... devoted to the difficult fight against crime as representatives of law and order. The struggles which have taken place in the cities, small towns and in the countryside have resulted in numerous heroic acts and many deaths. The first of these was Carabiniere Giovanni Boccaccio, who was killed during a violent exchange of fire with dangerous criminals near Vernante, Cuneo on 23rd April 1815 after only 9 month from Force’s constitution.
Of all these anti-crime operations, particular mention should be made of those which took place in Upper Novarese, Asti Region, the Cuneo and Ivrea countryside which were particularly hostile areas.
In 1834 the young Carabiniere, Giovanni Battista Scapaccino, killed in action, was posthumously awarded the first Gold Medal for Military Valour ever bestowed on the Armed Forces. During the years that followed, the Carabinieri continued to work for security and national law and order for the public.
In 1856, Cambilargiu from Osilo, Sassari, head of a band of outlaws which had terrorized the local countryside and nearby towns was captured. Between 1860 and 1870 a vast operation was undertaken in the southern provinces of the region against crime and banditry resulting in a long term campaign during which 361 Carabinieri were killed and 516 injured.
By the end of the nineteenth century the fight against banditry was concentrated on many notorious criminals on a daily basis especially in the centre and south of Italy. Of all the military personnel who took part in these operations Captain Chiaffredo Bergia is particularly remembered. He was awarded the Knights Cross of the Italian Military Order and the Gold Medal for Military Valour for his involvement in several incidents of exchange of fire in the Abruzzo region with some of the most dangerous bandits of that time.
After the First World War between 1924 and 1933 banditry was concentrated in Sardinia, Sicily and Calabria. The Carabinieri frequently valiantly fought in bloody gunfights. During this period the Force was committed to the fight against mafia organizations cleansing vast areas of arbitrary vendettas and murders.
After the Second World War there was an outburst of various forms of banditry concentrated above all on the islands, particularly in Sicily. The operations against the Giuliano Band became a real military campaign. In the following years the Carabinieri Force continued in its quest against crime guaranteeing the safety and security of the population. As a testimony to this, an enduring fight against everyday crime, political eversion and mafia activities, common in the south of Italy, still continues today and has cost the Force many lives.
As well as its military and crime fighting skills, the Carabinieri Force is well known by the public for its humanitarianism aid and assistance to the public, sometimes resulting in extreme sacrifice. Gradually, over the years the aura of trust has grown around the image of the members of the Carabinieri as well as the spirit of devotion and loyalty by which they are still recognized today.
Incidents which have cost the lives of Carabinieri include the earthquakes at Casamicciola in 1833, Messina in 1915, Marsica in 1915 and Vulture in 1930; floods and storms which inflicted the Polesine Region, the Ferrara plains, the Po Valley and other Italian regions among which Sicily and Sardinia in 1951; violent snowstorms throughout Italy in 1956 which isolated hundreds of towns and villages which were left without food or medical assistance and were aided by Carabinieri Units. In the earthquake in Irpinia in 1962, the dam burst at Vajont in 1966 where the town of Longarone was submerged underwater; the disastrous flood of 1966 which flooded the countryside and the surrounding populated areas including Florence. The earthquakes at Belice in 1968, Ancona in 1972, Friuli in 1976, Campania and Basilicata in 1980; hydrogeological instability in the Valley of the Fiemme in 1986, Valtellina in 1987, Piemont and Emilia Romagna in 1994 and Valley of Lauro in 1998. On these occasions the Carabinieri proved that generosity is their essential characteristic.
For its service in natural disasters, in assistance to the public and care of the environment and historical heritage the Colours were awarded 7 Gold and 1 Silver Medal for Civic Valour, 5 Gold Medals for Merit and 4 Gold Medals for Merit in Public Healthcare.
The Carabinieri Museum, situated in Rome and containing many artefacts, was founded with contributions made by all Italian Local Authorities as a testimony of their respect, gratitude and recognition of the Force.