The 2nd of June is certainly the most important civic celebration in Italy. This public holiday celebrates this year the 68th anniversary of the Italian Republic.
On June 2nd and 3rd 1946, Italians (especially, for the first time, Italian women) voted by referendum to decide upon the future of their country at a time it was devastated by the Second World War and two decades of fascism.
Out of 22 millions of voters, 12 millions chose the Republic and 10 millions, the Monarchy : well, this parrow majority is not an unanimous public acclaim.
The traditionally monarchist regions took the disappearance of the Monarchy very badly. It had been in place since the Italian unification in 1861. In Naples, for example, the opponents of the Republic were still fighting in the streets against the police a few weeks after the vote. This young Republic had to prove itself. The members of the royal family were forced into exile until 2002.
The 2nd of June is a holiday since 1947 but it was abrogated in 1977 until 2000, when the Republic President of that time, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, decided to reintroduce this celebration to reinforce the national cohesion between the Italian citizens who sometimes have trouble building a common memory.
A lot of Italians do not attach any importance to this date (especially the younger generation), but even so they can attend the traditional parade in Rome under the authority of the President of the Republic as in France on the 14th of July.
If you’re in Rome at that date, you should know that the gardens of the Presidential residence are exceptionally open to the public each 2nd June !
To read online :
- A little story of the Italian Republic’s emblem, on the website of the Presidence (in Italian) : http://www.quirinale.it/qrnw/statico/simboli/emblema/emblema.htm