These plates don't belong to the Italian army, but are used by the Allied Forces of bases placed in Italy.
1943-1969: in the first plate the letters AFSE stand for "Allied Forces in Southern Europe" and over them you can see a red shield with the yellow Lion of St. Mark inside. At the beginning the format was 0000, as you can see in the picture, then became A000 and last 000A; all these plates were changed with new plates in 1969.
1943 - 1969
In the first table on the right you can see 3 plates with the format C-00000: they were used only on the vehicles of the American naval base in Livorno from 1945 until 1968. As you can see the character changed many times and as far as I know they are sorted chronologically, with the first one of the 1950s. About the last picture I don't know much yet, when (1957?) and where it was used.
1945 - 1969 in Livorno
1970-Today: the last pictures below show the plates that have been in use since 1970. For private vehicles on the first line there are the letters AFI that stand for "Allied Forces in Italy" and on the second line the format is A-00000 (first picture), where the first letter shows the origin base of the vehicle, following the table below. For official vehicles the plates are very similar, but they have got the print "official" next to AFI (second picture). The second vehicles registered to a given person have got inverted colours, white characters on black background, and the digit "2" in first position (third and fifth picture). Last, motorcycle have got plates similat to those for cars, but with the letter "M" in last position (fourth and fifth picture).
1970-Today: second vehicle
1970-Today: motorcycle, second vehicle
From a message by Tony Fernando
appeared on the plate mailing list on April the 29th, 1999:
"AFI stands for "Allied Forces Italy" meaning it is used by US, British, German, Greek, Dutch, and French forces and the same plate is issued to all of them as long as they're serving within Italy...... at least that is how it was when I was stationed in Naples from '84-86. The black on white plate (first issue) also means you're eligible to receive "gas coupons" to offset high European gasoline prices (about $4-5 per gallon) making the cost a mere $1.25 per gallon with AFI plates and the proper gas ration coupons. The white with black background (as said earlier by others) is a second plate but you were not eligible for any gas coupons. So you better get a small car!
A little titbit of extra info is: in the mid-80's and at the height of terrorism in Europe , NATO and especially US forces were targeted by terrorists. They bombed cars, followed people, stole cars and even just stole the "AFI" plates to use in future terroristic endeavours. The Allied Forces So. Europe high command (in Naples) experimented with using the regular Italian plates ( the plastic ones with the region's abbreviation leading the numbers, ie...NA - XXX for Naples), the only difference was they would be controlled via AFSouth instead of Italian Motor Vehicles Office and would be the same except the "tax stamp" would be missing (since they were tax-free). I was there when they proposed this to all the area Commands and got to see it but unfortunately too many people in high places didn't like it and they canned the idea!"
In 2003 most of the AFI vehicles in Italy changed their original plate with a normal Italian plate for security reasons: if you are interested in more details about this operation, you can read this article that I found on Internet.
The fifth and the last pictures are taken from the web site of FrancoPlaque. I also want to thank Alessandro Libanore for the first and the nineth picture and Jim Fox for the all the others: they are wonderful plates!