Let’s talk about one of my favorite countries, and favorite currencies. There are so many thoughts that come to mind when someone mentions Italy; from food, to romance, fashion and history… Italy has so much to offer. Therefore it is no surprise that Italy is also responsible for creating and designing some incredible banknotes, a lot of which are difficult to find today – especially in uncirculated condition. These beautiful lira were the official unit of currency for Italy until January 1, 1999, when they were replaced by the euro. There was a three year transition period where lira and the euro were used, and on February 28, 2002 the lira ceased to be legal tender in Italy.
The Bank of Italy began producing paper money in 1896 (the earliest note we have available on our website is from 1904) from this early stage each note was beautifully crafted and designed carrying images of current monarchs, Roman gods, as well as symbols of prosperity and freedom. As time progressed and designs got more modern; Italy produced some marvelous notes commemorating some of their most profound citizens. A beautiful example of this, is the below note from 1973 featuring Galileo Galilei. The artistically designed note showcases the pride of Italy with buildings including the Leaning Tower of Pisa as well as zodiac dials and signs.
Seven notes were in circulation when the euro was adopted by Italy. These notes ranged from featuring educator Maria Montessori on the popular 1000 Lire note (available here) to artist Raffaello (who painted my favorite painting ever: The School of Athens I took the below photo while visiting the Vatican). All seven of these notes displayed important Italians who helped sculpt the future of Italy, as well as architecture, paintings and sculptures associated with the beauty of Italy.
The whole purpose of this EU series blog is to question the feelings associated with relinquishing your own currency and adopting a universal one that has no affiliation to your country. I wish the EU would issue different euro banknotes (similar to the euro coins they have) which would embody each countries unique history and values. Notes used through all EU countries, but designed to celebrate each individual country and citizen. Perhaps I stand alone with this thought, but I believe there is value in a country designing their own currency – and think of how amazing and beautiful these euro notes could be!