June 2nd, is Italy’s Festa della Repubblica. Not to be confused with Unification Day on March 17th of 1861, this holiday commemorates the day in 1946 that Italian citizens voted to abolish the monarchy in favor of a republic.
Celebrations abound all over the country, but they are especially exciting in Rome. I had the pleasure of being there two years ago, and though many businesses were closed, it ended up being one of my favorite memories of Rome.
Head to Piazza Venezia and the Altare della Patria, also known as several other things such as “Monumento Nazionale”, “Il Vittoriano”, simply “Vittorio Emanuele II”, or by disapproving Romans as “the wedding cake” and “the typewriter”. It is quite impressive and impossible to miss.
A parade will begin by placing a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the monument. A military band along with a string of Carabinieri will continue the parade throughout the city.
You can feel the pride of the Italian people, bringing their children to watch and explaining to them the meaning of the events. As I stood there watching, I could barely see the parade go by for all the children perched on their fathers’ shoulders. It was wonderful seeing the pride in all the faces young and old.
As we wandered along with the parade among ancient ruins and famous monuments suddenly everyone looked up. In the midst of all the excitement and music all of us together lifted our gaze to see the Frecce Tricolori, some of Italy’s Air Force planes proudly streaming the colors of the Italian flag in the azzurri blue sky. What a celebration to be a part of!
With another wonder from Ancient Rome everywhere you look, Michelangelo’s ceilings and sculptures, and Bernini’s fountains, it is hard to remember that some of Italy’s history is in fact quite young. Their Unification was the same time as our Civil War in America. This special day in history was only 1946, a year many of our parents and grandparents can still remember.
It’s history, ancient and modern is what makes Italy such a unique and dynamic country. Aren’t we all so very thankful for the incredible place it is today?
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Lindsay Sinko, PFI Travel USA