It all started in 1946

June 2nd, 1946, was the day Italians voted to abolish the monarchy, and the Republic of Italy was born; hence Republic Day.

After an 85-year monarchy, which had for the most part been very popular with the people, a referendum resulted in 54% votes ‘for’  and 46% votes ‘against’.

Italy’s final king only ruled for one month

The House of Savoy had ruled since Italy’s Unification in 1861, but its final monarch, Umberto II (or Umberto Nicola Tommaso Giovanni Maria di Savoia, in full),

only got to be king for a month, earning him the nickname ‘Re di Maggio’ or ‘the May King’ – slightly unfair since he actually ruled from May 9th to June 12th.

Italy will never have another monarchy

For one thing, the constitution now forbids a monarchy, and for another, the House of Savoy family formally renounced their claim to the throne as one of the conditions for the right to return from exile, in 2002.

Republic Day changed dates for 24 years

In March 1977, Italy’s economy wasn’t doing so well, and all its public holidays were thought to be having a negative impact.

So to avoid affecting business, Republic Day was moved to the first Sunday in June. It was only changed back to June 2nd in 2001.

There’s a lot going on to celebrate

Rome will host a huge huge military parade through the historic centre, with smaller celebrations in many other cities and towns.

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