The Italian Almanac

Army parade

Italian News - June 3

Italy celebrated the 60th anniversary of the founding of its Republic on Friday with a full-scale military parade in central Rome attended by the head of state and politicians of all stripes. Napolitano opened the celebrations shortly after 9:00 with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Rome's Piazza Venezia.

As the head of state placed the wreath on the altar, Italy's celebrated aerobatics team, the Frecce Tricolori, flew overhead leaving plumes of red, white and green smoke in the sky marking the colours of the Italian flag. Members of the army, navy and air force took part in the parade together with the Carabinieri military police and war veterans while thousands of citizens turned out to watch.

In a message sent to Italian Defense Chief of Staff Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, Napolitano said that the celebration was a "solemn event in remembrance of the determination and commitment of the many Italians who decided to restore independence and build a democratic Italy founded on the values of justice and equality".

The president praised the professionalism, courage and sacrifice of the members of the Armed Forces, saying their lives were dedicated to "ensuring freedom and human dignity". He also paid tribute to the soldiers who had lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan were Italian contingents are currently deployed.

The ceremony ended with a second display by the Frecce Tricolori.