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What to expect in Italy on Republic Day 2023

The Local Italy
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What to expect in Italy on Republic Day 2023
Italian carabinieri march on Via dei Fori Imperiali in Rome during the military parade held on the country's Republic Day. Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP

From special events to heavy traffic and shop closures, here’s what’s happening in Italy on June 2nd this year.

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June 2nd is Italy’s Republic Day, a national public holiday commemorating the day in 1946 when Italians voted to abolish the monarchy in favour of the current constitutional republic.

Conveniently, this year's Festa della Repubblica falls on a Friday, meaning that people in Italy will enjoy a three-day weekend.

READ ALSO: Ditching the monarchy or a day at the beach: What is Italy celebrating on Republic Day?

But, while many around the country will use Republic Day to get their first taste of summer (weather permitting, of course), beach picnics and idle hours spent under the ombrellone will not be the only thing going on on June 2nd.

Here’s a quick look at what you should expect on that date.

A military parade and trails of tricolour smoke in the sky in Rome

As is traditional, the bulk of official Republic Day celebrations will take place in the capital. 

On Friday morning, President Sergio Mattarella will pay homage to fallen Italian soldiers by laying a laurel wreath before the war memorial at the Altare della Patria monument. 

This will be followed by a spectacular display from Italy’s Frecce Tricolori, with nine Air Force jets expected to fly over Rome, leaving trails of green, white and red smoke in the sky. 

Flyover from Italy's Frecce Tricolori

The acrobatic unit of Italy's Air Force, commonly known as 'Frecce Tricolori', will fly over Rome on Friday, June 2nd, leaving trails of red, white and green smoke in the sky. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

The traditional Republic Day military parade will then take place, with hundreds of members of Italy’s armed forces marching down the iconic Via dei Fori Imperiali. 

READ ALSO: Eight things you can do in Rome for free

The general public will be able to watch the parade from stands on either side of Via dei Fori Imperiali, though the city of Rome hasn’t yet released info on tickets.

It’s also worth noting that traffic in central Rome will undergo major changes to allow for the celebrations. Such changes will be communicated to the public in the days immediately before the event.

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Other cities around the country may hold Republic Day celebrations, albeit to a far lesser extent.

Closed offices and reduced public transport – but what about museums?

As it’s usually the case on national public holidays, all public offices (banks, post offices, town halls, etc.) and schools will be closed.

In the case of shops and private businesses, the situation will largely depend on your own location.

READ ALSO: Calendar: How to make the most of Italy's public holidays in 2023

Notably, at least some supermarkets, restaurants and shops (especially clothing stores) will remain open in major cities, though they may have limited opening hours (e.g., they may be open until the early afternoon and then close for the rest of the day).

On the other hand, in smaller cities and rural areas, most local shops will likely be closed for the entire day, meaning you’ll have to make sure you do your shopping on the days before.

Boboli Garden, Florence

Access to Florence's Pitti Palace museums and Boboli Garden will be free of charge on Republic Day. Photo by Claudio GIOVANNINI / AFP

As for museums, galleries and monuments around the country, the decision will ultimately be up to each single institution, meaning that some may remain closed on the day, while others may operate as normal.

On this note, you should be aware that sites that will keep their doors open on June 2nd may grant free access to the public as part of their own Republic Day celebrations.

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For instance, access to all of Rome’s state-run museums and archaeological parks will be free of charge on Friday, as will be access to Florence’s Palazzo Pitti museums and Boboli Garden. 

READ ALSO: What you need to know about Italy’s free museum Sundays

Most public transport companies around the country will operate on a reduced timetable during the day, with significantly stripped-down services during off-peak hours. 

So, should you be planning on travelling on June 2nd, you’re advised to check the holiday hours (or orari festivi in Italian) of the relevant transport companies to avoid any unpleasant surprises.  

Luckily, no transport strikes are currently planned for Republic Day.

Likely heavy traffic

Italian roads rarely see much in the way of heavy traffic on regular weekdays or weekends, but that all changes around national public holidays and long weekends. 

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Though no official traffic forecasts have yet been released, Italian roads are likely to see some congestion on June 2nd as many people leave for weekend getaways.

The first half of the day (morning and early afternoon) is generally busier, with congestion usually decreasing in the late afternoon and evening.

Traffic jam on motorway

Italian roads may see some heavy congestion on Friday, June 2nd as many around the country will leave for their long weekend getaways. Photo by Jean-Philippe KSIAZEK / AFP

Based on recent years’ events, state roads (or strade statali) connecting big cities to popular seaside locations are the most likely to be affected by significant congestion, though jams on motorways (autostrade) cannot be ruled out.

There are a number of resources that you can use to keep up to date with the latest developments on the road.

This online map from Italy’s motorway construction and maintenance company ANAS features live updates on road closures, maintenance work, traffic levels and even weather conditions. The service is also available through their mobile app, ‘VAI’.

Uncertain weather conditions

Though it’s too soon to know exactly what the weather will be like on June 2nd, the latest forecasts say a cold-air front from northern Africa will reach the centre and south of Italy, including the islands, just before the holiday.

This may bring some instability to localised areas of central and southern Italy on Republic Day and during the rest of the weekend, though the type of weather we can expect is yet to be confirmed.

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