Every 2 June our nation celebrates the Italian Republic Day or Festa della Repubblica. Italy became a Republic after the institutional Referendum held by universal suffrage on the 2 and 3 June 1946. Italians were called to vote to choose the new form of Government between monarchy and republic, following the Second World War and the fall of fascism.

After 85 years of Kingdom, Italy became a Republic and the male of the House of Savoy was sent into exile from the country.

Image became an icon of italian republic born
A woman celebrates the birth of the Italian Republic

Celebrations of 2 June in Italy for Republic Day are like those of 14 July in France to commemorate the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille. Or like in the USA on July Fourth to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.

referendum vote 2 june
Voting Paper for the Constitutional Referendum of 1946

The symbols of the Italian Republic

The Tricolor Italian Flag

The Tricolore is the flag of Italy. It has three equally sized vertical stripes of green, white, and red, with the green at the hoist side.

The Tricolor was born in Reggio Emilia on 7 January 1797. The new Cispadan Republic, founded in northern Italy with the protection of the French Army led by Napoleon Bonaparte, adopted a flag with three stripes of equal size. The inspiration from the French model of 1790 is clear. Moreover, the Italian military departments, created to assist the army of Bonaparte, had banners that mirror the same shape as this flag.

White and red were the colors of the city of Milan. Green was the color of the uniform of the Milanese Civic Guard.  A common interpretation of the meaning of colors says that green represents the country’s plains and hills. The white is the snow of the Alps. And the red is the blood spilled in the Wars of Italian Independence.

The Italian tricolor during the Risorgimento underwent changes. It was adopted in its current form only on 1 January 1948, with the proclamation of the Republican Constitution. Article 12 of the Italian Constitution, approved by the Constituent Assembly on December 1947, states:

The flag of the Republic is the Italian tricolor: green, white, and red, in three vertical bands of equal dimensions.

The National Anthem

The Canto degli Italiani was composed by Michele Novaro, with Goffredo Mameli lyrics, in 1847. We also call it Fratelli d’Italia, or Inno di Mameli. It represents the song of unification and one of the symbols of the Italian nation.

National Anthem of Italy

How the Anthem was born?

On November 1847 Mr. Lorenzo Valerio, a poet and a patriot, was hosting in his house a political meeting and Michele Novaro, composer and singer, was one of the guests. One of those days, in the middle of the night, a new guest, the painter Ulisse Borzino arrived with a piece of paper to show everybody. It was the manuscript of Goffredo Mameli. The emotion of the composer Michele Novaro was so deep, that he immediately started to compose the music by playing the harpsichord.

Most Famous Verses of the Italian National Anthem

Fratelli d'Italia, l'Italia s'è desta, dell'elmo di Scipio s'è cinta la testa. Dov'è la Vittoria? Le porga la chioma, ché schiava di Roma Iddio la creò.
Brothers of Italy, Italy has woken, Bound Scipio’s helmet Upon her head. Where is Victory? Let her bow down, For God created her Slave of Rome.
Stringiamci a coorte, siam pronti alla morte. Siam pronti alla morte, l'Italia chiamò. Stringiamci a coorte, siam pronti alla morte. Siam pronti alla morte, l'Italia chiamò! 
CHORUS Let us join in a cohort, We are ready to die. We are ready to die, Italy has called. Let us join in a cohort, We are ready to die. We are ready to die, Italy has called! Yes!

The Emblem of Italy

The emblem of the Italian Republic has three elements: a five-pointed star, a cogwheel, and the branches of olive and oak. The olive branch symbolizes the desire for peace in the nation, both as internal harmony and international brotherhood. The oak branch symbolizes the strength and dignity of the Italian people. Both of them are also the most common species of trees in our country.

The steel cogwheel, a symbol of work, represents the first article of our Constitution: Italy is a democratic republic founded on work.

The five-pointed star is one of the oldest symbols of our iconographic heritage since the Risorgimento. It is usually seen shining radiantly over the head of the personification of Italy, called Italia Turrita. It appeared, until 1890, in the large coat of arms of the United Reign. The star characterized, also, the first honor of the Republican reconstruction, the Star of Italian Solidarity and today indicates membership in the armed forces of our country.

The Standard of the President of the Italian Republic

The Standard of the President of the Italian Republic in our legal and military ceremonials represents the mark of the presence of the Head of State. It follows, therefore, the President of the Republic in all his movements. Every car, ship, and airplane carrying on board the President outside the prefectures raises the Standard.

The Standard is a precise historical reference to the Risorgimento and a symbol of national unity. Its square shape and the blue edging symbolize the Armed Forces, whose the President of the Republic is the Head.

The standard of the President of the italian republic - Republic Day

The Vittoriano

The monument takes its name from Vittorio Emanuele II, the first king of Italy.

At his death in 1878, it was decided to erect a monument to celebrate the Father of the Nation and with him, the entire season of the Risorgimento. The Vittoriano had to be a space open to the city. Vittorio Emanuele III inaugurated the monument the 4 June 1911.

It was the highlight of the International Exhibition celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of united Italy. In the monumental complex, underneath the statue of the Goddess Roma, the body of the Unknown Soldier has buried the 4 November 1921, in memory of the many soldiers who died in the war with no name or with no tomb.

The military parade in Rome for the Italian Republic Day

In the center of Rome along the Via dei Fori Imperiali, a large military parade, called the Rivista, celebrates Italian Republic Day. The President of the Italian Republic presides over the parade in his role as Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the Prime Minister, and other high officers of state.

parade june 2nd italian republic day

The ceremony of Italy’s Republic Day usually starts with the lay of a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Vittoriano monument also known as Altare della Patria.

milite ignoto Roma 2 june republic day

Later, the parade of Italian Republic Day begins when the Corazzieri Squadron of the Arma dei Carabinieri, both mounted and dismounted, arrives at the Presidential grandstand at Via dei Fori Imperiali.

The Italian Army Band honors the President by playing the first verse of the Italian national anthem.

The squadron departs while the Carabinieri Central Band is striking up to La Fedelissima, its official march. They lead the parade followed by the National Colors of the all-Italian Armed Forces, the Italian Red Cross Unit, the State Firefighters Corps, a delegation of UN, Nato, and UE. The queue closes with the unique Bersaglieri contingent in their jogging pace.

The Frecce Tricolori

Ceremonials of the Italian Republic Day end with the Frecce Tricolori (Tricolor Arrows). With their famous flyover, they color the sky over Rome in green, white, and red. The official name is 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico. They are the most numerous aerobatic demonstration team in the world with nine aircraft plus one soloist.

frecce tricolori republic day

In the afternoon the Quirinale Palace in Rome, the seat of the President of the Republic, and its gardens are exceptionally open and host musical performances by the band ensembles of the Italian Armed Forces.

The Changing of the Honor Guard

Tourists in Rome for the Italian Republic Day can also attend the changing of the Honor Guard at Quirinale Palace. The Corazzieri Regiment and the 4th Carabinieri Mounted Band bring this special event to life, with guards in ceremonial uniforms and on horseback.

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