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This paper describes in detail a set of automatic rules determining the correct position of stress in Italian words. The rules are based on a reverse scanning of the word characters, and consist of a set of simple automata, each for the recognition of a different stress location. The reverse scanning is limited to a maximum of 6 characters. The words making exception are stored in a scheduled area. The performance of the rules has been evaluated by means of a statistical analysis of the Italian vocabulary and some real texts.