Italian fascinating history covers more than 3,000 years. It is full of many episodes of temporary unification and long separation, and failed empires. Everything that went down throughout the centuries brings us to today’s Italian Republic. Italy’s inhabitants nowadays enjoy a high standard of living and a greatly developed culture.

But, how did the era of Italy’s republic start?

Festa della Repubblica, Italian Independence Day - The Proud Italian

1. Festa della Repubblica History

If you were wondering when did Italy become a country, the answer is June 2, 1946.

Each year on June 2 Italy celebrates the Festa della Repubblica or the Festival of the Republic which is alike to Independence Day in the US and other countries. This national holiday salutes the official formation of the Republic of Italy after World War II.

After World War II, Italians voted on an institutional referendum on June 2 and 3 to determine if Italy should follow a monarchy or republic form of government. They voted to abolish the monarchy and form a republic and that’s when Italy was founded. 

Just a few years later, they declared June 2nd a holiday as the day when the Italian Republic was created.

June 2 is the day when Italy reinstated democracy. After this, Italy joined NATO and Italy’s economy started booming. Also, Italy was the one that founded the European Economic Community, which later turned into the European Union (EU).

Italy continued its economic and cultural growth and prospects and it is still a strong economic, cultural, military, and political factor in the 21st century.

Italian Army band celebrating Italiay's Independence Day

2. How Italians Celebrate Independence Day

Italy celebrates Festa della Repubblica by organizing festivals, concerts, parades, ceremonies, and fireworks all over the country, and of course, the Italians celebrate the day with a lot of food. Italian independence day is an important holiday, so offices, banks, and schools close. You’ll see grand parades marching and a ceremonial wreath being laid on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The biggest and most striking Festa della Republicca celebrations happen in the capital of Rome. After all, Rome is the seat of the Italian government and the residence of Italy’s president.

The celebrations in Rome usually start with a big parade in the morning. Italy’s president leads the parade along Via dei Fori Imperiali, the street that runs alongside the Roman Forum. The Prime Minister and other high officers of state are there, too.

The first military parade standing for the new Italian Republic took place in Rome in Via dei Fori Imperiali in 1948. The next year, due to Italy’s entry into NATO, there were ten parades happening simultaneously across the country. This has lead to featuring the parade in the protocol of official celebrations in 1950, and since then, the Italians have been enjoying it every year.

Monument to Vittorio Emmanuele II - The Proud Italian

There are usually huge crowds that attend the parade. A massive Italian flag is draped over the Colosseum for everyone to see. Also, Italian flags are everywhere on this day, throughout the entire country. The President lays a ceremonial wreath on the monument to the unknown soldier from World War I, at the Monument to Vittorio Emmanuele II.

The ceremony goes on in the afternoon with the opening of the gardens of the Quirinale Palace which is the residence of the President. Several military bands play music in the gardens and the event is open to the public.

Italians are entertained by the bands of the Italian Army, Italian Navy, Italian Air Force, the “Arma dei Carabinieri”, State Police, the “Guardia di Finanza”, the Penitentiary Police Corps and the State Forestry Corps. Perhaps the most breathtaking part of all the festivities that happen on Festa della Repubblica is the display by the Frecce Tricolori, the Italian Air Force acrobatic patrol. 

Nine planes fly over the Monument to Vittorio Emmanuele II to create an amazing design resembling the Italian flag. The planes emit red, green, and white smoke and they form the design of the Italian flag from the smoke of their flying. The Vittorio Emmanuele II monument is an enormous white marble structure between Piazza Venezia and the Capitoline Hill. However, people can see the display over most of Rome.

The sight is magnificent and it is one of the national symbols of Italy.

Pasta alla Norma, traditionally prepared in Sicily for Festa della Repubblica - The Proud Italian

When it comes to the food that people prepare on Italy independence day, it varies from region to region. For example, pasta may be universal throughout Italy today, but the style varies in each of the twenty regions. Each of the 20 regions has its own unique culture and cuisine which they have developed over centuries according to its biodiversity.

On one hand, Piemonte’s pasta tajarin al ragù is a classic dish from northwestern Italy. It’s a thin fresh egg pasta made with abundant egg yolks with a meat sauce. On the other hand, Sicily’s pasta alla Norma is a light southern-style pasta made of flour and water that is tossed with eggplant, ricotta, and basil. 

The two pasta dishes are quite different, but still, they are both traditional Italian food. So, each region celebrates Festa della Repubblica by preparing their own diverse regional specialties. But one thing is for sure, there’s an abundance of delicious food everywhere in Italy.

Frecce Tricolori, Italian Air Force acrobatic patrol celebrating Italian Independence day - The Proud Italian

Takeaway

Italian independence day is a much celebrated and popular holiday. It’s a truly joyful day filled with festivals, concerts, and parades across the country that is worth experiencing.

If you plan to visit Italy in June, make sure to be there on June 2 to feel the magic that takes place to honor Festa della Repubblica. And if you can visit Rome in particular, prepare to be blown away completely by the magnificent Frecce Tricolori.