Republic Day is one of the mainest holidays in Italy. On this day, Italians celebrate the referendum of 1946, which resulted in the creation of the Italian Republic. The holiday is held every year on June 2 and is considered Italy's National Day.
Italy before unification
Italy became a united country in 1870, but even before that, the country had shaped the cultural and social development of the entire Mediterranean. There were important cultures and civilizations. In many regions you can find the oldest archaeological monuments. By the time of Emperor Augustus, the present territory of Italy was incorporated into Italy as the central unit of the Empire. Since then, "Italy" and "Italian" have become the names for the various states appearing on the peninsula and their overseas possessions.
History of Republic Day
Italy became a nation on March 17, 1861, when most of the states of the region and two of Sicily were united by King Victor Emmanuel II, King of Sardinia. The father of unification was Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, Victor Emmanuel's chief minister. Rome remained under papal rule for nearly 10 years and became part of the Kingdom of Italy on September 20, 1870. This was the last date of the unification of Italy.
On June 2, 1946, during a referendum, more than 12 million Italians voted to create the Italian Republic while electing an assembly that would draft a new Constitution. The results were announced on June 10, 1946, and on June 18 the Court of Cassation sanctioned the birth of the Italian Republic. Male members of the royal family were sent into exile because of their association with the fascist regime and were not allowed to return to their country until 2002.
The first celebration ceremony was held in 1948 and included a military review of the armed forces in honor of the Italian Republic. The event took place in Piazza Venezia, across from Vittoriano. In 1977, the national holiday was moved to the first Sunday in June in order to avoid the negative impact of the holiday on working hours. In 1999 the holiday was given back its historical date of June 2.
How the Italians celebrate the Day of the Republic
On this day, the Italian president lays a wreath at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Altare della Patria in Rome. This is followed by a large military parade on the Via dei Fori Imperiali. The highlight of the day is the Frecce Tricolori flyover, when nine Italian Air Force aircraft soar over the parade, sending streaks of green, white and red smoke - the colors of the Italian flag - into the sky.
Festivities continue in the afternoon with the opening to the public of the gardens of the Quirinal Palace, the residence of the President of the Italian Republic, and concerts by the Italian Army and Italian Navy orchestra. On the day of the feast, there is a ceremonial changing of the guard at the Quirinale Palace with the Corazzieri Regiment and the fanfare of the IV Regiment of Carabinieri on horseback in ceremonial uniform. Official ceremonies are held all over the country, in the regions and municipalities. Around the world, Italian embassies organize celebrations and invite heads of the host country.
How you can touch the celebration of the Day of the Republic even at home
Enjoy Italian food. Italian cuisine has invented some of the most mouth watering delicacies. There's no better way to celebrate Italy's freedom than by sampling Roman pizza and Tajarin al ragù, adding red tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to a refreshing caprese salad that matches the colors of the Italian flag.
Listen to the Italian anthem. If you've never heard the Italian national anthem, now is the time. It's a beautiful patriotic tune written by Michele Novaro. Play it at home and try singing along.
Watch the parade. The annual military parade held in downtown Rome is an impressive spectacle. If you're in Italy or planning a summer visit, be sure to take a seat on Via dei Fori Imperiali. And if you're in your own country, you can always join the live stream!