By Bella Vagnoni, NIAF Intern
In Italy, June 2nd is Festa della Repubblica, a national holiday that commemorates the end of the monarchy. The history of the holiday dates back to 1946, when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy and adopt a republic form of government in its place. This vote came in the wake of World War II and the end of Benito Mussolini’s Fascist rule. Italians were more than ready for a change.
Festa della Repubblica, meaning Festival of the Republic, is a day full of celebration. While local, smaller parades take place all over Italy, the annual parade in Rome always draws the biggest crowd. Members of the Italian military, proudly waving Italian flags, march down the streets of Rome.
Additionally, the Frecce Tricolori flies over Rome and leaves behind a beautiful display of green, white, and red, as if the Italian flag is painted in the sky. One of the most revered traditions is the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Altare della Patria. The President, Prime Minister, and other state officials attend the ceremony in Rome. There is music, dancing, and of course—food!
Much like the American celebration of the Fourth of July, Festa della Repubblica is a national holiday. The government is closed, as are schools and most other local establishments. Internationally, Italian embassies and communities alike celebrate Festa della Repubblica. For example, in Chicago’s Little Italy there is a parade and wreath-laying ceremony to honor the republic that is still thriving in Italy today.
Bella Vagnoni is a sophomore at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, where she studies political science and plays on the women’s basketball team.