the study of the emblems and coats of arms –
teaching how to determine them and regulating their use, the shape, the
figures and the ornaments – it has contributed to the reconstruction
and discovery of many of the events of the Italic peoples, as well as
their origin and interpretation.
Lastly I would like to point out that in the most democratic countries
in the world, heraldry and family trees are held in the greatest consideration
and honour even among the most humble families.
Why can’t they continue to be viewed in this way even among our
people, with its exquisite traditions of chivalry, so much that the Marquis
Vittorio Spreti declared heraldry “the science of glory” or,
as it was called by our forefathers, Nobilissima Armorum Scientia?