The medal of Castelfidardo was given by the Papal State to the troops which took part in the conflict against the army of the Kingdom of Sardinia. This medal was set up with the Papal Brief of 12nd November 1860 of pope Pio IX. The pope, advised by his master Francesco Saverio de Mérode, made coin this medal to reward the soldiers who would fight on behalf of him against the Piedmontese army during the invasion of the Papal State of 1860. Who was given the medal also obtained specific moral and material privileges: the soldiers who were given a medal were declared meritorious by the Catholic Church for contributing to the safety and integrity of the Papal State and of the Pope himself. They were also given a reduction of a year of service for retirement.
- This medal is a very uncommon example of privilege given in different degrees by the Papal State
- Golden medal glazed in blue for the General Officers
- Golden medal for the Upper Officers
- Silver medal for the Lower Officers
- White metal medal for non-commissioned officers and the troops
- The medal is made up of a circle carrying on the front side the motto “VICTORIA, QUAE VICIT MUNDUM, FIDES NOSTRA”, while on the back side “PRO PETRI SEDE, PIO IX P. M. A. XV”. The circle has inside a cross turned upside down (this symbol is not profane, as underlined by some academics, but it represents the martyrdom of Saint Peter, first pope who had been crucified upside down to not repeat Christ’s death). The upside-down cross was also given the meaning of the fall of the temporal power of the pope.
- On this cross is represented a snake which bites its own tail, symbolizing the mortal sin that grips those who decide to attack the Church. The medal was popularly defined the “Ciambella” (Ring-shaped cake), because of its peculiar dimensions.
- The ribbon is white with a red band in the center with two little parallel yellow stripes closed to it. On both sides there is a red band trailed by two little yellow bands. On the ribbon there could be the following bars: VITERBO, PESARO, FANO, SANT’ANGELO, CASTELFIDARDO and ANCONA. Those little bars should be bought privately by the people who had given the decoration so only a few samples were realized.