When is Republic Day?
Always celebrated on 2 June. This is Italy's National Day.
Republic Day (Italian: Festa della Repubblica) marks the referendum of 1946, which resulted in the creation of the Italian republic.
History of Republic Day
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.
Italy's constitution now forbids a monarchy to ever rule again
In 1977, the national holiday was moved to the first Sunday in June, for economic reasons to avoid the holiday having a negative effect on a working hours. It stayed on the Sunday until 1999, when June 2 was made the official date.
Italy before 1870
Italy may have only been a united country since 1870, but Italy as a region has shaped the cultural and social development of the whole Mediterranean area since prehistoric times.
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 then, "Italy" or "Italian" has been the collective name for diverse states appearing on the peninsula and their overseas properties.
How is Republic Day Celebrated?
On Republic Day, Italy's president lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Altare della Patria in Rome. This is followed by a large military parade along Via dei Fori Imperiali.
A highlight of the day is the flyover by the Frecce Tricolori, when nine Italian Air Force aircraft soar overhead the parade sending streaks of green, white, and red smoke into the sky.
Did you know?
The highest peak in Europe is in Italy. Monte Bianco is 15,771 feet high and is part of the Alps.
Around $3000 of change is thrown into the Trevi Fountain by tourists each day. The money is collected and donated to charity.
Pasta is said to have arrived in Sicily with Arab traders in the 9th century, though it wasn't served with tomato sauce until 700 years later.
Italy has 51 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the most of any country in the world.
The fork became popular in Italy before any other European country as it allowed Italians to easier eat spaghetti.