Promulgated by Royal Decree on March 16, 1942, the Italian Civil Code entered into force on April 21.
This significant step expressed the Italian decision to codify a new text, bearer of traditional ideas but also flexibly capable of adapting to the rapid changes in society. The exemplary decision was thus taken to unify private law under a single organic body of rules, combining the codification of civil and commercial law, and in particular the Civil Code of 1865 and the Commercial Code of 1882, a step recognized to Italy as very innovative for the time.
Among the most important Italian experts worked on the text, such as university professors, magistrates, lawyers and scholars.
The historical context in which the emanation and the production of the text took place was that of the first half of the 1900s, in particular the work for the preparation of the code began in the period following the First World War. Considering the noticeable French influences for which the 1865 code was known and, above all, acknowledging the significance of the historical period, it's important to ask ourselves what influences characterized the code that still regulates private law in our society.
Moving away from the French influence and from the previous Italian tradition, the 1942 code approaches the German tradition which in 1900 saw the publication of the Civil Code of Germany, considered by most jurists to be an exemplary elaboration for its time.
The question that is still widely debated today concerns whether and how the fascist doctrine influenced the Code. Most scholars highlight that there has not been a penetration of the ideology of the regime, on the contrary, the works were led by personalities mainly close to the liberal tradition, and the long drafting and revision times gave the legislative text technical and scientific connotations.
The current Civil Code, preceded by the General provisions on the law, is divided into six books, which in order deal with: the discipline of people and family, the discipline of successions, the discipline of property, the discipline of obligations, the discipline of work and the protection of rights.
The code contains a total of 2969 articles, the first of which recognizes in birth the moment of acquisition of legal capacity, which is defined as the aptitude of each person to become the holder of rights and duties. This ability only disappears with death.
The reforms implemented with the aim of modernization have been numerous, the most important of which have been the family law reform in 1975, corporate law in 2003 and the introduction of the consumer code in 2005.