On Monday, June 2nd Italy celebrated the national holiday called Republic Day. I had no idea what it meant but I knew we didn’t have class and there was going to be a parade, both of which show how important the holiday is. Monday morning came and my roommates and I headed to see the parade. We almost missed it because we thought the parade was ending in the Piazza Republicca. We ended up walking with the parade over to the Piazza della Signoria where they held a very cool ceremony. There were men in the windows of the Palazzo Vecchio that scaled down the wall with a large Italian flag. At one point, the band played the national anthem and the large crowd began to sing along. It was cool to experience the patriotism of a country other than the United States.
The next part of the ceremony was very confusing because it was spoken completely in Italian. However, it was very interesting to watch the politician with a very nice suit on give out awards. There was this one instance where he was giving an award to a man in a full military dress uniform and kissed him on both cheeks. This is customary in Italy, but it was very shocking for me to watch this exchange between two very professional men.
It was no coincidence that the ceremony was held in the Piazza della Signoria, which is considered the political heart of Florence. After doing a little research, I learned that Republic Day, known to Italians as Festa della Repubblica, commemorates the day when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy in 1946 and their country became a republic. In a sense, Republic Day is comparable to the United States’ Fourth of July.
The main celebration is a grand military parade held in Rome. We were actually in Rome a week before the parade and there were people setting up for the large event. Although we couldn’t be in Rome for the main parade, it was still very cool to experience an important Italian holiday in Florence.