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Festa della Repubblica: Birth of the Italian Republic

Happy Woman in Front of ColosseumItaly is known for its historic festivals which date back hundreds of years. If you are planning to attend a holiday that highlights Italian patriotism from a more recent era, however, then the Festa della Repubblica is most definitely for you.

Also known as Festival of the Italian Republic, the Festa della Repubblica celebrates Italian nationhood and commemorates the 1946 referendum in which a majority of the Italian people decided that their country should become a republic. It is observed on the second day of June every year.

In the first half of the 20th century, Italian fascism rose to prominence, with Benito Mussolini, leader of the National Fascist Party, ruling the Kingdom of Italy from 1922 to 1943, and the Republican Fascist Party ruling the Italian Social Republic between 1943 and 1945.

festa della repubblica grunge stamp with on vector illustrationIn April 1945, near the end of the Second World War in Europe, the Republican Fascist Party was dissolved, and fascism fell in Italy. The people were called to the polls on June 2, 1946, when they were asked to decide on the form of government they wanted to have after the war. More than 12.7 million people voted for a republican form of government, while more than 10.7 million voted for a monarchy. As a result of the latter losing in the constitutional referendum, Umberto II, the last king of Italy, was exiled into Portugal after only weeks of ruling as a monarch. He came from the House of Savoy, which supported the dictator Mussolini during the earlier part of his reign. The other male descendants of the House of Savoy were exiled as well.

Today, the Festa della Republica is a nationally observed holiday during which official public ceremonies and grand military parades in the center of Rome are held. The parade is initiated by the Reggimento Corazzieri, an elite military unit, at the Via dei Fori Imperiali, a major road that runs from Piazza Venezia to the Colosseum. The festivities are held in the presence of the President of Italy, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Italian Armed Forces.

Altare della Patria

There is no work for most people in Italy, and commemorative activities like the laying of wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland) are also observed. The tomb features an eternal flame, which was built after the First World War under the statue of a goddess representing Roma.

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By Priscila Siano (266 Posts)

Priscila Siano is the Marketing Director of Tour Italy Now, an online tour operator specializing in Italy travel. She's a respected expert on making dream Italy vacations a reality for clients.

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