The Italian Almanac

Italian officer at the beginning of last century

Italian News - July 3

The Defense Ministry gave clearance Friday for the last Italians serving under the military draft to be discharged, marking the end of a 200-year-old practice. The ministry said it had passed a directive allowing those drafted into the army, navy and air force to go home, even if they have not yet completed their 10-month term.

The draft was introduced in northwestern Italy in 1800 by the Napoleonic armies, and was extended across the Italian peninsula following the country's unification in 1861. The draft was highly unpopular, and parliament passed legislation abolishing it in 2000, paving the way for an all-volunteer, professional armed forces.

The measure will become effective once a government decree on it is published in the parliamentary gazette.