Firemen (Vigili del Fuoco)

The National Corps of Firemen was created between 1935 and 1939 and until 1938 it used normal civil plates. From August the 1st 1938 it has got some special plates, with the letters VF in red and then a serial number in black in the second line aligned on the right side (picture number 1). The numbering system has never changed and the number is still growing. The seal of the Italian Republic that you can see in the third picture between the letters and the numbers was introduced in the 1950s.

In 1983 the look of the plates changed a bit: previously the plates were made of two line, with VF (plus the first digit if the number had five) on top and the number on bottom (the first two pictures show the rear and the front plate of the same vehicle), and then became arranged on one single line (picture number 3). Some of the old plates were cut in the middle for this reason, so they could look like the new ones!

VF plate
Picture 1: 1939-1983 (rear)
VF plate
Picture 2: 1939-1983 (front)
VF plate
Picture 3: 1983-2002

VF plate VF plate
Pictures 4 and 5: Motorcycle (up to 1960s)

The small changes, one after the other, were made in 2002: the plates with numbers starting from 20000 up to 21300 were made with reflective background where you can read the letters "PGS B1" of poligrafico only under certain light conditions (picture number 6); later, starting from 21300, all the characters became a bit smaller and the seal of the repubblic was moved in the middle of the plate (picture number 7).

VF plate
Picture 6: 2002
VF plate
Picture 7: 2002-Today

Since the 1960s the Firemen haven't had motorbikes any more (pictures number 4 and 5... notice that the fifth picture shows the plate VF 1 and you can find the full picture I took this detail from in the old photo gallery, picture number 25), so you cannot find plates for motorbikes today.

At the beginning trailers used the same plates of other vehicles, then in 1959 the full print RIMORCHIO (it means trailer) was introduced, as you can see in the picture number 8; at last trailers have been using a normal plate with just a little red R between the letters VF and the numbers since 1983 (picture number 9).

VF plate
Picture 8: Trailer 1959-1983
VF plate
Picture 9: Trailer 1983-Today

In Trentino Alto Adige the Corps of the Firemen don't depend on the Ministry of Interior, as it happens in the other Italian regions, and for this reason they have got plates slightly different. In Trento they have got the fixed format VF*A00 TN (pictures number 11, 12, 13 and 14, after A99 there is 0A1 and so on), while in Bolzano the format is VF*0AA BZ (picture number 10) with a mixed combination of numbers and letters (00A follows 009 and so on); in both cases the letters VF are in red and the asterisk is the seal of the Italian republic. They have also got the coat of the arms of the province under the seal: a black eagle for Trento and a red eagle for Bolzano, exactly like the new Italian plates. Trailer plates of vehicles from Trento at the beginning had the letter R after the letters VF (picture number 11), but then the same numbering format of other vehicles was used (picture number 12), even if it has always the full print "RIMORCHIO" on top.
In 2003, when the supplies of VF plates of Bolzano will be ended, a new plate should be introduced with the format VF FW 000, where the letters VF and FW are in red and the numbering system is made with numbers and letters (00A follows 009). The letters FW stand for "FeuerWehr" (Firemen in German), but anyway these plates have not been seen yet. Moreover similar new special should be introduced also in Aosta, but I haven't got any picture of them yet.

VF plate from Bolzano
Picture 10: Firemen from Bolzano
VF plate from Trento
Picture 11: Trailer from Trento (with R)
VF plate from Trento
Picture 12: Trailer from Trento (normal number)
VF plate from Trento
Picture 13: Firemen from Trento
VF plate from Trento
Picture 14: Firemen from 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 VF plates of Bolzano, both the old and the new ones: 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 have to thank Alessandro Libanore for the pictures number 1, 2, 9 and 12, Adolfo Arena for the picture number 4, Ernesto Vitetti for the fifth picture, Marcello Taverna for the pictures number 6 and 14 Karsten Kuhn for the number 7, and Paolo Troncatti for the pictures number 10 and 13. The pictures number 8 and 11 are taken from the book "A century of plates".




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Plates in Rome by Michele Berionne