Arms of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

Friuli Venezia Giulia

Granted 2001

Blazon: Azure an eagle rising, wings elevated and addorsed or perched on a city wall proper

These are the kind of arms I really like: ones that tell a story (no matter how improbable) in a very compressed format. This device goes back to the ancient Roman city of Aquileia. Legend has it that the city was founded when a group of citizens followed an eagle (aquila in Latin) to the site where they founded the city. Aquileia eventually expanded into the Patriarchate of Aquileia, and in 1077, the patriarch was granted the title of Duke of Friuli, resulting in the creation of the Patria del Friuli. Venice acquired Friuli in 1420, and the territory got passed back and forth between Venice and Austria until it ended up in the Kingdom of Italy. Through all of this, the eagle or on azure seems to have been pretty constant, though it was typically displayed and armed gules. The position adjustment and the addition of the wall seem to have been modern tweaks. I always really enjoy finding arms that can be traced back so far!

Arms of Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Emilia-Romagna

Granted 1989

Blazon: Per bend vert and argent, a chief wavy of the second

Of course this is the result of multiple twentieth-century competitions, because obviously it is. I’ll admit to being deeply annoyed by these arms, less because they’re not visually appealing (they are), but more because I don’t really know what to do with them. They just don’t read as arms to me; they read like a logo, which seems to have been the point of the contest. It’s a very different aesthetic feeling. I’m not entirely satisfied with how I’ve chosen to describe this in the language of blazon, because it’s not the kind of thing that blazon was intended to describe. But it’s specifically described and enshrined in law as Emilia-Romagna’s coat of arms, so here we are.

Arms of Campania, Italy

Campania

Granted 1971

Blazon: Argent a bend gules

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that the lack of information on these arms is pretty typical of very simple coats. I don’t necessarily mean a lack of information on the history of the arms – Campania first adopted arms in the thirteenth century, which featured both the bend gules and a Maltese cross (from the arms of Amalfi), so the history of the bend is well-established. No, I mean I have no goddamn idea where the bend comes from. Honestly, there might not be much of a reason, which is not my favorite answer, but still a possibility.

Arms of Calabria, Italy

Calabria

Granted 1992

Blazon: Per saltire or and argent; in chief a larch pine eradicated vert, in dexter a cross paté pommettée of eight, in sinister a cross potent sable, in base a Doric capital azure

I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear that every one of these charges has a specific symbolic and/or historical meaning. The pine tree is both a common species in the region (Pinus nigra laricio, if you’re curious) and a symbol of the region’s natural beauty. The capital is, unsurprisingly, a reference to the area’s legacy as part of Magna Graecia. The dexter cross is representative of the time the region spent as part of the Byzantine Empire, and the sinister cross represents Bohemond I of Antioch and those who accompanied him on the First Crusade. (Bohemond was the son of the count of Apulia and Calabria before he headed off to the Holy Land and founded his own principality.)

The dexter cross seems to be described variously as a Greek cross (no), pommé (sort of?), and a Byzantine cross (maybe, if there was any kind of consensus as to what that means). I don’t think any of those accurately describe what’s depicted here, so I did my best to describe it with the terms I’m familiar with. (In case you can’t tell, I borrowed some of the language from the traditional description of a cross of Toulouse.) The sinister cross is almost definitely supposed to be a cross potent, due to the reference to Jerusalem, but it seems to be drawn more like a very weird cross crosslet.

Arms of Basilicata, Italy

Basilicata

Granted 1973

Blazon: Argent four barrulets wavy azure

The barrulets are specifically intended to represent the four major rivers of the region – the Bradano, Basento, Agri, and Sinni. This was apparently one of three proposed coats of arms in the region. I can’t find any previous arms for the region; it looks like it took on the arms of whatever individual or organization was ruling the region at the time.

Arms of Puglia, Italy

Puglia

Granted 1988?

Blazon: Azure on an octagon argent within a bordure gules an olive tree eradicated proper, on a chief or six pommes

:deep breath: Okay, here we go: the blue represents the sea, the octagon is the eight-sided medieval Castel del Monte, the olive tree actually does symbolize “peace and brotherhood” in this context, at least according to the municipal website, and the six pommes stand for the six provinces of the region :exhales: I think I covered everything! My God, Italians really are this extra, at least when it comes to their heraldic symbolism. This is both delightful and moderately exhausting; not everything has to have a larger meaning, y’all! Sometimes things can just look good!

Arms of the Aosta Valley, Italy

Aosta Valley

Granted 1987; possibly in use since 1720

Blazon: Sable a lion rampant argent armed and langued gules

The association of the lion with the region of Aosta (whether as a county, duchy, autonomous region, or city) appears to be both obscure and extremely ancient. It was apparently already in widespread use by noble families of the area, as well as some ecclesiastics, in the twelfth century. The regional government admits they’re not sure of its exact origins, so I’m not sure I’m going to be able to dig anything else up. By the early 1700s, though, the current blazon was firmly associated with the duchy, and it appears on both state seals and as a quarter in other, more complex coats of arms. The ducal line of Savoy-Aosta preferred gules a cross argent within a bordure compony or and azure, but it seems like the lion remained in use for municipal purposes.