The balance between freedom of expression and protection of religious beliefs in Italy: the case law of the constitutional Court

The paper analyzes the balance between freedom of expression and the protection of religious sentiment in Italian constitutional jurisprudence. Since the introduction of the Italian constitution, the provisions of the criminal code concerning blasphemy and protection of religious belief, approved during the Fascist period, were first tolerated by constitutional jurisprudence and then gradually erased, both by the Constitutional Court and by the Italian legislator. The contribution focuses on two landmark decisions, sentence n. 440/1995 and sentence n. 508/2000 of the Constitutional Court, which marked a turnaround in constitutional jurisprudence and the definitive statement of the principle of state laicity.