The Italian Flag, also called the “Tricolore,” features three equally sized vertical pales of green, white, and red.
The Italian Constitution states that the green is on the left side, followed by the white and the red, and regulates its use, display, and protection.
Damaging or offending the Tricolore can be punished with a fine from 1,000 Euros up to 5,000. If this offense will be carried out during a ceremony, a festivity, and so on, the penalty is double.
Anyone who publicly and intentionally destroys, throws away, damages, makes useless, or stains the national Flag will be punished with a 2-year sentence in jail.
So even if the Italian Flag is not usually displayed outside home and business, Italians care about it as much as the US does.
“A Flag is Born.”
What is the meaning behind the colors, you might wonder?
As always, there are a few versions of the story:
- green for hope; white for faith and red for charity,
- green for the hills, white for the mountains, and red for the bloody wars for independence,
- green for freedom, white for faith and purity, and red for love.
However, if we look at facts, we know that the Flag was initially inspired by the French one, identical in form, but the green replaces the blue.
The Tricolore made its first appearance in the late 1790s. In Northern Italy, the Republic of Cispadane adopted the Flag as a sister Republic of Revolutionary France during the French Revolution. Later on, it was also adapted by the Lombard Region.
At the time, Italy was formed by several independent Republics, which one by one started to adopt the Tricolore, usually adding a logo in the middle to get distinguished.
On the 23rd March 1848, the Flag was used by Italian troops in battle against the Austrian army, making it an official symbol of the Italian confederation.
The following month, the Flag was adopted by the Kingdom of Sardinia. Finally, in 1861, it became the official Flag of the Kingdom of Italy.
When Italy was officially united as a monarchy under the Royal House of Savoy in 1861, a shield, cross, and Crown were added to the center of the Flag’s three stripes.
However, until 1925, when the model of the National Flag was defined by law, there were different shapes and standards all over the territory.
The Italian Flag also spread among political exiles, becoming the symbol of the struggle for independence and the claim to have more liberal constitutions.
On 17th March 1946, Italy became a Republic. Accordingly, the symbol of the Savoy Crown was removed, but the green, white and red stripes remained!
Since 1996, on 7th January, Italy celebrates “la Festa del Tricolore” to commemorate the first time it was officially adopted as a Flag on the same day in 1797.
It is not a Public Holiday; however, there are celebrations in the town of Reggio Emilia, where the Flag was displayed for the first time as a symbol of the Cispadana Republic.
Also, in Rome, at the Quirinale Palace, a change of the Guard takes place to honor in solemn form with the deployment. Furthermore, there is a parade of the Corazzieri Regiment in gala uniform and the Fanfare of the Carabinieri Cavalry Regiment.
This particular ritual takes places only three times a year, once on the Tricolore Day, and then on 17th March to celebrate the Anniversary of the Unification of Italy, and then on 2nd June to celebrate “la Festa della Repubblica” and finally on 4th November for “Giornata dell’Unità Nazionale e delle Forze Armate.”
If you want to taste the Italian Flag, come by and try our appetizers. Bandiera Italiana is a delicious Mozzarella di Bufala with oven-roasted Bell Peppers and basil leaves.
Or a refreshing Caprese Salad: alternated mozzarella and tomato slices, topped with fresh basil and balsamic vinegar.
Then, of course, let’s not forget that some of the legends around Pizza will also state that it was invented to honor the Italian Flag.