Storia - 170 anni di Cassa Depositi e Prestiti


CDP Group / About us / History

Cassa Depositi e Prestiti was founded on 18 November 1850 by the Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia and has supported the Italian economy through the various stages of its history, responding to the challenges of development.

From the reunification of Italy to today, CDP has made a substantial contribution to Italy's transformation from a predominantly agricultural country to a modern economy based on industry and services.

Postal savings have been one of the driving forces of this evolution: they have allowed us to guarantee infrastructure and local services investment, and more recently support for enterprises, from startups to large strategic investments and, finally, to develop international cooperation projects.

In 2020, CDP celebrated its 170th anniversary.


The history of CDP is closely linked with the economic and social development of Italy. Cassa Depositi e Prestiti was founded on 18 November 1850 in the Kingdom of Sardinia and used by Cavour, who understood its potential. It made a substantial contribution to the country’s economic unification after 1861. The changing location of its registered office follows the changing capital of Italy, from Turin to Florence and then to Rome.
Photograph: Parliament of the Kingdom of Sardinia Law of 18 November 1850, No. 1097, founding Cassa dei Depositi e dei Prestiti.

1875: the Postal Savings Book is born. CDP was entrusted with the job of collecting postal savings and allocating them for the modernisation of the economy. The provision states that post offices were to collect savings around the country, under the coordination of a central postal savings bank, guaranteed by the State and held by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti. Cassa was to use those savings to make loans to municipalities for the construction of roads, school buildings and water and sewage system works.
Photograph: the rapid growth of postal savings in the first five years following their introduction in Italy represented in a chart sent by Quintino Sella to Post Offices in 1881.


Savings grow and with them the institute's funding and importance and in 1910 it opens its new registered office in Via Goito, on the Via XX Settembre side where the Treasury is located. In the first decade of the century, Cassa was established as a model administration, so much so that the Government promotes its direct involvement, with a stand at the World's Fairs held in those years: Paris 1900, Saint Louis 1904, Milan 1906, London 1909, San Francisco 1910 and Turin 1911. Cassa won various international prizes and awards at these events.
Photograph: 1910, the new headquarters of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti in Rome at the end of construction work.

The 1910s: throughout the war and during the years immediately following, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti played a fundamental role in supporting the Italian financial system. CDP supported local authorities in building the country’s infrastructure.
Photograph: work carried out with the support of CDP for the construction of the Apulian Aqueduct on the canal bridge over the Fiumara di Atella in Basilicata.


1924: Postal Savings Bonds were created, a decisive step in funding success. It is a financial instrument particularly suited to the needs of small investors, attracted by high returns and the ability to cash the bonds in at any time.
Photograph: Postal Saving Bond for 100 Lire issued on 1 February 1925

In the 1920s and 1930s, CDP supported the founding of the entities linked to Alberto Beneduce, including IMI and IRI, subscribing to their founding share capital.
Photograph: The greeting of a group of laborers from Agro Pontino at the time of the reclamation. Shooting date: 1930


CDP’s involvement in reconstruction after the Second World War was significant. These were the "economic miracle" years, characterised by intense development. CDP directly and indirectly financed the construction of new electricity, road, rail and telephone networks in Italy.
Photograph: the construction site of Messina port, built with the support of Cassa depositi e Prestiti, 1940-50.

The 1950s and 1960s saw Cassa backing the economic boom. CDP also made its contribution to reconstruction after major disasters: from the Polesine flood in 1951 to the Vajont disaster in 1963, and from the 1966 Florence flood to the Belice earthquake in 1968.
Photograph: Maximum height reached by the Po in Castelmassa, during the Polesine flood in 1951. In the foreground, a crane in the middle of the river.


CDP was reformed in 1983, to give it greater financial and accounting independence. With the formal reorganisation approved in 1999, the Treasury authorised CDP to take deposits directly from public administrations and public entities, as well as to place securities with financial intermediaries. At the end of the 1990s, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti was increasingly involved in financing infrastructure projects.
Photograph: Maratea Port. The structure was built in the 1980s with the support of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti.

Photograph: Postal Saving Bond for 1,000,000 Lire issued on 1 July 1983. Lithographic and chalcographic one colour print produced in Rome by the State Mint Printing Office, Officine Carte Valori.


In 2003, Law No. 326/2003 converted Cassa Depositi e Prestiti into a joint-stock company (70% held by the Ministry for the Economy and Finance and 30% by 66 Banking Foundations). CDP was no longer part of the Public Administration perimeter and became a market operator, acting like a private investor, now having to justify and support the risks and benefits of each transaction.
Photograph: The Goliat platform, Barents sea, Norway. ENI has participated in Cassa Depositi e Prestiti since 2003.

In 2006, the European Central Bank classified CDP as a "financial and monetary institution", like the French CDC-Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (founded in 1816) and the German KFW-Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (founded in 1949). During the 2008-2009 crisis, Cassa took on an important anti-cyclical role of supporting and stimulating investment. Its operations were widened to include promoting SME access to credit and export support; cooperation with developing countries; developing public real estate and social housing.
Photograph: Friuli Stadium, Udine. Cassa Depositi e Prestiti financed the CCTV surveillance system and security management centre in 2008.


In 2009, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti financed the Marguerite Fund, promoted by the Long Term Investor Club, for the City Green Lights projects for energy efficiency in Italian municipalities, including Avellino, Lecce, Olbia, Parma, Pisa, Ravenna, Varese, Venice, Viterbo.
Photograph: Piazza dei Miracoli, Pisa.

Since 2012, Cassa has been in control of SACE and SIMEST, companies supporting export and internationalisation of enterprises, and Fintecna, which controls Fincantieri, one of the world's leading shipbuilding groups. The CDP Group is created. Cassa purchases equity investments in large state controlled companies, developing an important holding role.
Photograph: MSC Seaview cruise ship, Fincantieri. Cassa Depositi e Prestiti have been shareholders in Fincantieri since 2012.

In 2015, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti became the Italian Financial Institution for Development Cooperation. In this role, it supports public international cooperation initiatives and finances investments by European and Italian companies in emerging and developing markets. With the 2016 Stability Law, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti became the Italian National Promotional Institution, playing a key role in the implementation of the Juncker Plan.
Photograph: the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

In the wake of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Cassa Depositi e Prestiti has taken extraordinary measures to provide tangible support to the productive fabric and public administrations at this critical time at national and international level. CDP plays a key role in implementing the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, to promote the country’s long-term recovery.
Photograph: the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti building in Via Goito (Rome) on the Italian Republic Day.