2 June 2016

Festa della Repubblica

Parades and parties celebrate the birth of the republic

Photo of military parade in Rome
A military parade is staged in Rome to mark the Festa
della Repubblica, which Italy celebrates on June 2 each year
Italy is today celebrating the 70th anniversary of becoming a republic on this day in 1946. Each year the country has a national holiday to commem- orate the result of the referendum which sent the male descendants of the House of Savoy into exile.

Following the Second World War and the fall of Fascism, the Italian people were called to the polls to vote on how they wanted to be governed. The result signalled the end for the monarchy.

A grand military parade takes place in Rome, attended by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, and the Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi.

Many cities throughout Italy hold their own celebrations as the day is an official bank holiday.

In April 1944, the reigning King, Victor Emmanuel III, had relinquished many of his powers to his heir, Crown Prince Umberto.

Photo of Umberto II
Umberto II, Italy's final King
He finally abdicated in 1946 and Umberto II ascended the throne. It had been thought that Umberto II and his Queen would be more acceptable to the people. But Umberto II has gone down in history as Il Re di Maggio, the King of May, as he reigned for only 40 days before being sent into exile.

Umberto II accepted the results of the referendum magnanimously and his family remained in exile until 2002, when his son, Victor Emmanuel, entered Italy for a short visit to the Pope. 

Travel tip:

When in Rome, a focal point for celebrating Republic Day is the Quirinale. The impressive Palazzo del Quirinale, at one end of Piazza del Quirinale, was the summer palace of the popes until 1870 when it became the palace of the Kings of the newly unified Italy. Since 1947 it has been the official residence of the President of the Republic of Italy.

Travel tip:

Military parades in Rome often start at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Piazza Venezia and travel along Via dei Fori Imperiali, past the Roman Forum, on the way to the Colosseum. 


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