The custom of displaying a crucifix in classrooms is an age-old tradition in Italy. The present civil obligation allegedly dates back to royal decree no. 4336 of 15 September 1860 of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, which provided: “Each school must without fail be equipped with … a crucifix”.
This obligation was maintained under subsequent regimes. Confirmed by a series of regulations in the 1920s, it was not abolished by the 1984 revision of the Lateran Pacts which put an end to the State religion; further, it was expressly confirmed on 3 October 2002 in an instruction by the Minister of Education.
Puppinck, G. (2011). The case of Lautsi v. Italy: a synthesis [Article presented at the Eighteenth Annual International Law and Religion Symposium, “Religious Freedom in a Pluralistic Age: Trends, Challenges, and Practices,” 2-4 October 2011]. Available https://www.strasbourgconsortium.org/content/blurb/files/ARTICLE_LAUTSI_PUPPINCK_English_BYU_Law_Review.pdf. Last accessed 1st May 2017