Belated 150th Happy Anniversary Italy!
This post is a little late considering the actual anniversary of Italy’s unification was last Thursday 17th March but I wanted to do a little research first.
I have to admit, I was very surprised to hear that Italy was only 150 years old. How could this be? Surely Australia is not older than Italy? And of course it isn’t but it is only 150 years since Italy became a Republic. I wonder how many more years until Australia can call itself a Republic too?
Trying to condense the history of Italy is not easy and after reading quite a lot about the different kingdoms of Italy that changed so often over the years, (and you can imagine the corruption!) I decided there is really no easy way to re-tell the story. And I’m sure none of you want a history lesson anyway!
So to cut a very long story short, he is my condensed version of the unification of Italy.
The Kingdom of Italy as it was once known, was theoretically a constitutional monarchy. As Italy was a monarchy before becoming a Republic they even had their own royal family.
The monarchs of the House of Savoy who led Italy were :
▪ Victor Emmanuel 11 (1861–78) – Former King of Sardinia and first king of united Italy.
▪ Umberto 1 (1878–1900) – Approved the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary. He was Assassinated in 1900 by an anarchist.
▪ Victor Emmanuel 111 (1900–46 )– King of Italy during the First World War and during the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini.
▪ Umberto 11(1946) – The last King of Italy who was pressured to call a referendum on whether Italy would retain the monarchy, in which Italians voted for a republic.
The ‘Kingdoms’ of Italy were : The Kingdom of Sardinia, The Kingdom of Lomardia & Venezia, The Papal States and The Kingdom of the Two Siciliys.
Shortly after World War II, civil discontent led to the Italian Constitutional Referendum, 1946 on whether Italy would remain a monarchy or become a republic. Italians decided to abandon the monarchy and form the Italian Republic, which is the present form of Italy today.
So as last Thursday the 17th March 2011 was the 150 year anniversary since Italy became unified, we were lucky enough to enjoy a public holiday (for this year only) and witness Florence shining proudly under the green, white and red. There were concerts, fire-works, flag throwing and the cities historical landmarks were bathed in the ‘tricolore’
We enjoyed the evening with a lovely dinner at Il Barrino in Via Gioberti followed by a walk though the centro storico. I really love Florence at times like this when there is such a great atmosphere in the city. Every shop window had their own patriotic ‘Italiano’ decorations and there were Italian flags decorating every street.
I felt very proud to be half Italiana myself!
My husband, Emiliano was a Bersagliere when he did his military service in his younger days. Apart from the signature feather plume on the hat, the Bersaglieri are known for their jogging formations while even playing musical instruments. It is compulsory that they jog always while in service. (see the video link below)