A coat of arm, a symbol, a logo, always represents a “group”, a “family”, an “institution”. The need to get into a symbol arose a long time ago, almost always during wars, from the need to belong to the same faction,. Over the centuries, the meaning of the coat of arms has been extended, it has become the reference point for the members of the institution it represents. Even those who do not belong to the institution, may use it as an instrument not only of identification but also of identity. However, over the history, pictures often have had a significance going beyond their outward appearances, joining together ideas and meanings comprehensible by everybody, belonging to a common wealth of knowlegde. For this reason, the choice of a symbol is extremely relevant, because it must be identified and connected to the historical background it belongs to, in order to communicate effectively its meaning.
In 1977, when SISDe was established, there was the need to focus in a symbol all the values that at that time represented the function of an institution tasked to operate within a complex framework featured, between the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s, by terrorism. It was decided to select a picture, which was not officially diffused: the salamander, an animal able to adapt itself to the external environment and to resist to any external attack even the fire. The salamander was pictured while devouring a scorpion, whitin a Samnite shield, without the inscritpion and the motto of the Service. (Fig.1)
It was only in 1982, that the first SISDe’s logo was officially diffused when the then Director, Prefetto De Francesco, coined the coat of arm used up to the last year. It represents a falcon while clutching the prey, within a landscape where a tower symbolizes the Italic noble traditions and a desolate ground closed closed by the Alps, the state geopolitical border.
The key-element of this logo was the falcon, selected for its predatorial ability, its body shape, but mainly of its extraordinary sensitive abilities, together with its lively nature, brilliant intelligence, perceptiveness and courage. The Service was represented by a powerful animal whose features symbolize values and targets to be fulfilled by the Service’s institutional tasks. The motto Per Aspera ad Veritatem together with the Service’s abbreviation completed the round coat of arms, closed within a Greek key design. (Fig.2)
After 20 years, due to the changed role carried out by intelligence services, it was established that an aggressive predator was unsuitable to communicate the essential principles of the Service.
The new coloured logo, lacks of the classical elements featuring the previous one, it symbolizes the difficulties and the targets of the intelligence activity within the new context.
The focal element is a stylized sun coupled to the moon. They symbolize the light and the knowledge, leading elements of the Service’s activity, combination of the aims to pursue.
The central part of the sun, source of light, is made of different geometrical elements composing a round mosaic.
Such structure is meant to remind the analysis, the interpretation and the comprehension of relations and interconnections representing the knowledge process. Then, to reach a global and precise view, the mosaic must be composed.
The motto Per Aspera ad Veritatem completes the picture striking a balance between tradition and innovation. It emphazises the Service’s commitment to face new and emerging challenges and to protect national security by means of the intelligence, which is also the main task of a modern intelligence agency. (Fig.3)