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Italian Republic Day, also widely known as ‘Festa della Repubblica’ for Italians, is nationally celebrated on June 2 every year. The historical day commemorates the institutional referendum of 1946 when Italians were called to take a poll and decide the form of their government after World War II. With a flood of votes, the Italians chose a Republic with a Constituent Assembly and sent the kingdom to exile. So, on this day, a massive celebration takes place in the city of Rome to celebrate the creation of the Italian Republic.
History of Italian Republic Day
It all began after the fall of the fascist regime in Italy, supported by the House of Savoy for more than 20 years. House of Savoy was a royal dynasty established in 1003, which gradually grew from a family in power to a massive kingdom with absolute rule.
Following the fall and the end of World War II, the referendum was announced by universal suffrage in 1946, to be held on June 2 and June 3. The Italian public gathered to vote for their form of government — for either a monarchy or a republic. On June 10, it was revealed that 45% of voters had chosen the monarchy whereas 54% of Italians wanted a republic.
The results were clear – Italians ushered in a new chapter of freedom, as declared by the Court of Cassation, and exiled the male members of the royal family — the House of Savoy. The country adopted a new constitution on January 1, 1948, making Italy a unitary parliamentary republic with a permanent ban on the monarchy to ever rule the country again.
Every year, June 2 is commemorated with official ceremonies, speeches, concerts, and parades across the country, with a hallmark military parade celebration taking place in the capital city of Rome that is broadcast worldwide and can be enjoyed by all. Celebrations take place at Italian embassies all around the world as well, characterized by flag hoisting, painting faces red, green, and white, and going on Italian picnics. Another highlight of the day is the flyover by the Frecce Tricolori. Many aircraft soar through the Italian skies, releasing streaks of white, green, and red smoke. It’s a beautiful sight to see!
Italian Republic Day timeline
On March 17, Italy becomes a nation united under King Victor Emmanuel II.
The consolidation of different states of the peninsula into the single Kingdom of Italy, the Italian unification, occurs.
After winning the government of the republic, Italy adopts a new constitution on January 1.
The national holiday, which was previously celebrated on the first Sunday in June, is made official on June 2.
Italian Republic Day FAQs
When did Italy formally become a republic?
It was formally proclaimed on June 6, 1946.
How is Republic Day celebrated in Italy?
The general public celebrates with fireworks, concerts, parades, and picnics. A ceremonial wreath is laid on the Unknown Soldier at the Altare della Patria by the President of the Italian Republic, along with a military parade at the historical capital of the country, Rome.
Is June 2 a public holiday?
Yes, June 2 is a major holiday in the country. Banks, offices, and institutes are closed on the day.
How To Celebrate Italian Republic Day
Devour Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine has invented some of the most mouthwatering delights. There’s no better way to celebrate the freedom of Italy than by devouring Roman pizzas and Piemontese tajarin al ragù, and tossing red tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil into a refreshing caprese salad that replicates the colors of the Italian flag. Choose a region and recreate one of its traditional dishes!
Sing or listen to the Italian anthem!
If you’ve never heard the national anthem of Italy, now is the day. Composed by Michele Novaro, it’s a beautiful, patriotic tune. Play it at home and (try to) sing along to it by downloading and learning the words.
Attend the military parade
The annual military parade held in the center of Rome is an impressive sight. If you’re in Italy or planning to visit it in the summer, make sure you grab a seat along Via dei Fori Imperiali to watch the Military Review this year!
5 Facts About Italy That Will Blow Your Mind
Free fountain of wine
The small town, Caldari di Ortona of Italy has a fountain that flows for 24 hours with locally grown wine.
Fifth most visited country
As of 2018, Italy secured the fifth spot for being the world’s most visited country.
Hotspot for volcanic activity
There are three active volcanoes in Italy, all smoking hot!
Pasta since the 4th century
Research has found that Italians already ate pasta way back in the 4th century B.C., as suggested by paintings in an Italian tomb depicting pasta-making equipment.
Italy has the world’s tiniest country
Spanning just 44 hectares, one-eighth the size of New York’s Central Park, the Vatican city-state in Italy is the smallest country in the world.
Why We Love Italian Republic Day
It marks the birth of the Italian Republic
Stories of independence are always inspirational for all of us and close to our hearts. Italy was ruled by the House of Savoy for nearly 85 years. It wasn’t until World War II and with it the fall of fascism that Italians found freedom from the monarchy.
Italy gives us wonderful cuisine
Italian food is ubiquitous and cherished worldwide. Varying from region to region, it is unique, full of flavor, and unmatched by any other cuisine. We wouldn’t mind celebrating Italian Republic Day every month to get a free ticket to feast on Italian pizzas, pasta, and wine!
Italy is an art lover’s heaven!
Besides famous creations of food, Italy is full of artistic masterpieces that are globally renowned. From ancient monuments to rich cultural art, we get to see some of the most amazing sights in Italy. On top of this, it is also recognized as the birthplace of the Renaissance era — the biggest art movement of the world.
Italian Republic Day dates