Common to many national holidays across the globe, they often commemorate a country’s change in ruling, form of government, or geographic borders. In 1946, shortly after the dissolution of World War II and the fall of Fascism, the Italian population was called to vote on whether the nation would remain a monarchy or make a dramatic shift to a republic government.
With 12,717,923 votes for and 10,719,284 votes against, Italy became a Republic and the monarchs of the House of Savoy were displaced after 85 years. Since 1949, the “Festa della Repubblica”, or Republic Day, is now celebrated each year on the second day of June to mark this historic event in Italy.
Currently, the national holiday is celebrated with a large military parade that is led through central Rome, attended by Italy’s highest ranking officials. This includes all Armed Forces, Police Forces, the Fire Brigade, the Italian Red Cross, and several representatives from NATO and the European Union. Dating back to 1976, it is also custom to ceremonial place a laurel wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Altare della Patria. The festivities continue in the afternoon with the opening of the public gardens at the Palazzo del Quirinale, which is accommodated by music performances by the various military band ensembles.
One of the highlights for many Italian residents is the popular flyover by the Frecce Tricolore (National Acrobatic Patrol), where nine Air Force planes fly over the Vittoriano monument in tight formation with trailing green, white and red smoke; the colors of the national flag.