Habsburgs and Italian Kingdom






House of Habsburg

Rep. Cispadana

Rep. Cisalpina


Lombardo Venetia  


Iron Crown of Monza

Back to Italy




The Habsburgs

In 1535 the house of Visconti-Sforza died out with the death of Francesco II. The duchy now came to Charles V of Habsburg, who in 1540 lent it to his son Philip, then thirteen years old. The Habsburgs adopted the use of weapons unchanged from the Sforza, that is to say that on the one hand the single weapon of the Visconti, covered with a duke's crown, was used, but on the other hand also the quartilated weapon. In late 17th-century depictions, the helmet sign snake has silver wings and the shield is held by two respected lions. The helmets are sometimes in the form of a coat of arms.

As a duke, Philip II placed the quartered coat of arms as a heart shield on his dynastic coat of arms, as a seal from 1555 (the year he succeeded his father in Italy) and was still married to Mary of England) shows. [1])

In the War of the Spanish Succession, Milan was conquered for the Austrians in 1706 by Prince Eugène of Savoie, and Austrian supremacy was recognized by the Treaty of Utrecht. Among the Austrian Habsburgs, the use of arms in the duchy changed in the sense that the dynastic coat of arms was now applied to the quartered shield as a heart shield. In the greater coat of arms of the German Emperors, the coat of arms of Visconti appears from the patent of arms by Charles VI in 1715.


The French Era 1796-1814

Napoleon Bonaparte entered Milan on his Italian Campaign on 15 May 1796. At his suggestion, the Cispadan Federation was founded in Modena on 16-18 October at a congress of delegates from Bologna, Ferrara, Modena and Reggio. At a second convention in Reggio from 27 December 1796 to 9 January 1797, the Cispadan Republic was proclaimed. A flag for the Republic was adopted on 7 January. It would consist of three horizontal bands of red, white and green. On the white lane was an emblem composed of a quiver, a fasces and various weapons and two flags in saltire. At the top were the initials of the republic “R.C.” and the whole was surrounded by a laurel wreath. [2]

In July, the republic was renamed Cisalpine Republic with the capital Milan. Following the French example, the emblem became a virgin of freedom, dressed in white, with a red robe that supports a bundle with her right hand and holds a stake in her left hand on which a Phrygian cap. She is standing on a green grassy ground on a blue field. [3]

In 1802, the Cisalpine Republic was renamed the Italian Republic and a new emblem was adopted by decree of 13 May of the same year. [4]  It consists of a crossed sword and palm branch with a balance over it.

In 1805 Venice, Istria and the Dalmatian Coast were added to the territory and at the same time the republic became a kingdom. Napoleon was crowned king in May.

Various achievements were used in the kingdom. The first, intended as a state coat of arms, has the coat of arms of the kingdom on the shield. This is gold with a silver crown with seven points (also: green with a gold crown). The shield is surrounded by an iron rim studded with gold nails and the collar of the Legion of Honor. It lies on the chest of the imperial (French) eagle, above which a golden star floats charged with the letter "N". The royal mantle is green, with gold fringes and embroidered with silver roses and lined with ermine. It falls from a crown with a laurel crown as a diadem.

The royal coat of arms, as on the royal seal, and as it was borne by Prince Eugène de Beauharnais as governor of the kingdom, has five fields with the coat of arms of the kingdom on a heart shield. The shield is divided in three, the first sections of red over blue, the second silver and the third sections of blue over red (the French colors). The fields are resp. charged with the emblems of the papal standard-bearer for Parma, the silver eagle of Modena, the blue serpent of Visconti, the golden lion of Venice and the silver cross with the label of Piemonte with a silver tower for Bologna in the fourth quarter. The showpieces are identical to those described for the small arms.

In the Kingdom, the former Duchy of Milan was divided into the departments of Olona and Haut Pô.


The Restoration of the Austrians and its Joining to Italy.

After the defeat of Napoleon, the former Duchy of Milan, merged with the western part of the former Republic of Venice (under the kingdom the dept. Adda, Serio and Mella), was returned to the Austrians under the name of Lombardy. On 7 April 1815, it was united with Venice to form the Lombard-Venetian Kingdom in personal union with the Austrian crown countries. Before the Kingdom of Lombardy joined Italy on 8 June 1858, the kingdom used a shield quartilated from Visconti and Venice with a heart shield shared by Habsburg-Austria-Lorraine. It is covered by the Iron Crown of Monza and surrounded by the collars and ribbons of four Austrian Orders and the Order of the Iron Crown. This last order was founded on 5 June 1805 by Napoleon as an Italian order. In 1816 it was restored by Emperor Francis I, whereby the jewel was adapted, among other things. [5]

In the coat of arms of the Austrian Archdukes, the kingdom is represented in the third quarter on which the arms of Visconti-Venice are placed side by side. The same order is maintained in the imperial achievementr of 1836 on which the shield is covered with the Iron Crown. These arms disappeared in later grants of arms.

After Lombardy joined Italy, the area became one of the landscapes in the Kingdom at the end of the nineteenth century. For this, the Visconti arms was put back into use. After W.W. II when Lombardy still had no administrative status, in 1958 the Milanese cross was proposed as the arms of the landscape.


In the French era, the city of Milan used a coat of arms with the cross, plus a green chief with the black initial "N" and three gold stars. The shield, surrounded by a golden garland, has a wall crown from which the French eagle rises. By decree of 7 November 1855, the coat of arms with the cross was confirmed by Emperor Francis Joseph I. The Italian king approved the coat of arms once again by decree of 19 March  1934. It is covered with a mural crown. [6]

The coat of arms of the province of Milan has five quarters with the coat of arms of the city in the middle. It is crowned with the Italian provincial crown. It was adopted at 22.10.1914




House of Habsburg



Philip II



¥ Mary Tudor of England 1554-1558 


King of Engeland and Naples, Prince of  Spain and Duke of Milan


Heraldic seal and counterseal. 1554


Arms.: 1|2: I. ½: 1: ½: 1: 1|2 Castile-Leon and Aragon; 2. 1|3 of Jeruzalem, Hungary and Sicily-Trinacria. 2. The Netherlands. II. ¼ of France and England. Escutcheon in nombril point.: ¼ Roman king and  Milan-Visconti.

Crown: Royal Crown

L.: philippus d.g. ang fran neap etc rex princ. hisp dvx mediolani.


Counterseal 1554


On the counterseal. L.: philippus rex princeps hisp dux mediolani.


Smaller arms

A quarterly of Germany and Visconti 1582

Biscione, 1550 ca


Philip III



Larger arms

Of a per fess of Spain and the Netherlands charged with a quarterly the Gwermany and Visconti


Smaller arms


Philip IV



Charles II



Larger arms 1665-1700

Achievement of Milan

On a Dutch playing card from the 2nd half of the 17th century [7]

Arms:  Visconti.

Crest: Visconti.

Supporters. Two lions.



Philip V


Ducat of Philip V, 1702


Arms: Per fess: of Spain; and  the Netherlands. In chief Fance Bourbon In base quarterly of Germany and Visconti


Leopold I



Arms: ¼: Or, an eagle Sable and Argent, a crowned serpent Azure devouring a man proper.

Crown: A crown of five leaves.

Crest: On helmets ducally crowned 1. A bunch of peacock-feathers charged with a roundel Argent, a cross Gules; 2. A two-headed eagle nimbused an imperially crowned charged with the letter L; 3. A crowned serpent issuant Azure, devouring a man proper, winged Argent.

Supporters: Two lions guardant holding spears, the dexter ensigned Argent, a cross Gules, the sinister of the biscione of Visconti.


Jozef  I



Eugène of Savoy

Governor of Milan 1707-1715


Foto H.d.V. 2009

Arms of Eugène of Savoie  in the town hall of Cremona


Arms: ¼: 1 & 4: Savoy; 2 & 3: ¼ of Germany and Visconti.


Charles VI



Achievement of  Charles VI, 1723


Arms: ¼: 1. Of the Hungaryan and Bohemian Heritage; 2; Of de Spanish heritage 3 Of the Burgundian heritage; 4. Of the Catalan heritage. And in an enté en point a parti of Germany and Visconti

Crown: A royal crown

Supporter: A nimbused two-headed eagle Sable, beaked and clawed Gules, in his dexter a sceptre and a sword and in his sinister an orb. [8]


Smaller arms


Arms: A quarterly of Germany and Visconti.

Crown: An antique crown


Probably with the “antique crown” the Iron Crown of Monza is meant and this would be the first time that the iron crown is referred to in Italian heraldry.


Maria Theresia



Seal of Maria Theresia, 1773


Arms: Mantova; Austria and Burgundy ancient; Hungary ancient and modern, Castilla, Leon Aragon; Sicily, Bohemia, Brabant, Parma, Transilvania, Carniola, Silesia, Stiria, Habsburg, Karinthia, Tirol, Jülich, Gorizia, Bar, Loraine, Jeruzalem, Toscana, Falkenstein. In nombril point Milan Visconti crowned.

Crown: A royal crown

Supporter: A two-headed eagle, nimbused and imperially crowned



Coin of Maria Theresia 1779


Arms: Quarterly of Germany and Visconti charged with an escucheon of Habsburg.

Crown: A Grand-ducal crown

Garland: Of palm am olive


Per pale of Germany and Vinsconti (1777)


AJozef II



Coin of Jozef II


Arms: Visconti

Crown: A Grand-ducal crown


Leopold II



1 Lira of Leopold II


Arms: Quarterly of Germany and Visconti charged with an escucheon per pale of Habsburg and Lorraine

Crown: A Grand-ducal crown

Garland: Of palm am olive


Francis II



30 soldi of Francis II (1795)


Arms: Quarterly of Germany and Visconti charged with an escucheon per pale of Habsburg and Lorraine

Crown: A Grand-ducal crown


Repubblica Transpadana



The Transpadane Republic (Repubblica Transpadana) was a  revolutionary, provisional and internatio-nally unrecognized government established in Milan by General Napoleon Bonaparte.


From 1796 until 1805 the heraldry of the subsequent Italian Republics was inspired by the heraldy of the French Republic




On 10 May 1796, the French army defeated the Austrian troops in the Battle of Lodi, and occupied the ancient Duchy of Milan. Napoleon set up a temporary authority, the General Administration of Lombardy, which replaced the Austrian officials and created a French client republic in Northern Italy, adopting the French Republican Calendar.

The Administration was granted full civil powers by a proclamation of Napoleon on 8 Brumaire year V (29 October 1796), even if its orders had to be approved by the French military commander of Lombardy. The Administration was composed of four departments: one for religious and cultural affairs, one for transportation and engineering affairs, one for financial and tax affairs, and one for mercantile and commercial affairs.

After the new victories of Napoleon's army, the territory of the republic grew; with the Preliminars of Leoben of 17 April 1797, France began the occupation of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, conquering Bergamo and moving eastwards from the Adda River to the Oglio River, the demarcation line with the Venetian territories established more than three centuries earlier. On 19 May, Napoleon transferred to Milan the territories of the former Duchy of Modena from the bordering Cispadane Republic. On 29 June, the General decided to give to the republic a final arrangement and a pro forma independence: by his own decree, he proclaimed the birth of the Cisalpine Republic.


Repubblica Cispadana



The Cispadane Republic (Repubblica Cispadana) was a short-lived republic located in northern Italy, founded in 1796 with the protection of the French army, led by Napoleon Bonaparte. In the following year, it was merged with the Transpadane Republic (formerly the Duchy of Milan until 1796) to form the Cisalpine Republic. These were French client states organized by Napoleon after the Battle of Lodi in May 1796. The republic's name refers to the "near side" of the River Po.

After the Battle of Lodi in May 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte organized two states: one to the south of the Po, the Cispadane Republic, and one to the north, the Transpadane Republic. On 19 May 1797, Napoleon transferred the territories of the former Duchy of Modena to Transpadania and, on 12 Messidor (29 June), he decreed the birth of the Cisalpine Republic, creating a Directory for the republic and appointing its ministers. France published the constitution of the new republic on 20 Messidor (7 July), establishing the division of the territory into eleven departments: Adda (Lodi), Alpi Apuane (Massa), Crostolo (Reggio), Lario (Como), Montagna (Lecco), Olona (Milan), Panaro (Modena), Po (Cremona), Serio (Bergamo), Ticino (Pavia), and Verbano (Varese).


Project for a Constitution of the Cispadane Republic (1797)


First emblem (1797)


Emblem: a lad sitting astride, his dress blowing, in his right a quiver, in his left a torch, at his feet an imperial and a antique crown toppled, and a  helmet.


Emblem of the Cispadane Republic, 1797


Emblem:  A fasces, a cannon and four national flags in saltire charged with a quiver per pale


Flag of the Cispadane Republic

Historical reconstruction of Ugo Bellocchi


The flag was adopted by the Congress of Reggio on the evening of 7 January 1797, on the proposal of Giuseppe Compagnoni, as an emblem of the General Provisional Government of the Cispadane Republic. The flag is described in the documents as formed "of three colors green, white and red".


Nel secondo congresso Cisalpino a Reggio, dal 27 dicembre 1796 al 9 gennaio 1797, i deputati delle popolazioni emiliane trasformarono la Federazione in <> e - il 7 gennaio - decretarono lo stendardo o bandiera Cispadana di tre colori: verde, bianco e rosso, disposti orizzontalmente; sul bianco spiccava un trofeo d'armi con le lettere R. C. entro un serto di rami di alloro. Soppresso con la caduta del regno d'Italia nel 1814, il tricolore riapparve nei moti rivoluzionari del 182 1 e Mazzini lo adottò per la «Giovine Italia

Cispadane Officers Gorget with emblem


Emblem: A stake  with a phrygian cap, charged with afasces and a quiver in saltire


Repubblica Cisalpina



On 12 Messidor (29 June), Napoleon decreed the birth of the Cisalpine Republic, creating a Directory for the republic and appointing its ministers. France published the constitution of the new republic on 20 Messidor (7 July), establishing the division of the territory into eleven departments: Adda (Lodi), Alpi Apuane (Massa), Crostolo (Reggio), Lario (Como), Montagna (Lecco), Olona (Milan), Panaro (Modena), Po (Cremona), Serio (Bergamo), Ticino (Pavia), and Verbano (Varese).

The rest of Cispadania was merged into the Cisalpine Republic on 27 July, with the capital of the unified state being Milan. On 1 Brumaire (22 October), Bonaparte announced the union of Valtelline with the Republic, after its secession from the Swiss Three Grey Leagues. Austria acknowledged the new entity in the Treaty of Campoformio of 17 October, gaining in exchange what remained of the Venetian Republic. On 25 Brumaire (15 November), the full international recognition and legality of the new state was ratified by the law governing the final annexation of the conquered territories.

The parliament, composed of two chambers (the Great Council and the Council of the Seniors), was appointed directly by Napoleon on 1 Frimaire (21 November). He justified this undemocratic action as a necessity of war. New departments joined the eleven original ones and Valtelline in the following months: Benaco (Desenzano) on 11 Ventose (1 March 1798), Mella (Brescia) on 13 Floreal (2 May), Mincio (Mantua) on 7 Prairial (26 May), and five departments of Emilia. The structural phase of the republic was terminated on 14 Fructidor (31 August), when France dismissed all the authorities of the republic, replacing them by a stronger executive power under a new constitution.


First emblem

Standing Cisalpina with banner and fasces


Cisalpina with helmet, phrygian cap and fasces,

seated before the symbols of agriculture, industry and army


Il Direttorio Esecutivo

The virgins of the Cisalpine Republic and  France  shaking  hands.

 On the background Prosperity


The text on the altar reads: Unione della Repubblica Cisalpina colla Repubblica Francese


Government of Reno Department, 21 Floreal VII (10 May 1796)



Letterhead of Crevalcore municipality 3 Pluviose VII (22.January 1796)

Equality and Liberty


Letterhead of Bibbiano municipality 26 Messidor IX (14 July 1798)


Minister of War 1 Ventose VII (19 February 1796)


Letterhead of Luigi Cattani captain of the 3rd Battalion, 22 Vendemiaire X ( 13 October 1801)

Rider rushing into the flames and the motto Pro Patria


Standard of the 2nd Regiment Hussars of the Cisalpine Republic


Repubblica Italiana



The Italian Republic was the successor of the Cisalpine Republic, which changed its constitution to allow the French First Consul Napoleon to become its president. The new constitution changed the name of the state to the "Italian Republic"; it consisted of the same areas that had comprised the Cisalpine Republic, primarily Lombardy and Romagna.

The coat of arms was specified in a decree on 13 May, 1802. A treaty of friendship and commerce with the Republic of San Marino was signed on 10 June 1802, the Concordat with the Holy See on 16 eptember 1803.

The government created the National Guard of Italy, a National Gendarmerie, and a finance police; the metric system was introduced and a national currency was planned, although never minted during the Republican era.

In 1805, following Bonaparte's assumption of the title of Emperor of the French, the Italian Republic was transformed into the Kingdom of Italy (Regno d'Italia), with Napoleon as king and his stepson Eugène de Beauharnais as viceroy.



Decreto 13 maggio 1802: una bilancia pendente da un nastro attraversante sopra una spada in banda e un ramo di palma in sbarra, uniti in croce di S. Andrea e legati da un nastro. Le bandiere erano rosse, caricate da una losanga bianca caricata a sua volta da un quadrato verde recante l'emblema sopra descritto (bilancia, ecc.).


Seal of the President of the Italian Republic

Ratification of the Concordat between the Italian Republic and Pope Pius VII by Napoleon,

Saint Cloud, 2 November 1803

A.A.., Arm. I-XVIII, 436a, fol. 8v [10]


Emblem: A balance charged with a palm-leaf and a sword in saltire



Standard of the Presidential Guard


Regno d’Italia



ISTITUZIONE DEL REGNO D'ITALIA Lo « Statuto costituzionale » per il regno d'Italia è una Consulta di Stato per la quale l'imperatore dei Francesi veniva proclamato Re d'Italia per sé e i suoi discendenti. Il sovrano s'intitola « Napoléon, par la gràce de Dieu et les Constitutions Empereur d es Français et Roi d'Italie »; il testo della Consulta è bilingue. Ecco il testo italiano: La Consulta di Stato decreta:

INSTITUTION OF THE KINGDOM OF ITALY The "Constitutional Statute" for the Kingdom of Italy is a State Council for which the French emperor was proclaimed King of Italy for himself and his descendants. The sovereign is called "Napoléon, par la gràce de Dieu et les Constitutions Empereur des Français et Roi d'Italie"; the text of the Consulta is bilingual. Here is the Italian text: The State Council decrees:



Napoleone, per grazia di Dio ed in virtù delle costituzioni Imperatore dei Francesi e Re d'Italia, a tutti i presenti e futuri salute. La Consulta di Stato decreta, e noi ordiniamo quanto segue:



La Consulta di Stato, veduto il voto unanime della Consulta e Deputazioni unite, del giorno 15 marzo 1805. Veduto l'art. 60 della Costituzione sulla iniziativa costituzionale, Decreta


Art. I. L'Imperatore dei Francesi NAPOLEONE PRIMO è Re d'Italia.


II. La Corona d'Italia è ereditaria nella sua discendenza legittima e per retta linea, sia naturale, sia adottiva, di maschio in maschio, escluse in perpetuo le femmine e discendenza loro; il diritto di adozione non potrà estendersi ad altri che ad un Cittadino dell'Impero Francese, o del Regno d'Italia.


III. Tosto che le armate straniere si saranno ritirate dal Regno di Napoli, dalle Isole Jonie, e da quella di Malta, l'imperatore NAPOLEONE trasmetterà la Corona d'Italia ad uno dei suòi figli maschi legittimi, sia naturale o adottivo.


IV. Da quest'epoca la Corona d'Italia non potrà essere più unita alla Corona di Francia nella stessa persona, ed i successori di NAPOLEONE PRIMO nel Regno d'Italia dovranno stabilmente risiedere sul territorio della Repubblica Italiana.


V. Entro l'anno corrente l'Imperatore NAPOLEONE, col parere della Consulta di Stato e delle Deputazioni dei Collegi Elettorali, darà alla Monarchia Italiana costituzioni fondate sopra le stesse basi di quelle dell'Impero Francese, e sopra i principi medesimi delle leggi ch'Egli ha già date all'Italia ... gno.

Dato dal Palazzo delle Tuileries, il 17 marzo 1805, primo del nostro re NAPOLEONE [11]


Good liking royal portrait of Eugène de Beauharnais Vice King [12]


The arms of the Kingdom


There are three versions of the coat of arms of the Kingdom, the smaller, the lesser, and the larger. Although these are undoubtedly laid down in a decree, no copy is available.

The small coat of arms consists of an oval shield with a studded edge with a heathen crown. The Roman eagle seated on a lightning beam serves as a supporter. Above the head of the eagle is a radiant five-pointed star charged with the letter “N”.

The lesser achievement is the same as the smaller achievement, but surrounded by the collar of the Legion of Honor and two  halberds in saltire upholdingh a green mantle strewn with with silver roses and lined with ermine. A laurel crown with five braces on the mantle

Lesser Achievement

Arms of State


Arms: Or, an antique crown proper, surrounded by a bordure Gules studded with bolts proper.

Order: Of the Legion d’Honneur

Supporter: A romand eagle Or, crested of a five-poined star radiant charged with the letter N.

Mantle: Vert, strewn with roses Argent, fringed Or, lined ermine, upheld by two halberds in saltire en royally crowned


The antique crown is meant to be the Italian crown or the Iron Crown of Monza.


Heraldic Iron Crown (1805-1814)

On the arms of the Kingdom of Italy this crown is iron coloured


Larger Achievement

Royal arms


Arms: Tierced per pale: 1. Per fess of Parma-Farnese (Gules the papal umbrella and the papal keys in saltire Or) and  Modena-Este (Azure, a crowned eagle Argent) ; 2 Visconti (Argent a serpent Azure devouring a man proper) ; 3. Per fess of Venice (AZure, the lion of St Marc Or) and Bologna modified: Gules, a cross and a label of three Argent. In nombril point: Kingdom of Italy.

Order: The collar of the Legion d’Honneur.

Supporter: A roman eagle Or, crested of a five-poined star radiant charged with the letter N.

Mantle: Vert, strewn with roses Argent, fringed Or, lined ermine, upheld by two halberds in saltire en royally crowned. [13]


1st Kingdom of Italy Royal seal [14]


Arms: The larger achievement of the kingdom

Caption:regno d’italia •  sigillo reale dei titoli


For a portrait of Eugène de Beauharnais: harvardartmuseums.og/collection/object/354361?positions


Regno Lombardo-Veneto



The Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia  called the: Regno Lombardo-Veneto in Italian,  was created in 1815 by resolution of the Congress of Vienna in recognition of the Austrian House of Habsburg-Lorraine's rights to Lombardy and the former Republic of Venice, after the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy, proclaimed in 1805, had collapsed. It was finally dissolved in 1866 when its remaining territory was incorporated into the recently proclaimed Kingdom of Italy.


Francis I- (Francesco I)


The arms of Visconti and Venice in alliance (1815).


Crowned with the Iron crown of Lombardy in a more naturalistic way and the imperial crown of Austria. Surrounded by a garland of laurel


Achievement of the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom 18715-1866


Arms: Quarterly of Visconti and the Venetian Republic charged with an escutcheon tierced per pale of Habsburg, Austria and Lorraine.

Crown: The Iron Crown of Italy.

Orders: Of the Fleece; Militay Order of Maria Theresia; Royal Hungarian Order of St. Stephem;   Leopolds Order; Order of the Iron Crown.

Supporter: A two-headed eagle royally crowned and recrowned imperially, in its dexter a sceptre and a sword and in his sinister an orb.


The same in colour


Ferdinand I / (Ferdinando I)



Tabbard of the Lombardo-Venetian Herold.

Vienna, 1838

Weltliche u. Geistliche Schatzkammer, Wien. Inv. Nr XIV 47


Franz Joseph I /(Francesco Giuseppe I)



Regno d´Italia


Province of Milan



Milan City was granted a coat of arms on 9 January 1813. It is:


Arms: Argent, a straight cross, the bar slighty curved Gules and a chief Vert charged  with the capital N surrounded by three six-leaved roses one and two Or.

Crown: A mural crown of seven towers crested with the french eagle issuant standing on a caduceus

Garland: two braided olive and oak festoons, divided between the two sides, rejoined and hanging from the tip Or


Coat of arms of Milan City, with golden leaves, crown  and double-headed eagle,

By decree of Emperor Francis I of Austria (1816), confirmed by Emperor Franz Joseph (07.11.1855.)  [15]



FIRST COAT, These arms were confirmed in 1859, the year of foundation of the Province of Milan, until 1914, when the first autonomous coat of arms was granted, the new territorial body did not have a specific heraldic emblem, but uses the same coat of arms of the Municipality of Milan: a red cross on a white field



SECOND COAT, 1914 | The second coat of arms, to all intents and purposes the first original symbol of the Province, determined to also highlight its autonomy from the heraldic point of view, is granted by Royal Decree on 22 October 1914. The coat of arms includes the representation of the coats of arms of four Municipalities of the Circondario (Abbiategrasso, Gallarate, Lodi, Monza), in addition to the red cross representative of the Municipality of Milan, as required by the Consulta Araldica.


Royal  letter of Concession of the coat of arms - 21 January 1915. Vittorio Emanuele III communicates to the Province the concession of the coat of arms, described as follows: "(...) quarterly: in the first of Abbiategrasso, blue a golden lion, crowned; in the second of Gallarate, truncated of silver and red, in each part a cock from the one in the other; in the third of Lodi, gold a red cross; in the fourth of Monza, blue  the iron crown, surmounted by the Cross of  Queen Teodolinda; and all over of Milan, silver with a red cross (...) "

Decree of the President of the Republic granting the modification of the coat of arms –

7 May 1954.


With this decree, President Luigi Einaudi authorized the modification of the coat of arms, described as follows: "(...) In the description, the coat of arms of Gallarate is replaced by the one of Legnano, "truncated. in chief red, a silver lion, below silver, a dried tree of red over a barren clearing (...) "



THE NEW ARMS OF THE PROVINCE OF MILAN, 1998 | The elements of the new symbol will be the red cross on a white field, in memory of the flag of the Milanese people fighting against Barbarossa, and the sun and moon of the emblem of Mirasole, testimony of the agricultural work of the Humiliated - and more generally of the Lombard industriousness - which represents the territory of the province, formerly dedicated to agriculture. A complex graphic work has gradually stylized the emblem to bring it closer to modern sensibility. The new symbol was granted on 22 April 1998. [16]


The Iron Crown of Monza


The Iron Crown of  Monza

Gold, precious stones and enamel

L x W.15,8 x 14,4 cm. H. 5,3 cm. Æ: 48 cm.

Monza, Cathedral


The Iron Crown of Monza

Gold, Precious stones and enamel

L ´ W 15,8 x 14,4 cm. H. 5,3 cm Æ: 48 cm.

Monza, Cathedral


The crown consists of six golden plates, decorated with precious stones and enamels. On the upper side are three holes and on the lowere side 48 double holes. The plates are connected by an iron ring 2 cm wide.


A recent study concludes: [17]


The Iron Crown of Monza is thus the fruit of the interplay of eclectic cultural currents. It combines the tradition of the late Roman imperial diadem with the decorative system of the Visigothic votive crown and the cosmological symbolism of the early Romanesque period. Based on these considerations, it can be assumed that the Iron Crown originated in northern Italy at the beginning of the ninth century, perhaps even before the Paliotto altar.[18]


To which there may be added:


1. The crown is similar to the crown of St. Agnes on a mosaic in the Sant'Agnese Fuori le Mura in Rome. The depicted queen wears a small crown consisting of a number of hinged plates of which, as usual of the Iron Crown, three are visible. Each plate is set with a large gem surrounded by four smaller ones in the corners. Pendilia in the form of pearl strands are hung on the crown. This would explain the holes in the Iron Crown. The Queen also wears a loros or long scarf that for the first time forms part of the Byzantine imperial clothing under Leo VI, the Wise (886-912). It is therefore likely that the mosaic was made at the end of the ninth, early tenth century and that the depicted crown was worn at that time. The crown is therefore certainly a women's crown, given its small size.

Image of St. Agnes on a mosaic in the Sant' Agnese Fuori le Mura in Rome.


The chapel was commissioned by Pope Honorius I (625-638). Certainly a queen or empress is depicted. The queen is dressed in a purple divetesion on which a gold, red-rimmed medallion with a green goose inside. A hanging Loros around her shoulders, set with large gemstones. Red gold-embroidered shoes at her feet. She holds a codicil in her hands. The crown, which may have strands of pearl, is very similar to the Iron Crown of Monza.

The loros was part of the Byzantine imperial dress from the reign of Leo VI (886-912) and therefore the mosaic may have originated in the late ninth, early tenth century at the earliest.

It is possible that the mosaic was donated by Berengar of Friuli who also gave many treasures to the treasury of the Cathedral of Monza.



Back to Part 1



Back to Main Page


 © Hubert de Vries




[1]  Vredius, O.: Sigilla Comitum Flandriæ. Brussel, 1639 p. 198.

[2] A description of the flag at  Bascapè, G. e.a.: Insegne e Simboli. Roma, 1983 p. 760. A picture in Neubecker O. op.cit. p. 244. The emblem was also rpinted on coins.

[3]  Santamaria: I vari stemmi del Governo Milanese e Lombardo. In: Rivista Araldica, 1916, p. 109. Een afbeelding in kleur is te vinden i n het Museo del Risorgimento in Bologna.

[4] Bascapè G. e.a. op.cit. p. 760. He also describes a flag adopted at the same time being red with a white diamond charged with a green square charged with the emblem.  (Bascape)

[5]  Gritzner, M.: Handbuch der Ritter- und Verdienstorden. Leipzig 1893, pp. 276-282.

[6]  Bascapè, G. e.a. op.cit. pp 280; and Archivum Heraldicum 1960, pp. 38-39.

[7] Valk, Gerard: Seer Aardig en Net Wapen Boeck. Waar in te vinden zijn de Wapenen van alle Koningen, Hertogen, Princen, Vorsten en landen van Europa. Samengesteld tot gebruyk van een Kaartspel. Tot Amsterdam bij Gerard Valk. Undated

[8] Gall, Franz: Österreichische Wappenkunde. Handbuch der Wappenwissenschaft. Verlag Herman Böhlaus Nachf. Wien/Köln, 1977. Taf 6

[9] Il sigillo nel storia e nella cultura jouvence, 1985. Fig 29. The blasoning uncertain.

[10] Das Geheimarchiv des Vatikan. Belser Verlag Stuttgart, Zurich, 1992. Taf. CXXXIV



[13]  Tre stampe e un disegno esistono a Milano nella Civica raccolta stampe (cfr. P. Arrigoni - A. Bertarelli, Le stampe storiche...., n. 2166, cart. p. 3, da 22 a 27: ma sono disegni di privati, con errori aradici. Cfr. Storia di Milano, Fondaz. Treccani, XIII, p. 205.


[15] Welchen von Sr. Majestät dem Kaiser von Oesterreich Franz Josef  I  seit Höchstdessen Regieunrgantritt bis Ende des Jahres 1875 Wappen neu verliehen oder bestätigt worden sind.  18. Mailand Hauptstadt der Lombardei. Wappenbestätigung 7 Novbr 1855 (...) Silberner, von einem rothen Kreuze  durchzogener Schild. (...) Die Gemeindewappen haben alle eine goldene  in de Form gleichgehalteneArabeskeneinfassung..


[17] Bárány op.cit. p. 31

[18] Bárány op.cit. p. 25.