Senate of the Republic (Italy)

Last updated
Senate of the Republic

Senato della Repubblica
Logo Senato della Repubblica.png
President of the Senate
Seats315 elected senators
+ 6 senators for life
Italian Senate current.svg
Political groups
Government (165)
  •      M5S (107)
  •      Lega (58)

Supported by (6)

Opposition (147)

Last election
4 March 2018
Next election
No later than 2023
Meeting place
Aula senato.jpg
Palazzo Madama, Rome
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Foreign relations

The Senate of the Republic (Italian : Senato della Repubblica) or Senate (Italian : Senato) is a house of the bicameral Italian Parliament (the other being the Chamber of Deputies). The two houses together form a perfect bicameral system, meaning they perform identical functions, but do so separately. Pursuant to Articles 57, 58, and 59 of the Italian Constitution, the Senate has a variable number of members, of which 309 are elected from Italian constituencies, 6 from Italian citizens living abroad, and a small number (currently 6) are senators for life (senatori a vita), either appointed or ex officio. It was established in its current form on 8 May 1948, but previously existed during the Kingdom of Italy as Senato del Regno (Senate of the Kingdom), itself a continuation of the Senato Subalpino (Subalpine Senate) of Sardinia established on 8 May 1848. Members of the Senate are styled Senator or The Honourable Senator (Italian: Onorevole Senatore) [1] and they meet at Palazzo Madama, Rome.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. In spite of not existing any Italian community in their respective national territories and of not being spoken at any level, Italian is included de jure, but not de facto, between the recognized minority languages of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Romania. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both standardized Italian and other regional languages.

Chamber of Deputies (Italy) lower house of the Parliament of Italy

The Chamber of Deputies is a house of the bicameral Parliament of Italy. The two houses together form a perfect bicameral system, meaning they perform identical functions, but do so separately. Pursuant to article 56 of the Italian Constitution, the Chamber of Deputies has 630 seats, of which 618 are elected from Italian constituencies, and 12 from Italian citizens living abroad. Deputies are styled The Honourable and meet at Palazzo Montecitorio. The Chamber and the parliamentary system of the Italian Republic and under the previous Kingdom of Italy is a continuation of the traditions and procedures of the Parliament and Chamber of Deputies as established under King Charles Albert (1798–1849), during the Revolutions of 1848, and his son Victor Emmanuel II (1820–1878) of the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont which led in the "Italian unification Risorgimento movement" of the 1850s and 1860s, under the leadership of then-Prime Minister Count Camillo Benso of Cavour.

Constitution of Italy supreme law of Italy

The Constitution of the Italian Republic was enacted by the Constituent Assembly on 22 December 1947, with 453 votes in favour and 62 against. The text, which has since been amended 15 times, was promulgated in the extraordinary edition of Gazzetta Ufficiale No. 298 on 27 December 1947. The Constituent Assembly was elected by universal suffrage on 2 June 1946, at the same time as a referendum on the abolition of the monarchy. The Constitution came into force on 1 January 1948, one century after the Statuto Albertino had been enacted. Although the latter remained in force after Benito Mussolini's March on Rome in 1922, it had become devoid of substantive value.



Number of senators currently assigned to each Region. Italian senators.png
Number of senators currently assigned to each Region.

The Senate consists of 315 elected members, and as of 2018 six senators for life. The elected senators must be over 40 years of age and are elected by Italian citizens aged 25 or older.

The Senate (except for six senators who represent Italians residing abroad and the senators for life) is elected on a regional basis. The 309 senators are assigned to each region proportionally according to their population. However, Article 57 of the Constitution provides that no region can have fewer than seven senators representing it, except for the Aosta Valley (which has one) and Molise (which has two).

Aosta Valley Autonomous region of Italy

The Aosta Valley is a mountainous autonomous region in northwestern Italy. It is bordered by Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France, to the west, Valais, Switzerland, to the north and by the Metropolitan City of Turin in the region of Piedmont, Italy, to the south and east.

Molise Region of Italy

Molise is a region of Southern Italy. Until 1963, it formed part of the region of Abruzzi e Molise, alongside the region of Abruzzo. The split, which did not become effective until 1970, makes Molise the youngest region in Italy. The region covers 4,438 square kilometres (1,714 sq mi) and has a population of 313,348

RegionSeats [2] RegionSeatsRegionSeats
Flag of Abruzzo.svg Abruzzo 7 Flag of Friuli-Venezia Giulia.svg Friuli-Venezia Giulia 7 Flag of Sardinia.svg Sardinia 8
Flag of Valle d'Aosta.svg Aosta Valley 1 Flag of Lazio.svg Lazio 28 Flag of Sicily (revised).svg Sicily 25
Flag of Apulia.svg Apulia 20 Flag of Liguria.svg Liguria 8 Flag of Trentino-South Tyrol.svg Trentino-South Tyrol 7
Flag of Basilicata.svg Basilicata 7 Flag of Lombardy.svg Lombardy 49 Flag of Tuscany.svg Tuscany 18
Flag of Calabria.svg Calabria 10 Flag of Marche.svg Marche 8 Flag of Umbria.svg Umbria 7
Flag of Campania.svg Campania 29 Flag of Molise.svg Molise 2 Flag of Veneto.svg Veneto 24
Flag of Emilia-Romagna.svg Emilia-Romagna 22 Flag of Piedmont.svg Piedmont 22 Overseas constituencies 6

The senators for life are composed of former Presidents of the Italian Republic who hold office ex officio , and up to five citizens who are appointed by the President "for outstanding merits in the social, scientific, artistic or literary field". The current life senators are: [3]

Senator for lifeAppointmentSinceParliamentary group
Giorgio Napolitano [4]
Politician, former President of the Republic
Ex officio
(Previously appointed by Carlo Azeglio Ciampi)
14 January 2015 (ex officio)
23 September 2005 to 15 May 2006 (appointed)
For the Autonomies
Mario Monti [5]
Economist, former Prime Minister
Appointed by Giorgio Napolitano 9 November 2011 Mixed Group
Elena Cattaneo [6]
Professor of pharmacology
Appointed by Giorgio Napolitano 30 August 2013 For the Autonomies
Renzo Piano [7]
Pritzker Prize-winning architect
Appointed by Giorgio Napolitano 30 August 2013 For the Autonomies
Carlo Rubbia [8]
Nobel Prize-winning particle physicist and inventor
Appointed by Giorgio Napolitano 30 August 2013 For the Autonomies
Liliana Segre [9]
Holocaust survivor
Appointed by Sergio Mattarella 19 January 2018 Mixed Group

The current term of the Senate is five years, except for senators for life that hold their office for their lifetime. Until a Constitutional change on February 9, 1963, the Senate was elected for six-year terms. The Senate may be dissolved before the expiration of its normal term by the President of the Republic (e.g. when no government can obtain a majority).

President of Italy head of state of Italy

The President of the Italian Republic is the head of state of Italy and in that role represents national unity and guarantees that Italian politics comply with the Constitution. The President's term of office lasts for seven years. The 11th President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, was elected on 10 May 2006 and elected to a second term for the first time in Italian Republic history on 20 April 2013. Following Napolitano's resignation, the incumbent President, former Constitutional judge Sergio Mattarella, was elected at the fourth ballot with 665 votes out of 1,009 on 31 January 2015.


In 2016, Italian Parliament passed a constitutional law that "effectively abolishes the Senate as an elected chamber and sharply restricts its ability to veto legislation". The law was rejected on December 4, 2016 by a referendum, [10] leaving the Senate unchanged.

Election of the Senate

According to article 58 of the Italian constitution, people aged more than 25 years are enabled to vote for the Senate. [11]

The electoral system is a parallel voting system, with 37% of seats allocated using first-past-the-post voting (FPTP) and 63% using proportional representation, allocated with the largest remainder method, with one round of voting.

The voter can cast their vote in three different ways:


The current membership of the Senate of the Republic, following the latest political elections of 4 March 2018:

Centre-right coalition League (L)5818.4
Forza Italia (FI)5818.4
Brothers of Italy (FdI)165.1
Us with Italy (NcI)51.6
Total seats13743.5
Five Star Movement (M5S)11235.5
Centre-left coalition Democratic Party (PD)5316.8
More Europe (+E)10.3
Together (I)10.3
Popular Civic List (CP)10.3
Aosta Valley (VdA)10.3
Total seats6019.1
Free and Equal (LeU)41.3
Associative Movement Italians Abroad (MAIE)10.3
South American Union Italian Emigrants (USEI)10.3
Popular vote (S)
Distribution of the 315 parliamentary seats (S)


Under the current Constitution, the Senate must hold its first sitting no later than 20 days after a general election. That session, presided by the oldest senator, proceeds to elect the President of the Senate for the following parliamentary period. On the first two attempts at voting, an absolute majority of all senators is needed; if a third round is needed, a candidate can be elected by an absolute majority of the senators present and voting. If this third round fails to produce a winner, a final ballot is held between the two senators with the highest votes in the previous ballot. In the case of a tie, the elder senator is deemed the winner.

In addition to overseeing the business of the chamber, chairing and regulating debates, deciding whether motions and bills are admissible, representing the Senate, etc., the President of the Senate stands in for the President of the Republic when the latter is unable to perform the duties of the office; in this case the Senate is headed by a vice president. [12]

The current President of the Senate is Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati.

Recent Presidents of the Italian Senate:

Ivanoe Bonomi (PSDI)8 May 1948 – 20 April 1951I
Enrico De Nicola (PLI)28 April 1951 – 24 June 1952I
Giuseppe Paratore (PLI)26 June 1952 – 24 March 1953I
Meuccio Ruini (Independent)25 March 1953 – 25 June 1953I
Cesare Merzagora (Independent)25 June 1953 – 7 November 1967II, III, IV
Ennio Zelioli-Lanzini (DC)8 November 1967 – 4 June 1968IV
Amintore Fanfani (DC)5 June 1968 – 26 June 1973V, VI
Giovanni Spagnolli (DC)27 June 1973 – 4 July 1976VI
Amintore Fanfani (DC)5 July 1976 – 1 December 1982VII, VIII
Tommaso Morlino (DC)9 December 1982 – 6 May 1983VIII
Vittorino Colombo (DC)12 May 1983 – 11 July 1983VIII
Francesco Cossiga (DC)12 July 1983 – 24 June 1985IX
Amintore Fanfani (DC)9 July 1985 – 17 April 1987IX
Giovanni Malagodi (PLI)22 April 1987 – 1 July 1987IX
Giovanni Spadolini (PRI)2 July 1987 – 16 April 1994X, XI
Carlo Scognamiglio (FI)16 April 1994 – 9 May 1996XII
Nicola Mancino (PPI)9 May 1996 – 30 May 2001XIII
Marcello Pera (FI)30 May 2001 – 29 April 2006XIV
Franco Marini (PD)29 April 2006 – 29 April 2008XV
Renato Schifani (PdL)29 April 2008 – 16 March 2013XVI
Pietro Grasso (PD)16 March 2013 – 23 March 2018XVII
Maria Elisabetta Alberti Casellati (FI)24 March 2018 – presentXVIII

Palazzo Madama

Palazzo Madama as it appeared in 17th century Roma - Palazzo Madama.jpg
Palazzo Madama as it appeared in 17th century
Palazzo Madama today Palazzo Madama - Roma.jpg
Palazzo Madama today

Since 1871, the Senate has met in Palazzo Madama in Rome, an old patrician palace completed in 1505 for the Medici family. The palace takes its name from Madama Margherita of Austria, daughter of Charles V and wife of Alessandro de' Medici. After the extinction of the Medici, the palace was handed over to the House of Lorraine. and, later, it was sold to Papal Government.

Later, in 1755, Pope Benedict XIV (whose coat of arms still dominates the main entrance) ordered major restructuring, entrusting the work to Luigi Hostini. In the following years there were installed the court offices and police headquarters. In 1849, Pius IX moved the Ministries of Finances and of the Public Debt here, as well as the Papal Post Offices. After the conquest of Rome by the newly formed Kingdom of Italy, the palace was chosen to become the seat of the Senato del Regno (Senate of the Kingdom).

Cicero Denounces Catiline Maccari-Cicero.jpg
Cicero Denounces Catiline

Palazzo Madama and the adjacent buildings underwent further restructuring and adaptation in the first decades of the 20th century. A radical transformation which involved, among other things, the modernization of the hemicycle, the full remaking of the prospectus on Via San Salvatore and Via Dogana Vecchia, and the establishment of a connection with the adjacent Palazzo Carpegna. The latter, owned by the Senate, was entirely rebuilt in an advanced position compared to its original position. The small church of San Salvatore in Thermis, dating to the 6th century, which stood in the street to the left of the palace, was first closed, expropriated and later razed for security reasons.

The current façade was built in the mid-1650s by both Cigoli and Paolo Maruccelli. The latter added the ornate cornice and whimsical decorative urns on the roof. Among the rooms one of the most significant (and perhaps the most impressive from the political point of view) is the "Sala Maccari," which takes its name from Cesare Maccari, the artist who decorated it in 1880 and created the frescoes, among which stands out as one that depicts Cicero makes his indictment of Catiline, who listens, isolated from their seats.

The chamber where the Senate met for the first time on 27 November 1871 was designed by Luigi Gabet. A plaque on the wall behind the speaker's chair commemorates the king's address to Parliament when first convened in the new seat of government:


"Italy is restored to herself and to Rome... Here, where we recognise the fatherland of our thoughts, all things speak to us of greatness; but at the same time all things remind us of our duties..." - Victor Emmanuel II, 27 November 1871

Above this has been placed a plaque bearing the inscription:

IL 2 GIUGNO 1946
On 2 June 1946
by popular suffrage
in defence of public liberty
and a certainty of civic progress
was proclaimed
the Italian Republic

To the viewers' left stand the flags of the Italian Republic (with a ribbon embroidered with the words SENATO DELLA REPUBBLICA) and the European Union.

See also

Related Research Articles

Italian Parliament legislature of Italy

The Italian Parliament is the national parliament of the Italian Republic. The Parliament is the representative body of Italian citizens and is the successor to the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia (1848–1861) and the Parliament of the Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946). It is a bicameral legislature with 945 elected members and a small number of unelected members (parlamentari). It is composed of the Chamber of Deputies, with 630 members (deputati) elected on a national basis, and the Senate of the Republic, with 315 members (senatori) elected on a regional basis, plus a small number of senators for life, either appointed or ex officio. The two houses are independent from one another and never meet jointly except under circumstances specified by the Constitution.

Palazzo Madama seat of the Senate of the Italian Republic

Palazzo Madama in Rome is the seat of the Senate of the Italian Republic.

Graziano Girardi is an Italian Venetist politician.

Senate of the Kingdom of Italy

The Senate of the Kingdom of Italy was the upper house of the bicameral parliament of the Kingdom of Italy, established on 17 March 1861 upon Italian unification to replace the Subalpine Senate. It was suppressed on 7 November 1947 and replaced by the present-day Senate of the Republic. Its members were all appointed by the king of Italy.

United to the Left was a network of leftist groups associated with the Communist Refoundation Party (PRC) in Italy from 2005 to 2009. At some point it claimed to have 20,000 members and 300 clubs all around Italy.

Elisabetta Casellati Member of Italian Senate

Maria Elisabetta Alberti, married Casellati, is an Italian politician and the current President of the Italian Senate. She is the first Italian woman to have ever held this position. Casellati is a long-time member of the liberal-conservative party, Forza Italia, and served as an undersecretary of Health and Justice in previous governments. She is also known with the acronym MEAC.

Mariarosaria Rossi is an Italian politician who served from 2008 to 2012 in the XVI Chamber of Deputies of the Legislatura della Repubblica Italiana, and from 2012 in the XVII Senate of the Republic. She represented Il Popolo della Libertà, Silvio Berlusconi's The People of Freedom party, and from 2013 Forza Italia.

Michela Antonia Montevecchi is an Italian politician.

Mixed Group is a parliamentary group active in both houses of the Italian Parliament, the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. The groups comprise all the deputies and the senators, respectively, who are not members of any other parliamentary group. For them, membership to the Mixed Groups is the default option.

Conservatives and Reformists (Italy) Italian political party

The Conservatives and Reformists were a broadly conservative and, to some extent, Christian-democratic and liberal political party in Italy, led by Raffaele Fitto.

Emilio Molinari is an Italian politician. From 1984-1985 he served as a Member of the European Parliament, representing Italy for Proletarian Democracy. From 1992–1994 he served as a Senator, representing Lombardy for the Federation of the Greens.

President of the Senate (Italy)

The President of the Senate of the Republic is the presiding officer of the Italian Senate. The President of the Senate is the second-highest ranking office of the Italian Republic.

Palazzo Giustiniani, Rome palace in Rome, Italy

Palazzo Giustiniani or the Piccolo Colle is a palace on the Via della Dogana Vecchia and Piazza della Rotonda, in Sant'Eustachio, Rome.

Gianni Fava Italian politician

Giovanni Fava is an Italian politician of Lega Nord, MP in the Italian Chamber of Deputies from 28 April 2006 to 4 June 2013 and Mayor of Pomponesco for two consecutive full terms from 22 November 1993 to 13 May 2001.

Next Italian general election

The next Italian general election is due to be held no later than 28 May 2023.

Italian electoral law of 2017

The Italian Electoral law of 2017, colloquially known by the nickname Rosatellum bis or simply Rosatellum, after Ettore Rosato, the Democratic leader in the Chamber of Deputies who first proposed the new law, is a parallel voting system, which act as a mixed system, with 37% of seats allocated using a first past the post electoral system and 61% using a proportional method, with one round of voting. The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies did not differ in the way they allocated the proportional seats, both using the largest remainder method of allocating seats.

Legislature XVIII of Italy legislative term

The Legislature XVIII of Italy started on 23 March 2018 and is the current legislature of the Italian Parliament. The composition of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Senate is the one resulting from the 4 March 2018 election, called after the dissolution of the Parliament announced by President Sergio Mattarella on 28 December 2017.

Legislature XVII of Italy legislative term

The Legislature XVII of Italy started on 15 March 2013 and ended on 22 March 2018. Its composition was the one resulting from the general election of 24–25 February 2013, called after the dissolution of the houses of Parliament announced by President Giorgio Napolitano on 22 December 2012.

Legislature XV of Italy legislative term

The Legislature XV of Italy started on 28 April 2006 and ended on 28 April 2008. Its composition resulted from the election of 9–10 April 2006, called after President Ciampi dissolved the houses on 11 February 2006, at the end of the previous legislature. This legislature was the second shortest in in the history of the Italian Republic, lasting exactly two years, and ending when President Giorgio Napolitano dissolved the houses on 6 February 2008, after a vote of no confidence on the incumbent Prodi Cabinet.


  1. "Onorevole: Definizione e significato di onorevole - Dizionario italiano -".
  2. " - XVII Legislatura - Senatori eletti nella regione Piemonte".
  3. "Berlusconi allies hit out over president's lifetime senator snub". Financial Times. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  4. " - Scheda di attività di Giorgio NAPOLITANO - XVII Legislatura".
  5. " - Scheda di attività di Mario MONTI - XVII Legislatura".
  6. " - Scheda di attività di Elena CATTANEO - XVII Legislatura".
  7. " - Scheda di attività di Renzo PIANO - XVII Legislatura".
  8. " - Scheda di attività di Carlo RUBBIA - XVII Legislatura".
  9. " - Scheda di attività di Liliana SEGRE - XVII Legislatura".
  10. "Italy passes Renzi's flagship reform, opening way for referendum". Reuters. 2016-04-12. Retrieved 2018-03-07.
  11. "Constitute". Retrieved 2018-07-12.
  12. (in Italian) G. Buonomo - M. Consentino, Il Vicario del Presidente nelle Assemblee parlamentari con particolare riferimento al Senato della Repubblica italiana, in Il Parlamento, n. 10.12/1999, p. 24-37}.

Coordinates: 41°53′57.09″N12°28′27.4″E / 41.8991917°N 12.474278°E / 41.8991917; 12.474278