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Savona (Liguria, Italy)

Last modified: 2008-08-02 by dov gutterman
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Official Flag
image by by Željko Heimer



See also:


Legal prescription of the emblems

The emblems of Savona are prescribed in the Municipal Statutes ("Statuto comunale") adopted by the Municipal Council on 7 October 1991 and amended on 22 December 1993, 28 January 1994, 28 September 2001, 27 March 2007 and 17 April 2007:
"Section I. The Municipality of Savona
Article 4. Coat of arms and gonfalone of the municipality
1. The coat of arms of the Municipality of Savona shall be as prescribed in Royal Decree on 12 November 1938.
2. The gonfalone of the Municipality of Savona, decorated with the Gold Medal of the Resistance, shall be red with a white pale, a golden fringe, in the center the civic coat of arms with the lettering, in gold, centered, "cittą di Savona".
3. The flag of the Municipality of Savona shall be made of three equal horizontal stripes, red, white and red.
4. The Municipal Syndicate or Council may decide to use to decide the gonfalone with the coat of arms after having decided to officialize theparticipation of the Municipality of Savona to a ceremony or an other public event.
5. The administration may permit the use and reproduction of the coat of arms of the municipality to non-institutional but of public interest  purposes."  
Source: Municipal Statutes, in Italian, available on the municipal website - unofficial translation by Ivan Sache.
Ivan Sache, 29 June 2008


The Flag

Francesco Murialdo claims that the flag became official on 6 May 1994, 30 days after publication in the Ligurian official gazette. The dates given above are the dates of adoption by the Municipal Council. Therefore, it is clear that the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 28 January 1994 and legally confirmed a few months later. According to F. Murialdo, red-white-red flags were already used in Savona from the middle 1800s to the middle 1900s, either with or without the coat of arms in the white stripe.


Vertically divided flag- XXth century
image by António Martins

In the second half of the XXth century, a flag vertically divided red-white-red was also used in Savona, stirring a local debate, which was solved in 1994 with the official adoption of the horizontally divided flag.


Flag with the coat of arms
image by Roberto Breschi from CISV (Vexilla Italica 1/1986)

Horizontal flags with the coat of arms have been reported by F. Murialdo (no date) as hoisted over the Town Hall during sessions of the Municipal Council and in front of the War Memorial. The municipal website indeed shows a photography of the flag with the coat of arms, while describing it without the coat of arms on the very same page!


vertically divided flag - mainly 13th to 15th centuries
image by Ivan Sache, after Francesco Murialdo

F. Murialdo reports that, earlier in the history, Savona already used a vertically divided red-white-red flag. Savona was granted the status of Free Town on 10 April 1191 when the Marquis of Savona transferred his last rights to the Municipality. On 29 October 1528, Savona eventually surrendered to its more powerful neighbour Genoa, but the independence of the town had already been dramatically decreased by treaties imposed by Genoa and potectorates ("signorie") imposed by Genoa, Milan and France. The new rulers did not change the flag but added their arms on towers and coins.
Several sources (frescoes, bas-reliefs, portolanos) from that time, mostly form the XIII-XVth century, shows the flag of Savona as vertically divided red-white-red, with a narrower white stripe (as is the pale argent in the coat of arms).


Flag with "Chief of the Empire"
image by Ivan Sache, after Francesco Murialdo

The flag is sometimes represented with a "Chief of the Empire", that is a black eagle on a yellow field (similar to the chief of the coat of arms).


Flag similar to an Imperial standard
image by Francesco Murialdo

Iconographical sources from the same period show on the town's fortifications (castlesand towers) a flag similar to an Imperial standard, depicting only the black eagle on a yellow field. This flag might have been use to emphasize the town's loyalty to the Emperor. The eagle was also a pre-eminent element of the coins minted in Savona. In the XVIth century, the four wards of the town had each a gonfalone, portraying St. Peter, St. John, the Blessed Virgin, and (probably) St. Andrew, respectively.  
Sources (quoted by F. Murialdo):
- Les portulans - Cartes marines du XIIIe au XVIIe sičcle (in English: The portolanos - Maritime charts from 13th to 17th century), by Monique De La Roncičre and  Michel Mollat du Jourdin. Office du Livre: Fribourg (Switzerland), 1984.
- Un cartografo a Savona nel primo Quattrocento, by Corradino Astengo. Sabazia (N.S.) 2: 6-8, 1987.
- Iconografia e documenti sulla bandiera di Savona (Iconography and documents about the flag of Savona), by Francesco Murialdo. Studi in omaggio a Carlo Russo nel suo settantacinquesimo compleanno, 269-283, 1995.
- I vessilli degli antichi quartieri savonesi (The flags of the ancient Savona's wards), by Carlo Varaldo, Sabazia 2, 15:16, 1982.

Ivan Sache, 29 June 2008


Coat of Arms


image by Filippo Noceti, 8 June 2001

The coat of arms of Savona was  granted by Royal Decree on 12 November 1938 and published in the Register of the Heraldic Council on 15 November 1938 and in the Heraldic Register of Legal Entities (as #2052, p. 621, vol. II).   "Di rosso al palo d“argento e al capo abbassato d“oro, caricato di aquila nascente ad ali spiegate. Capo del Littorio di rosso (porpora) al fascio Littorio d“oro circondato da due rami di quercia e d“alloro annodati da un nastro dai colori nazionali. Lo scudo sarą di forma poligonale a testa di cavallo, cartocciato. Corona marchionale." "Red a pale argent a chief  or charged with an eagle naissant with diplayed wings. Fasces red (purple- and fasces or surrounded by two branches of oak and laurel tied by a ribbon with the national colours. The shield shall be of polygonal shape, like a horse' head, with a cartouche. Marquis crown."
Source:  Royal Decree, in Italian, available on the municipal website - unofficial translation by Ivan Sache
The wording of the original Decree does not seem to have been changed, but the fasces have been dropped for evident reasons, as shown on the image shown on the source page.
Ivan Sache, 29 June 2008


The Gonfalone

The gonfalone of Savona was  granted by Royal Decree on 12 November 1938 and published in the Register of the Heraldic Council on 15 November 1938 and in the Heraldic Register of Legal Entities (as #2052, p. 621, vol. II): "Gonfalone: Drappo rosso al palo bianco, frangiato d“oro, caricato nel centro dello stemma sopra descritto e con I“ iscrizione centrata in oro "CITTĄ  DI SAVONA"." "Gonfalone: Red flag with a white pale, a golden fringe, charged in the middle with the coat of arms described above and the golden writing CITTĄ DI SAVONA"."
In contrast to the flag, the modified gonfalone is explicitely described in the Municipal Statutes, which do not mention at all the Royal Decree.
Source:  Royal Decree, in Italian, available on the municipal website - unofficial translation by Ivan Sache.
Ivan Sache, 29 June 2008