The scudo (pl. scudi) was the name for a number of coins used in Italy until the 19th century. The name, like that of the French écu and the Spanish and Portuguese escudo, was derived from the Latin scutum ("shield"). From the 16th century, the name was used in Italy for large silver coins. Sizes varied depending on the issuing country.
Before the Napoleonic Wars, the lira was subdivided into 20 soldi, each of 12 denari. Later, the lira was made up of 100 centesimi.
When Austria-Hungary decimalized in 1857, the scudo was replaced by the florin at a rate of 2 florin = 1 scudo. Coins of ½ and 1 soldo were issued, equal to ½ and 1 kreuzer, for use in Lombardy and Venetia.
The Duchy of Modena and Reggio also issued scudi, worth four lire or one third of a tallero.
In Malta under the Order of St John, the Maltese scudo circulated from the 16th century until the Order was expelled in 1798. The currency remained the official currency of Malta until 1825 and the last coins were removed from circulation in 1886. The Sovereign Military Order of Malta has issued coins denominated in scudi since 1961.
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