They are accessories of the Uniform, made up of a metal insignia hung on a ribbon; they indicate a recognition to the valour or merit, honours or knight decorations. They are fixed on some uniforms as "small ribbons" in the colours of the ribbon with the metal insignia.
The medals can be classified in national medals (instituted and given by national Authorities), international medals (instituted and given by foreign Authorities, foreign public bodies, international organizations and non-territorial national organizations), military medals for the military personnel (even if they can be given to other people) and non-military medals (for the citizens).
The non-national medals, with a few exceptions, have to be authorized before being fixed on the uniform. There are specific rules about the use of these insignias that will be reported in the following pages. The use of the ribbons and the insignias on the Uniforms is compulsory. The authorization of using them is permanent for the national medals contemplated by the rules about the Uniforms. Other medals have to be authorized from time to time. According to a recent regulation, the Medals given by NATO can be worn without the central authorization.
The medals given by the Italian Red Cross and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta do not need authorization. For the medals given by the Holy See and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the patent has to be registered and, after having been received the identification number, they are authorized but not compulsory. The medals given by the non-national Knight Orders have to be always authorized.