From 1861 to the First World War: from Corps of customs guards to Corps of the Royal Guardia di Finanza
After the unification of Italy 1862, all previous financial corps were merged in one only “Corps of customs guards” for customs surveillance and defence in wartime. Rome was conquered in 1870 and became the capital of the Italian Kingdom. In this year, law n° 149 of 8 April 1881 changed the name of the Corps as “Corps of the Royal Guardia di Finanza”, with the purpose to “…avoid, defeat and report smuggling, along with any other violation of Italian financial laws and principles…” so to protect the financial interest and contribute to the public order and security.
Regarding the “Customs fleets”, which already existed in the pre-unification financial corps, the royal edict of 4 June 1816 introduced the first example of organization for customs surveillance operated through vessels with customs guards. This was the forerunner of the naval service carried out by the Guardia di Finanza.
In 1906, the Corps obtained an independent military ranking with the establishment of the General Headquarters and the legion Units. In the following year, it received the pips as member of the military forces, along with the war flag in 1911.
In 1911- 1912 the Guardia di Finanza took part in the Italian – Turkish war. In the same year the Corps began to develop sport activities for competions (they still were part of the military training since the end of the 19th century but only for educational purposes). The first Unit of athletes was created 1921.