2 June, 2020

Happy Republic day

On June 2, 1946 Italians were asked to choose between a monarchy or a republic.

But did you know that …

On the ballot paper the republic was represented by the “Italia Turrita” (an image of a woman).

«[…] A beautiful woman wearing a sumptuous dress, enriched with a cape, sitting on a globe, with a crown of towers, and city walls around her head.  In her right hand she holds a sceptre (a rod embellished with medals) and in her left hand a cornucopia of different fruits and she has a beautiful star above her head. […] »(Cesare Ripa, Iconology, 1603)

This is how Cesare Ripa described his Italia Turrita. In 1946 the supporters of the republic chose the turreted Italy as the republic symbol to be used in the election campaign and on the ballot paper. Instead the opposition chose the Savoy coat of arms, which represented the monarchy.

However, when the Republic was born, the Italia Turrita was not the chosen symbol. Instead a star was chosen: a star inscribed in a gear wheel, with olive and oak branches, held together by a bundle with the inscription “Italian Republic”.

During the Republic Day parade the Head of State chooses a Lancia Flaminia

This is a special version of the Lancia Flaminia 355.  Four copies were made for the Quirinale in 1961 and they are used only for the most solemn occasions.

The vehicle was used for the first time on the state visit of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, in May 1961. It is a beautiful model, the pride of the Italian automotive industry, and of one of its greatest body builders, Pininfarina, who created its features and modifications.

The celebrations in 1961 were moved to Turin

To commemorate the centenary of the Unification of Italy, the celebrations were moved to Turin which was the first capital of a united Italy, from 1861 to 1865.

June 2 was not considered a public holiday

It was only in 2001 that the Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, a strong supporter of the republic and the idea of homeland, on 2 June changed the status of this day from a “mobile holiday” (the celebrations took place on the first Sunday of June), to instead be a public holiday on June 2.

Italian women vote

In Italy women voted for the first time in the administrative elections of March and April 1946 and, later, for the famous monarchy / republic referendum.

June 2nd is not only the Republic Day, but also a symbol of liberty and of civil and political achievements. 226 women applied for the Constituent Assembly and out of its 556 seats, 21 were won by women.

Maria Federici, Lina Merlin, Teresa Noce and Nilde Iotti are now part of the 75-member commission charged with defining and drafting the text of the new republican constitution.

The specific gender equality inserted in article 3, paragraph 1 of the Constitution is due to the intervention of the socialist Lina Merlin.

“All citizens have equal social dignity and are equal before the law, without distinction of sex, race, language, religion, political opinions, personal and social conditions”.

June 2 is a date of conquest, struggle and sacrifice.

Happy birthday REPUBLIC!