The Ceremonial duties of the Italian Republic are handled by the Government, and are organised as follows:
- State Ceremonial of the Prime Minister’s Office: at a national level
- Diplomatic Ceremonial of the Republic c/o Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE): at international level
- Military Ceremonial c/o Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces: for military aspects
The National Ceremonial primarily deals with official representation of the State and its constitutional and public bodies, in particular:
- the staging of official ceremonies
- public festivities
- national mourning
- use of the national flag and national anthem
- hierarchy of public offices
- honours of the Republic and heraldry
- military and maritime ceremonial
The Diplomatic ceremonial deals with formal relations among States and their representatives, as well as the security, immunity and privileges of diplomats.
The Diplomatic Ceremonial is governed by the historic Vienna Convention of 18 April 1961, and is based on two fundamental principles, reciprocity and uniformity of treatment; the Convention brings together the rules and usages that have developed over time and been adopted by States in mutual diplomatic relations.
The most important of all uses is, undoubtedly, respect for and observance of the rules and customs of the host Country.
To facilitate this task, it is good practice for the various States involved to interact. In Italy the Diplomatic Ceremonial of Foreign Affairs collaborates with the State Ceremonial of the Prime Minister’s Office and, when applicable, with the Vatican Ceremonial and/or Ceremonial of the S.M.O.M., following the “unwritten rules” that have always existed and the written rules of the Vienna Convention.