Buono Festa della Repubblica!
June 2nd is one of the most significant days for Italians because it's Republic Day! On June 2nd, 1946, after World War II had ended, Italians voted to dismantle the monarchy and become a republic. Since then, celebrations are held each year, with the largest being in Rome. The only National holiday of June, Republic Day kicks off the summer month with parades all across the country.
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Brief History of the Republic of Italy
Before Italy became known as Italy, the large cities we know today were divided into kingdoms and territories. Cities such as Venice and Rome were each directed under their own governments and courts for centuries. They were joined together under the Roman Empire for a brief time, but this slowly fell apart, and the territories once again became separated. It wasn't until 1861 that the separate provinces were joined together under one government, which became the Italian monarchy. A parliament was established, and Victor Emmanuel II, previously the King of Piedmonte-Sardinia, was declared the King of Italia!
But how did this even come about? What compelled the citizens of the different territories to come together and create a unified country? Many regions and provinces were controlled by other countries, such as France or England, while the other areas were governed by poorly developed governments or forced leadership. This led to many citizens organizing uprisings against their current governing parties and started a chain reaction with the other regions voicing distaste against their current governments. A council was formed between members of different territories that voted to create a parliament and then elect the new king. The result? The Republic of Italy!
Although the citizens of newly founded Italy were glad they were no longer under various oppressive rulers, the monarchy didn't come without its own concerns. The first King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II, favored war as a solution, as did his son Umberto, who became king once he passed away. His son, Victor Emmanuel III, whose support of Mussolini's fascist rule over Italy brought the distaste of the monarchy to its height. It only took three kings for the Italian citizens to decide they wanted to become a republic; what an amazingly short monarchy! A fourth king ruled for a little over a month, but as his rule took place simultaneously with when Italian citizens voted to become a republic, he was shortly exiled.
Only lasting 85 years, the Italian monarchy was certainly short-lived. But without it, it's hard to imagine Italy becoming what it is today! The vote that took place to dismantle the monarchy was such an important day for Italians because it meant they finally had achieved what they had been fighting centuries for, a unified and properly governed republic. That's why June 2nd has become one of the biggest holidays of the year! And what better place to celebrate than Rome!
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Celebrate Festa della Repubblica in Roma!
Festa della Repubblica is one of the largest celebrations of June in the vibrant city of Rome! The morning of June 2nd, a large parade led under the current president follows the street Via Dei Fori Imperiali, which also happens to be one of the best streets to spot historical sights! The bustling crowd makes its way down to watch the president lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and a massive Italian flag is draped across the Colosseum. Stick around until the afternoon and enjoy a procession of military bands that gather in the garden at the president's residence, Palazzo del Quirinale.
The most popular event of the holiday is a display put on by Frecce Tricolori, the Italian Air Force aerobatic patrol. The planes put on a show, flying over the monument commemorating Victor Emmanual II and painting red, white, and green across the sky with their smoke. The Vittorio Emmanuele II monument is also a breathtaking sight; standing tall and made entirely of white marble, the monument remembers Italy's first king.
Wherever you might find yourself in Italy on Festa della Repubblica, you'll be sure to find plenty of celebrations! Whether you attend Rome's massive parade or find yourself in a smaller village celebrating with locals, there will be tons of Italian culture to soak in.
Check out this list of other activities in Italy during the month of June!