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The military of modern day Italy.
It consists of the standard features, namely an Army, a Navy and an Air Force, as well as the Carabinieri, military police who also do domestic law enforcement.
Speaking of which:
Italian Law Enforcement
Italy has EIGHT police forces.
1) Carabinieri (Carbiners) - Formed in 1815 (Before the unification of Italy: they served in the Kingdom of Sardinia and inspired by the french Gendarmerie), their names comes from the carbines they used as a weapon. The Carabinieri have been historically the First Corps of the army, and they were upgraded to full branch (alongside army, navy and air force) in 2000. The Carabinieri handle serious cases of law-enforcement in Italy, especially conducting operations against mafia and organized crime.
During World War Two, after the fall of Mussolini, many Carabinieri joined the Resistenza, or the allied forces. In more recent days, Carabinieri are often emplyed in peace-keeping operations (Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq).
Carabinieri are the butt of many jokes in Italy, which portray them as Book Dumb and simple-minded. ("Why do Carabinieri always go around in pairs? Because one can read but can't write and the other can write but can't read.") This is probably because in the past many lower-class citizens enlisted in order to earn some money for their families. Despite this, they are still nicknamed respectfully "L'Arma" (The Corps) or "La Benemerita" (The Meritorous) and well-respected.
The everyday Carabiniere uniform is black with a white sash and a red stripe on the trousers. It comes with a black Commissar Cap with a heraldic grenade (with a spread-out flame) in silver on it, definitely a Nice Hat. In the past, their hats were even nicer.
Of course, when employed in war zones and peacekeeping operations they wear sensible camouflage. The Carabinieri also have a Paratrooper regiment and a special honor guard regiment called Corazzieri ("Cuirassiers"), who are quite blinged out, and the GIS (Gruppo di Intervento Speciale, "Special Intervention Group"), an elite counterterrorism force.
2) Guardia di Finanza - (Financial Guard) Also known as "Fiamme Gialle" ("Yellow Flames"), from the golden color of their uniform's collar patches, they are in charge of financial crimes: smuggling, money laundring, drug trafficking, frauds and such. They depend from the Minister of Economy and Finance, but they're still technically a military corps (like the Carabinieri, although they don't count as a full service branch), so, in the unlikely event of a full-scale war, might well still be employed on the front.
They have a Commissar Cap like the Carabinieri, but it's grey instead of black (like the uniform), and with a golden grenade with an upright flame instead of a silver one with a spread-out flame.
3) Polizia di Stato - (State Police) National civilian police force. Under the authority of the Minister of Public Security. Uniform is dark blue shirt, light grey trousers, and yet another Commissar Cap with the effigy of a golden eagle with a crown.
Every province has a "questura", an office which handles police duties in the area. Highly populated areas might ahve a secondary office dependent from the questura called a "commissariato".
They have various subsections: Polizia Stradale (highway patrol), Polizia Ferroviaria (railway security), Polizia Postale (post and telecommunications, including internet crimes and malicious computer hacking), Polizia di Frontiera (border police service, especially to handle the ever-growing problem of immigration from the poorer and most troubled countries of the Mediterranean and eastern Europe), Unità Mobile (special units stanced in the 13 largest cities. they take care of the odd duties like bomb disposal, air support, river police, rescue operations in case of natural disaster, etc), and the NOCS (Nucleo Operativo Centrale di Sicurezza, "Central Security Operations Group"), who are basically Italy's SWAT team.
4) Polizia Penitenziaria - (Penitentiary Police) The prison guards, who also handle transportation of inmates. Yes, they're a separate public agency not related to the "normal" police, and are subordinate to the Ministery of Justice. ALSO have the Commissar Cap (wht a silver torch insigna), although the ladies instead sport something looking like a top hat.
5) Corpo Forestale dello Stato - (State's Forestry Department) Similar to american park rangers, they're responsible for law enforcement in national parks and forests. Poachers, safeguard of protected animal species, and fighting Captain Planet villains. Uniform is grey, insigna is a golden flying eagle, and yes, they also have the Commissar Cap. They work for the Ministery of Agriculture.
6) Guardia Costiera - (Coast Guard) they guard the metric fuckton of coastline Italy has, obviously. Works for the Ministry of Transports, and, despite being a police force, is technically part of the Navy. Oddly enough, they seem to prefer the baseball cap.
7) Polizia Provinciale - (Provincial Police) Technically every province can have its own police force (a bit like US-based [s]county[/s] state police), but many provinces simply chose not to, or keep an understaffed token force. More often than not you'll never see them.
8) Polizia Municipale - (Municipal police) City cops, mostly handling traffic control and minor crimes in their city of competence. Often simply called "vigili" or "vigili urbani", "city watch" (no, not that one). They're the ones you're most likely to see while walking around town.
...Can you say "Interservice Rivalry"?
Italy's upgrading navy possesses two STOVL aircraft carriers, Giuseppe Garibaldi and Cavour. The newer one will get F-35B planes in the near future. The country also owns Tornado IDS strike planes and Eurofighter Typhoons.
Italy is a NATO member and its forces have seen combat action in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Forze Armate Italiane in fiction:
- In Gunslinger Girl, most of the SWA's black ops personnel are either from the ranks of the Italian military, police or intelligence services. For instance, Amadeo and Giorgio are formerly with the Gruppo di Intervento Speciale before they were placed in Section 2 to support the cyborg operators in the field when needed. The Croce brothers were ex-Carabinieri officers stationed with the Tuscania Regiment. Raballo was also ex-Carabinieri with GIS forced to retire due to a leg injury when his rifle misfired (anime)/pistol misfired (manga).
- In Jormungand, R used to be with the Italian Army's Bersaglieri during the 1990s in Bosnia as a UN peacekeeper before Koko recruited him. And he became a double agent working for the CIA.
- In the Rainbow Six series, Antonio Maldini is with GIS prior to his Rainbow assignment.
- In End War, he is a Colonel with the European Federation Army's Battlegroup 4 and is their commanding officer.
The Polizia in fiction:
- In Gunslinger Girl, Marco was with the Polizia di Stato's Criminal Police Central Directorate, plus he had combat experience with NOCS. Priscilla was an ex-officer with the Guardia di Finanza.