Republic Day (Festa della Repubblica) is the Italian national holiday celebrated on the second day of June each year. It commemorates the referendum of 1946 when the Italian population was called to decide what form of government (monarchy or republic) should govern the country after World War II and the fall of the Fascist regime. After 85 years of monarchy, with 12,717,923 votes for and 10,719,284 votes against, Italy was proclaimed a Republic, and the royal family of the House of Savoy were deposed and exiled. Republic Day is one of the most important national holidays in Italy, and, like July 14th in France (Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille) and July 4th in the USA (Independence Day), celebrates the birth of the nation. All over the world, Italian embassies hold celebrations with Heads of State of the host country. Heads of State from all over the world send congratulations to the President of the Republic and special official ceremonies take place throughout Italy.
The major ceremony is held in Rome. A laurel wreath is placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the Altare della Patria, followed by a military parade in the presence of the highest offices of the state.
All armed forces, police forces, the fire brigade and the Italian Red Cross, along with some military delegations from NATO and the European Union, take part in the parade. The ceremony continues with the opening to the public of the Palazzo del Quirinale Gardens, official residence of the President of the Italian Republic, and concerts performed by the bands of the Italian Army, Italian Navy, Italian Air Force, Carabinieri, State Police, Guardia di Finanza, Polizia Penitenziaria (Penitentiary Police) and Corpo Forestale dello Stato (State Forestry Department).
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