Republic Day of Italy

 

Known as Festa della Repubblica in Italian, Italy’s Republic Day is celebrated on the second day of June.  This day commemorates the Italian institutional referendum of 1946 when the entire Italian population was summoned through universal suffrage to decide what form of government to apply to the country after World War II and the fall of Fascism. Spoiler alert- they settled on a Republic, in which the power ultimately rests in the body of the citizens whom are entitled to vote for representatives to express their views as a people.  The Republic Day of Italy honors that moment in their history, of empowerment to the people, something they hadn’t had since the Roman Empire’s republic.

After 85 years of monarchy, with 12,717,923 votes for and a surprising 10,719,284 votes against, Italy became a Republic, and the monarchs of the House of Savoy were deposed and exiled.  No matter what the culture, there will always opposition to changes, no matter how rough the status quo is.  But at last the republic was established.  And the celebration and progress could commence.  Republic Day is one of the most important Italian public holidays which, like 14 July in France and 4 July in the USA, celebrates the birth of the modern nation.  To commemorate Republic Day and the modernization of Italy, a grand military parade is held in central Rome, truely the heart of the nation.  A committee assembles to carefully scrutinize nominee\’s qualifications for The Republic Man/Woman of the Year award, like the queen voted to head the parade of a small town festival only far more grand. There are two slots available; one for an Italian born nominee and one for a nominee dedicated to goodwill to the Italio-American culture.  Like many other Italian holidays, the Festa della Repubblica Italiana has a tradition of symbolic activities.  The celebration includes the laying of a wreath at the statue of the Unknown Soldier at the Altare della Patria and a military parade in central Rome, which is presided over by the President of the Italian Republic, Supreme Commander of the Italian Armed Forces. The Prime Minister, formally known as the President of the Council of Ministers, and other high officers of state also attend.  Republic Day traditions continue with the opening of the Palazzo del Quirinale public gardens with musical performances by martial bands.  The triumphant highlight of the day is the flyover by the Frecce Tricolori with nine aircraft from the Italian Air Force flying over the famous Vittoriano monument trailing green, white and red smoke for the colors of the Italian flag.

For the Italo-Americans, Republic Day is a way to get back in touch with their heritage, and honor the nation they came from. Italian culture stems back ages, into a rich archaeological history that should be honored on Republic day when, as a nation reborn, Italy carved a new path for itself.