Italian Constitutionalism and Its Origins  

by Steven G. Calabresi and Matteo Godi

Focusing on the evolution of constitutional thought in Italy is key to understand not only Italy’s current legal order, but also constitutionalism more generally. In Italy, there has not been a true rupture point between the pre-unitary legal systems and the new constitutional order; a comprehensive study of Italian constitutional law, then, cannot do away with the preceding legal orders as modern textbooks do. And a study of modern constitutionalism cannot ignore Italy’s contribution: centuries of attempts at constitutionalizing, detached from any meaningful revolutionary vacuum. This Article sets out to fill that gap by focusing on the little known, three-centuries-long history of Italian constitutionalism, and it does so by offering many previously unpublished English translations of Italian constitutions. Part II discusses the genesis of modern constitutional thought in Italy. It focuses, in particular, on the Draft Constitution of Tuscany (1787); the Second Constitution of the Cisalpine Republic (1798); and the Constitution of the Kingdom of Italy (1802). Part III analyzes the Albertine Statute, the most famous pre-modern Italian constitution, first enacted in 1848 by the Kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia and later extended to the entire nation following the unification of Italy in 1861. Part IV briefly focuses on the 1948 Constitution of the Italian Republic – Italy’s current constitutional document. Part V extrapolates from this history in order to make a few normative claims. A brief conclusion follows.

DOI 10.23815/2421-2156.ITALJ           ISSN 2421-2156

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