Today, June 2nd is, Italy’s republic day and a national holiday. Coming so soon after Sunday the majority of Italians are bound to make a “ponte” or bridge of it and enjoy a long week-end. Since, the weather is also going to be marvellous with a continuing high pressure area creating temperatures above thirty degrees centigrade in the peninsula there are certain places we’ll definitely avoid e.g. seaside resorts and other places we’ll gladly plunge into e.g. the cool forests around us.
The character of Italy’s republic day has clearly changed a lot since its first inception when the republic was proclaimed by general referendum in 1946 after the disastrous final two years of civil war which ended WWII for Italy. It’s not a “US style” celebration of independence, which, anyway, is on a different date, March 17th. It’ not even a day for the armed forces, although the military parades through the centre of Rome may incline one to believe it’s their day. (NB watch out for the Bersaglieri with their quick-step march of 140 paces a minute, the fastest march-step in the world!).
It’s not even a French revolution type of celebration since there was no ancien regime to demolish. It’s, in fact, a celebration of Italy’ reconstruction as a democratic nation after over twenty years of increasingly terrifying fascist dictatorship.
There may have been many citizens at the 1946 referendum who would have liked democracy within a constitutional monarchy but that Italian monarchy proved itself incapable of such a check on the totalitarian control Mussolini increasingly wielded on the nation and the king was shown the back door of the nation and told to get out and stay out.
Incidentally, it was only recently that his grandson, Emanuele Filiberto, was allowed into Italy at all (where he scored a great success as a dancing to the stars champion and, broke a few heart, including my wife’s who met him when he was introducing his new book at nearby Borgo a Mozzano’s summer Teatro della Verzura festival in 2011).
So, do welcome Italy’s republic day if you are an immigrant to the country (I hate the word ex-pat to describe the same) or are just occasional visitors, like those we had for a couple of weeks staying in our village of Longoio and who woke us up to the fact that, thanks to Italian legislation, and the efforts of Robert Chanter (see my post at https://longoio.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/ians-right-hand-man/ ) bird life in this country has been released from its worst threats by irresponsible hunters and who spotted over fifty species in our area alone!.
Like those birds that have returned to roost in this country long may Italy’s republic fly with freedom in the face of those pessimists who would like to see the dark shadows of totalitarianism stain again this beautiful country.
Here’s a redstart spotted by one of our RSPB visitors to Longoio. Evidently this bird is an endangered species in the UK with a population decline of over 55% in the last ten years. Here, in Italy, it’s well on the increase.
I also spotted that Google celebrates this fine day for a fine country too!