All the Sovereigns ruling Italy before the Napoleon I invasion were sources of nobility, Fontes Honorum, and precisely:
- The Kingdom of Sardegna-Sardinia, formed by Piemonte-Piedmont, Savoia-Savoy, Nizza-Nice, ruled by the Savoy dynasty, and
- The Republic of Genova-Genoa, ruled by an elected Doge-Duke among a restricted number of noble families, and awarded by the Vienna Congress (1815) to the Kingdom of Sardinia.
- The Viceroyalty of Milano-Milan ruled by the Holy Roman Empire (Austria) through a Viceroy.
- The Republic of Venezia-Venice, ruled by an elected Doge-Duke among a restricted number of noble families, and awarded by the Vienna Congress (1815) to the Austrian, Empire. Together with Milano it was created the Kingdom of Lombardo-Veneto.
- The Duchy of Parma and Piacenza ruled by the Bourbon-Parma dynasty, awarded temporarily by the Vienna Congress (1815) to HM the Archduchess of Austria Maria Louise (1815-1847) and then back at her death to the Bourbon-Parma dynasty.
- The Duchy of Modena and Reggio ruled by the Hapsburg-Lorraine-Este dynasty.
- The aristocratic Republic of Lucca, awarded temporarily by the Vienna Congress (1815) to the Bourbon-Parma family (1815-1847) as Duchy of Lucca and then united to the Grand Duchy of Toscana.
- The Grand Duchy of Toscana, ruled by the Hapsburg Lorraine dynasty.
- The States of the Church, formed by the central part of the Italian peninsula, ruled by the Pope.
- The Kingdom of Napoli-Naples, formed by the southern part of the Italian peninsula and Sicily, ruled by the Bourbon-Sicily dynasty.
The Consulta Araldica del Regno, the Heraldic Council of the Kingdom of Italy, was created in 1889 together with the 10 Commissioni Araldiche Regionali, Regional Heraldic Councils, corresponding to the above mentioned States existing before the unification of Italy.
All the titles so granted had to be recognized and inscribed in the Libro d’oro della nobiltà italiana, the Golden Book of the Italian nobility, later on called Elenco delle famiglie nobili e titolate del Regno d’Italia, List of the noble and titled families of the Kingdom of Italy.
The last Ordinamento dello Stato Nobiliare Italiano (Nobiliary Law) was approved by the Royal Decree n. 651 of June the 7th 1943 which is the only reference utilized by CNI.
CNI is a private association whose Statute was draw up by notarial deed in June 30th, 1958.
Its corporate purpose is to perform the same function of the former Consulta Araldica del Regno, Heraldic Council of the Kingdom. That means chiefly to ascertain and attest nobiliary rights according to the set of laws of the Kingdom of Italy. Only the persons belonging to the nobility can be members of CNI; so art. II, 1st paragraph of its Statute contains a reliable definition of nobility, granting that can be admitted the descendents, under the agnatic principle, from persons recorded in the Official Registry of the Kingdom of Italy or from persons made noble by His Majesty Umberto II during his exile.
CNI can also ascertain conditions of genuine nobility, for some reason not established before the advent of the Republic. Persons in this situation can as well be received as members.
Beside the above mentioned, CNI wishes to perform, mostly at regional level, other very important social and cultural activities, such as charities, publishing of historical and heraldic books, meetings and so on.
Torino, 6th of February, 2011