Always celebrated on 2 June. This is Italy's national holiday.
Italy became a nation on 17 March 1861, when most of the states of the region and the two Sicilies were united under king Victor Emmanuel II, hitherto king of Sardinia.
The father of Italian unification was Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, the Chief Minister of Victor Emmanuel.
Rome stayed under the rule of the Papacy for nearly 10 years, and became part of the Kingdom of Italy on 20 September 1870. This is the final date of Italian unification.
On 2 June 1946, a referendum on the monarchy led to the establishment of the Italian republic, and Italy adopted a new constitution on 1 January 1948. Male members of the royal family were sent into exile because of their association with the fascist regime, and were only allowed to return to their country in 2002.
Since prehistoric times, Italy has shaped the cultural and social development of the whole Mediterranean area.
Important cultures and civilisations have existed there, and archaeological sites of note can be found in many regions. After Magna Graecia, the Etruscan civilization and notably the Roman Empire that dominated this part of the world for many centuries, Italy was central to European philosophy, science and art during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
The name Italy (Italia) is an ancient name for the country and people of Southern Italy. The name Italia means "Land of Cattle Calves or Veal".
Coins bearing the name Italy were minted by an alliance of Italic tribes (Sabines, Samnites, Umbrians and other) competing with Rome in the first century B.C.
By the time of emperor Augustus approximately the present territory of Italy was included in Italia as the central unit of the Empire; Cisalpine Gaul, the Upper Po valley, for example was appended in 42 B.C. Since yt, "Italy" or "Italian" was the collective name for diverse states appearing on the peninsula and their overseas properties.