Plates of the Department of Civil Defence were introduced in 1992 (?). The format is DPC*A0000: DPC is in red and stands for "Dipartimento della Protezione Civile" (Department of Civil Defence), the asterisk is the seal of the Italian Republic and the number is serial from A0001. The Civil Defence doesn't have a lot of vehicles, about 200, and they are present only in the headquarters in Rome (Via Ulpiano) and in Castelnuovo di Porto: for this reason, it's very hard to find these plates on the road. As you can see in the two pictures on the left (they're a matched couple from the same car) front and rear plates are very similar, even if they've got a different size: front plates are shorter, but taller.
Moreover the Civil Defence has got another kind of plates used only on roulottes in case of natural disasters where emergency shelters ("ricovero di emergenza" in Italian and this is what you can read in the plate) are needed. These roulottes are kept in centres, usually one per region, named C.A.P.I. (Centri Assistenziali di Pronto Intervento, it means Welfare Centre of Quick Assistance) and the origin code printed on the plate shows the centre C.A.P.I. of the plate itself. You can see one of these plates in the picture on the right side.
Picture 1: Front plate
Picture 2: Rear plate
Picture 3: Ricovero di emergenza
In 2001 new plates for the provincial Civil Defence were introduced in some autonomous provinces and regions. In the plate from Bolzano (BZ) there are the letters PC in red, followed by the red letters ZS that stand for ZivilSchutz (Civil Defence in German) and then a serial combination of three digits (the letters follow the numbers in sequence: 00A follows 009). You can also notice that the plate has got the lateral blu bands with the coat of arms of the province, like normal Italian plates (pictures number 4 and 5, respectively on one and two lines). A similar plate is issued also in the province of Trento (TN): it has got the format PC 000 TN, with only the letters PC in red and it has the lateral blu bands, with the coat of tha arms of the Civil Defence in the right bottom corner (picture number 6). In 2003 a special DPC plate should be introduced also in Aosta, but at the present time I haven't seen it yet.
Pictures 4 and 5: Bolzano
Picture 6: Trento
In this web site there is also a part of the decree of the president of the provincial board of Bolzano issued on February the 25th, 2000 where you can find, among others, all the sketches of the special PC plates of Bolzano: maybe they are not so fascinating as the real pictures, but for sure they are very interesting! This document was indicated to me by Ivan Sartori, it is in PDF format and it's written in Italian and in German. If you want to see it, click here.
I need to thank Guglielmo Evangelista and Roberto Pola very much for their good explanations about the Civil Defence and its plates, Marcello Taverna for the picture number 4, Pietro de' Castiglioni for the picture number 5 and Michele Biasiolli for the picture number 6; the third picture was snapped by Adolfo Arena and taken from the issue #94 of Europlate.