Prescription period for government securities

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The Bank of Italy receives frequent requests for the repayment of or inquiries into the possibility of repaying old government securities and interest bearing postal bonds that have long since expired.

In order to avoid raising hopes unnecessarily and to prevent people from incurring legal expenses in vain, the Ministry of the Economy and Finance clarified this question in a Press Release issued in 2013 (

These clarifications, based on mandatory legal provisions with no exceptions, are summed up below:  

  • the prescription period for government securities and interest bearing postal bonds commences on the maturity/repayment date and not on the date in which they are found;  
  • without exception these securities cannot mature interest payments or be revalued after the repayment date. The only securities whose capital can be revalued are inflation-indexed bonds, but also in this instance only until the date of maturity and not beyond.

Please also note that:

  • former legislation limited the right to redeem old issues of expired bearer government bonds to a maximum of ten years after the date of maturity of the securities themselves. However, Article 21 of the Consolidated Law on Public Debt (Presidential Decree 398/2003) shortened this limit to five years. The same article also established a five-year prescription period for interest payments;
  • interest payments requested after the securities have matured but within the prescription period are in any event calculated relative to the face value of the security.