One of beloved and stereotypical American summer memories for anyone, whether tourist or resident, is the quest for a July 4th celebration– a barbecue with fireworks, hot dogs, cotton candy, slushies and beer, in no particular order, in honor of America’s rebellious and revolutionary history. The Italian equivalent of an Independence Day would be the Festa della Repubblica, a national holiday and celebration of the 1946 referendum to form a republic nation and formally, permanently exile its monarchy. History buffs may recall that Italy has most recently celebrated the 150th anniversary of unification of its city-states. The Kingdom of Italy only lasted seventy six years– in 1946, the Italian government voted to form a republic and subsequently officially exile its prior monarchy.
Festa della Repubblica is kicked off on June 2nd with a morning parade of armed forces led by Italy’s President (currently Giorgio Napolitano) down Rome’s via dei Fori Imperiali, after which there are speeches, the anticipated fly over the Monument to Victor Emmanuel II by Italy’s Frecce Tricolori, military aviatrix, and concerts at the Palazzo del Quirinale, presidential office and residence. For residents and visitors across the peninsula, the Festa della Repubblica is a ponte, an often time three-day weekend to get out of town. Most head to the beach or country for their own personal barbecue celebrations. Commercial activity– from shops to transport– in most major cities such as Rome and Milan is limited.
Though you may not find the hot dogs you so desire in Rome, you can have an evening under big bang fireworks. The June 29 Festa di Santissimi Pietro e Paolo (Saints Peter and Paul, patron saints of Rome) is J a Rome-only holiday when most shops close, Romans head to the beach and the city celebrates saints Peter and Paul with fireworks and music. For those in the Eternal City on the evening of the Festa of St. Peter and Paul, the city hosts two main events of fuochi artificiali. In the center only? Shooting over Castel Sant’Angelo– and almost directly in front of St. Peter’s Basilica– will be an unforgettable fireworks display. For the adventuresome, head outside the historic center toward San Paolo Fuori delle Mura (the basilica of St. Paul’s Outside the Walls). In honor of St. Paul, fireworks are shot over the basilica. Most Romans like to get front row seats on Ponte Marconi, the modern bridge that crosses the Tiber between the Ostiense and Monteverde Nuovo neighborhoods.
Photo by OKRoma