Italy’s National Day (or Festa della Repubblic) marks the official formation of the Republic of Italy, following World War Two. Celebrated on the second of June, this is one of the most important events of the summer and draws huge crowds to Rome in particular.
The history of Italy’s National Day dates back to the 2nd June 1946 when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy. The male members of the former royal family and any possible heirs to the throne were all exiled until those who renounced their claim to the throne were allowed to return in 2002. Similarly to Independence Day in America and Bastille Day in France, National Day celebrates the birth of the nation.
National Day was originally celebrated (and is currently celebrated) on 2nd June to mark the exact day that the Italian public voted for a republic over a monarchy. However, in 1977, the Italian economy was struggling and it was decided to move National Day to the first Sunday in June so as not to impact businesses as greatly. It was only moved back to 2nd June in 2001.
On the 2nd June (whatever day of the week it falls on), most banks, shops, restaurants, museums and tourist attractions are closed or at least have reduced hours. Public transport services are also greatly reduced. However, if you are in Italy on this day, you will more than likely get swept up in the celebrations and forget that the typical tourist sights are closed. The only exception is the museums and public areas of the Vatican, as Vatican City is considered a country of its own.
All over the country, people celebrate Festa della Repubblic with festivals, concerts, parades and firework displays. The biggest celebrations are, understandably, in Rome, but you are sure to stumble across festivities all around the country. In Rome, there is a large parade in the morning running along Via dei Fori Imperiali. This is the road that runs past the Roman Forum, and as the parade attracts huge crowds, it is recommended to arrive early to secure a good spot.
The Palazzo del Quirinale, the residence of the Italian President, is open to the public for the day with military bands playing music in the gardens. There are other celebrations across the city, but the highlight every year is the flyover by the Frecce Tricolori, the Italian Air Force acrobatic patrol that fly over the city in nine planes that leave red, green and white smoke trails behind them, resembling the Italian flag.
Travel Tips To Italy's National Day
- Date: Saturday 2nd June 2018
- Currency: Euros
- Time zone: CET
- Weather: Average temperatures of 20-28°C, expect sunshine and humidity.
- Book flights and hotels: June is still considered mid-season in Italy, before holidaymakers arrive from all around Europe in July and August. If you’re celebrating in Rome, we recommend booking accommodation early. Be aware that this is a public holiday and there will be many road closures and changes to usual public transport schedules.