Statuto Albertino

Statuto Albertino  (1894) 
translated by
Samuel McCune Lindsay and Leo Stanton Rowe

The 1848 Constitution of Sardinia, adopted as the Italian constitution in 1861

The Constitution of Sardinia (1848)

The Constitution of Italy (1861)

(Charles Albert, by the Grace of God, King of Sardinia, Cyprus and Jerusalem, Duke of Savoy, Genoa, Monferrato, Aosta, of the Chiablese, Genovese and of Piacenza; Prince of Piedmont and Oneglia; Marquis of Italy, Saluzzo, Ivrea, Susa, Ceva, of the Maro, of Oristano, of Cesana and Savona; Count of Moriana, Geneva, Nice, Tenda, Romonte, Asti, Alexandria, Goceano, Novara, Tortona, Vigevano and of Bobbio; Baron of Vaud and Faucigny; Lord of Vercelli, Pinerolo, Tarantasia, of the Lomellina and of the Valley of Sesia, etc., etc., etc.)

With the fidelity of a king and the affection of a father, we are about to-day to fulfill all that we promised our most beloved subjects in our proclamation of the eighth of last February, whereby we desired to show, in the midst of the extraordinary events then transpiring throughout the country, how much our confidence in our subjects increased with the gravity of the situation, and how, consulting only the impulse of our heart, we had fully determined to make their conditions conform to the spirit of the times and the interests and dignity of the nation.

We, believing that the broad and permanent representative institutions established by this fundamental statute are the surest means of cementing the bonds of indissoluble affection that bind to our crown a people that has so often given us ample proof of their faithfulness, obedience, and love, have determined to sanction and promulgate this statute. We believe, further, that God will bless our good intentions, and that this free, strong, and happy nation will ever show itself more deserving of its ancient fame and thus merit a glorious future.

Therefore, we, with our full knowledge and royal authority and with the advice of our Council, have ordained and do hereby ordain and declare in force the fundamental perpetual and irrevocable statute and law of the monarchy as follows:

Article 1. The Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion is the sole religion of the state. All other forms of worship now existing are tolerated in conformity with the law.

Article 2. The state is governed by a representative monarchical government. The throne is hereditary according to the Salic law.

Article 3. The legislative power shall be exercised collectively by the King and two Chambers, the Senate, and the Chamber of Deputies.

Article 4. The person of the King is sacred and inviolable.

Article 5. The executive power is reserved to the King alone. He is the supreme head of the state; he commands all the armed forces on land and sea; he declares war, makes treaties of peace, of alliance, of commerce, and of other kinds, giving notice of them to the Chambers as soon as the interest and security of the state allow, and accompanying such notice with opportune explanations. Treaties entailing either a financial burden or changes in the territories of the state shall have effect only after the approval of the two Chambers.

Article 6. The King makes all appointments to offices of the state; he issues the decrees and regulations necessary for the execution of the laws, without suspending or dispensing with the observance thereof.

Article 7. The King alone has the power to sanction and promulgate laws.

Article 8. The King can grant clemency and commute sentences.

Article 9. The King convenes the two Chambers annually; he may prorogue [discontinue] their Sessions and dissolve the Chamber of Deputies; but in the latter case he shall convene a new Chamber within four months.

Article 10. The King and the two Chambers have the right to propose legislation, but all laws imposing taxes or approving the budgets and accounts of the state shall be presented first in the Chamber of Deputies

Article 11. The King shall attain his majority upon completion of his eighteenth year.

Article 12. During the King's minority, the Prince who his nearest relative in the order of succession to the throne, shall be regent of the realm, provided he be twenty-one years of age.

Article 13. Should the Prince upon whom the regency devolves be still in his minority and this duty pass to a more distant relative, the regent who actually takes office shall continue in the same until the King becomes of age.

Article 14. In the absence of male relatives, the regency devolves upon the Queen-Mother.

Article 15. In the event of the prior decease of the Queen-Mother, the regent shall be elected by the legislative Chambers, convoked within ten days by the Ministers of the Crown.

Article 16. The preceding provisions in reference to the regency are also applicable in case the King has attained his majority, but is physically incapable of reigning. Under such circumstances, if the heir presumptive to the throne be eighteen years of age, he shall be regent of full right.

Article 17. The Queen-Mother has charge of the education of the King until he has completed his seventeenth year; from this time on, his guardianship passes into the hands of the regent.

Article 18. All rights pertaining to the civil power in matters of ecclesiastical benefices and in the execution of all regulations whatsoever coming from foreign countries shall be exercised by the King.

Article 19. The civil list of the Crown shall remain, during the present reign, at an amount equal to the average of the same for the past ten years. The King shall continue to have the use of the royal palaces, villas, gardens and their appurtenances, and also of all chattels intended for the use of the Crown, of which a speedy inventory shall be made by a responsible ministerial department. In the future the prescribed dotation of the Crown shall be fixed the first for the duration of each reign by legislature subsequent to the King's accession to the throne. [After King Humbert I. ascended the throne, a law dated June 27, 1880, fixed the annual dotation of the Crown, but the sum was increased in 1890 to 14,250,000 lire.]

Article 20. The property that the King possesses in his right, shall form his private patrimony, together with that to which he may acquire title either for a consideration or gratuitously in the course of his reign. The King may dispose of his private patrimony either by deed or will exempt from the provisions of the civil law as to the amount thus disposable. In all other cases, the King's patrimony is subject to the laws that govern other property.

Article 21. The law shall provide an annual civil list the heir apparent to the throne when he has attained majority, and also earlier on occasion of his marriage; for the allowances of the Princes of the royal family and royal blood within the specified conditions; for the dowries of the Princesses and for the dowries of the Queens.

Article 22. Upon ascending the throne, the King shall take an oath in the presence of the two chambers to observe faithfully the present constitution.

Article 23. The regent, before entering on the duties of that office, shall swear fidelity to the King and faithful observance of this constitution and the laws of the State.


Article 24. All subjects of the Kingdom are equal before the law, regardless of their rank or title. All shall equally enjoy civil and political rights and shall be eligible to civil and military offices, except as otherwise provided by law.

Article 25. All shall contribute without distinction to the burdens of the state, in proportion to their possessions.

Article 26. Individual liberty is guaranteed. No one shall be arrested or brought to trial except in cases and in the manner prescribed by law.

Article 27. The domicile is inviolable. No search of domicile shall be permitted except in cases and in the manner prescribed by law.

Article 28. The press shall be free, but the law may suppress abuses of this freedom. However, Bibles, catechisms, liturgical and prayer books shall not be printed without the prior permission of the [local] bishop.

Article 29. All forms of property without exception are inviolable. However, when legally ascertained public interest requires it, one may be obliged to give up such property wholly or in part, with just compensation and in conformity with the law.

Article 30. No tax shall be levied or collected without the consent of the Chambers and the King.

Article 31. The public debt is guaranteed. Every obligation of the State to its creditors is inviolable.

Article 32. The right of peaceful assembly, without arms, is recognized, subject however, to the laws that may regulate the exercise of this privilege in the interest of public welfare. This privilege is not applicable, however, to meetings in public places or places open to the public, which shall remain entirely subject to police law and regulation.


Article 33. The Senate shall be composed of members, having attained the age of forty years, appointed for life by the King, without limit of numbers. They shall be selected from the following categories of citizens:

(1) Archbishops and Bishops of the State.

(2) The President of the Chamber of Deputies.

(3) Deputies after having served in three Legislatures of after six years of membership in the (Chamber of Deputies.

(4) Ministers of State.

(5) Secretaries to Ministers of State.

(6) Ambassadors.

(7) Envoys Extraordinary after three years of such service.

(8) The First Presidents of the Courts of Cassation and of the Chamber of Accounts.

(9) The First Presidents of the Courts of Appeal.

(10) The Attorney-General of the Courts of Cassation and the Prosecutor-General, after five years of service.

(11) The presidents of the Chambers of the Courts of Appeal after three years of service.

(12) The councilors of the Courts of Cassation and of the Chamber of Accounts after five years.

(13) The Advocates-General and Fiscals-General of the Counts of Appeal after five years of service.

(14) All military officers of the land and naval forces with title of general. Major-generals and rear-admirals after five years of active service in this capacity.

(15) The Councilors of State after five years of service.

(16) The members of the Provincial Councils after three elections to their presidency.

(17) The provincial Governors after seven years of service.

(18) Members of the Royal Academy of Science of seven years standing.

(19) Ordinary members of the Superior Council of Public Instruction after seven years of service.

(20) Those who by their service or eminent merit have done honor to their country.

(21) Person who, for at least three years, have paid direct property or occupation taxes to the amount of 3,000 lire.

Article 34. The Princes of the Royal Family shall be members of the Senate. They shall take rank immediately after the President. They shall enter the Senate at the age of twenty-one and have a vote at twenty-five.

Article 35. The President and Vice-Presidents of the Senate shall be appointed by the King, but the Senate chooses from among its own members its secretaries.

Article 36. The Senate may be constituted a High Court of Justice by decree of the King for judging crimes of high treason and attempts upon the safety of the State, also for trying Ministers placed in accusation by the Chamber of Deputies. When acting in this capacity, the Senate is not a political body. It shall not then occupy itself with any other judicial matters than those for which it was convened; any other action is null and void.

Article 37. No Senator shall be arrested except by virtue of an order of the Senate, unless in cases of flagrant commission of crime. The Senate shall be the sole judge of the imputed misdemeanors of its members.

Article 38. Legal documents as to births, marriages, and deaths in the Royal Family shall be presented to the Senate and deposited by that body among its archives.


Article 39. The elective Chamber shall be composed of Deputies chosen from electoral constituencies in conformity with the law.

Article 40. No Deputy shall be admitted to the Chamber unless he is a subject of the King, has reached the age of thirty, enjoys civil and political rights, and fulfills other requirements specified by law.

Article 41. The deputies represent the Nation in general, and not solely the provinces in which they were elected. No binding instructions may therefore be given by the electors.

Article 42. Deputies are elected for a period of five years; their mandate ceases automatically at the expiration of this period.

Article 43. The President, Vice-Presidents, and Secretaries of the Chamber of Deputies are chosen by the Chamber at the beginning of every Session for its entire duration.

Article 44. If a Deputy ceases, for whatever reason, to perform his duties, the constituency which had elected him shall be convened at once to hold a new election.

Article 45. Deputies shall be privileged from arrest during the sessions, except in cases of flagrant commission of crime; but no Deputy may be brought to trial in criminal matters without the previous consent of the Chamber.

Article 46. No warrant of arrest for debts shall be executed against a Deputy while the Chamber is in session, nor for the three weeks immediately preceding or following the same.

Article 47. The Chamber of Deputies shall have power impeach Ministers of the Crown and to bring them to trial before the High Court of Justice [the Senate].


Article 48. The sessions of the Senate and Chamber of Deputies shall begin and end at the same time, and every meeting of one Chamber, at a time when the other is not in session is illegal and its acts wholly null and void.

Article 49. Senators and Deputies before entering upon the duties of their office shall take an oath of fidelity to the King and swear to observe faithfully the Constitution and laws of the State and to perform their duties with the joint welfare of King and country as the sole end in view.

Article 50. The offices of Senator and Deputy are without remuneration or monetary compensation of any kind.

Article 51. Senators and Deputies shall not be held accountable for opinions expressed and votes given in the Chambers.

Article 52. The Sessions of the Chambers shall be public; but upon the written request of ten members secret sessions may be held.

Article 53. No session or vote of either Chamber shall be legal or valid unless an absolute majority of its members is present.

Article 54. The action of either Chamber on any question shall be determined by a majority of the votes cast.

Article 55. All bills shall first be examined by the Committees each Chamber shall elect for preliminary consideration. After a bill is discussed and approved by a Chamber, it shall be transmitted to the other Chamber for debate and approval; thereafter, it shall be transmitted to the King for his sanction. Bills shall be discussed article by article.

Article 56. Any bill rejected by one of the three legislative powers [Chamber of Deputies, Senate, and the King], shall not be presented again during the same Session.

Article 57. Every person who shall have attained his elected majority has the right to send petitions to the Chambers, which in turn must order them to be examined by a committee; on report of the committee each House shall decide whether they are to be taken into consideration, and if voted in the affirmative, they shall be referred to the competent Minister or shall be deposited with a Government Department for proper action.

Article 58. No petition may be presented in person to either Chamber. No persons except the constituted authorities shall have the right to submit petitions in their collective capacity.

Article 59. The Chambers shall not receive any deputation nor give hearing to other than their own members and the Ministers and Commissioners of the Government.

Article 60. Each Chamber shall be sole judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members.

Article 61. The Senate as well as the Chamber of Deputies shall make its own rules and regulations respecting its methods of procedure in the performance of its respective duties.

Article 62. Italian shall be the official language of the Chambers. The use of French shall, however, be permitted to those members coming from French-speaking districts and to other members in replying to the same.

Article 63. Votes shall be taken by rising, by division, and by secret ballot. The latter method, however, shall always be employed for the final vote on a law and in all cases of a personal nature.

Article 64. No one shall be a Senator and a Deputy at the same time.


Article 65. The King appoints and dismisses his Ministers.

Article 66. Ministers shall have not vote in either Chamber unless they are members thereof. They have the right of entrance to both Chambers and must be heard upon request.

Article 67. The Ministers shall be responsible. Laws and acts of the government shall not take effect without the signature of a Minister.


Article 68. Justice emanates from the King and is administered in his name by such judges as he shall appoint.

Article 69. Except for cantonal or district judges, judges appointed by the King shall be irremovable after three years of service.

Article 70. Courts, tribunals, and judges currently existing are retained. The judicial organization may not be altered except by legislation.

Article 71. No one shall be withdrawn from his ordinary legal jurisdiction. Consequently, no extraordinary tribunals or commissions shall be created.

Article 72. Proceedings of tribunals in civil matters and hearings in criminal matters shall be public as provided by law.

Article 73. The interpretation of the laws, in the form obligatory upon all citizens, belongs exclusively to the legislative power.


Article 74 Communal and provincial institutions and the boundaries of the communes and provinces shall be regulated by law.

Article 75. The military conscriptions shall be regulated by law.

Article 76. A communal militia shall be established on a basis fixed by law.

Article 77. The State retains its flag, and the blue cockade the only national one.

Article 78. The knightly orders now in existence shall be maintained with their endowments, which shall not be used for other purposes than those specified in the acts by which they were established. The King may create other orders and prescribe their constitutions.

Article 79. Titles of nobility are maintained for those who have a right to them. The King may confer new titles.

Article 80. No one may receive orders, titles, or pensions from a foreign power without the King’s consent.

Article 81. All laws contrary to the present Statute are hereby abrogated.

Given at Turin on the fourth day of March, in the year of Our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight, and the eighteenth year of our reign.


Article 82. This statute shall go into effect on the day meeting of the Chambers, which shall take place immediately after the elections. Until that time urgent public service shall be provided for by royal ordinances according to the mode and form now in vogue, excepting, however, the ratifications and registrations in the courts which are from now on abolished.

Article 83. In the execution of this statute the King reserves to himself the right to make the laws for the press, elections, communal militia, and organization the Council of State. Until the publication of the laws the for the press, the regulations now in force on this subject remain valid.

Article 84. The Ministers are entrusted with, and are responsible for the execution and full observance of these transitory provisions.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1927.

The author died in 1960, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 60 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.