Italian license plates have nothing to do with poetry, like the Quebec ones which contain the sentence je me souviens (I remember it) at the bottom of the plate, and nothing to do with some funny plates from the U.S.A and from Germany. License plates were introduced in Italy in 1900 for the public transportation system and extended to all vehicles in 1903. Insignificant modifications were implemented in the following years and all were related to the depletion of alphanumeric combinations for the plates.
The broadest adjustment occurred in 1994. The standard license plates´ alphanumeric combination (two letters to designate the city and six province-related numbers) disappeared and a new system without city hint was introduced. I can remember the introduction of the new system because of a game I used to play with my father.
Until 1994 while travelling with my father I used to spend the time in car on the highway trying to guess the origin of the car just by looking at the city hint on the license plate. The suppression of the two-letter provincial codes proved extremely unpopular to me and to the majority part of the Italian population.
For that reason in 1999, the plates were redesigned. The standard European blue band has been added on the left side, with the European Union flag motif (12 yellow stars) and the country code I. Another blue band was added, on the right side, where the provincial code was reintroduced (although no longer as a compulsory element of the plate). For the capital city of Rome, the word “ROMA” replaces the two-digit provincial code.