Italy is a Democratic Republic, founded on work. Sovereignty belongs to the people and is exercised by the people in the forms and within the limits of the Constitution.
The Republic recognises and guarantees the inviolable rights of the person, as an individual and in the social groups where human personality is expressed. The Republic expects that the fundamental duties of political, economic and social solidarity be fulfilled.
All citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law, without distinction of sex, race, language, religion, political opinion, personal and social conditions. It is the duty of the Republic to remove those obstacles of an economic or social nature which constrain the freedom and equality of citizens, thereby impeding the full development of the human person and the effective participation of all workers in the political, economic and social organisation of the country.
The Republic recognises the right of all citizens to work and promotes those conditions which render this right effective. Every citizen has the duty, according to personal potential and individual choice, to perform an activity or a function that contributes to the material or spiritual progress of society.
The Republic, one and indivisible, recognises and promotes local autonomies, and implements the fullest measure of administrative decentralisation in those services which depend on the State. The Republic accords the principles and methods of its legislation to the requirements of autonomy and decentralisation.
The Republic safeguards linguistic minorities by means of appropriate measures.
The State and the Catholic Church are independent and sovereign, each within its own sphere. Their relations are governed by the Lateran Pacts. Changes to the Pacts that are accepted by both parties do not require the procedure for constitutional amendment.
All religious confessions are equally free before the law. Religious confessions other than the Catholic one have the right to organise themselves in accordance with their own statutes, provided that these statutes are not in conflict with Italian law. Their relations with the State are regulated by law on the basis of accords between the State and the respective representatives.
The Republic promotes the development of culture and of scientific and technical research. It safeguards natural landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the Nation.
The Italian legal system conforms to the generally recognised rules of international law. The legal status of foreigners is regulated by law in conformity with international provisions and treaties. A foreigner who is denied the effective exercise of the democratic liberties guaranteed by the Italian Constitution in his or her own country has the right of asylum in the territory of the Italian Republic, in accordance with the conditions established by law. Extradition of a foreigner for political offences is not admitted.
Italy rejects war as an instrument of aggression against the freedom of other peoples and as a means for the settlement of international disputes. Italy agrees, on conditions of equality with other States, to the limitations of sovereignty that may be necessary to a world order ensuring peace and justice among the Nations. Italy promotes and encourages international organisations having such ends.
The flag of the Republic is the Italian tricolour: green, white and red, in three vertical bands of equal size.
Text courtesty of the Chamber of Deputies Site: http://english.camera.it/index.asp?content=deputati/funzionamento/