Italy is interesting in so many ways, starting from its long history, culture, arts, food, cities, people, habits, and even clothing. Have you ever wondered what are the interesting facts about their flag? As with many countries the flag represents them and usually, they all have meaning. Do you know what does the Italian flag looks like? Do you know its history?
The colors of the flag are not just simple colors set based on mutual agreement. These three colors represent the whole of Italy, everything they stand for, and everything they stood for. From the Kingdom of Italy flag to the now Italian flag colors, the story has come a long way.
10 Interesting Facts about the Italian Flag
If you have visited Italy before then you must have even noticed how these colors are present on the streets and even in the food. The famous Margherita pizza or Caprese salad all have green, white and red colors. Il Tricolore is beautiful, it represents faith, hope, and charity, but many other things. Let’s find out more about the Italian flag meaning.
1. Italy’s flag colors
Firstly, let us talk about the most important fact ’how does the flag look like?’. I am sure that everyone is familiar with Italy’s flag by now, which is Green, White, and Red. The Italians call it Il Tricolore, which means three colors. If you show people the Italian flag, most of them will recognize it easily.
A few other countries have similar colored flags, while the closest brother would be Hungary. They have also the same color shades (probably the green is a little darker), they just have the three colors horizontally.
But also Mexico and Ireland are somewhat similar but with diverse shades as what are the Italian flag colors. The colors are placed vertically and the green is always the one nearest to the flag post, then comes the white and the red. Next, we talk about the Italian flag meaning.
2. Meaning of the colors
By now you know what color is the Italian flag, but what is the meaning of the Italian flag colors? Well, there are a few different meanings. Italians love to have romantic explanations, so in their words, the green is for the plains and hills of Italy, white for the snowy Alps, and the red stands for blood, for the Italian war to unify Italy.
Another one of the Italian flag colors meaning is hope, faith, and charity. Green is for hope, white is for faith and red is for charity. This is more of a religious interpretation, however, both are very much true and used. If you ask Italians, most of them would probably give you the first one as an answer.
3. When was the flag first used?
Most countries have a national celebration day when it comes to their flags. Italy is no different from them. Although you wouldn’t see the Italian flag colors on each and every house, many people do have the Italian flag in their window, or on their terrace.
Most commonly of course on sports events and national celebrations is when you could see the Tricolore on residences. The national day to celebrate the flag is on Tricolor Day, otherwise known as Festa del Tricolore. This day is the 7th of January and it was settled in 1797 when Giuseppe Campagnoni suggested making the flag universal.
This all happened in the Reggio Emilia state, where it is usually celebrated each year. Also, each year, on the Festa della Repubblica on the 2nd of June combat planes fly through the sky painting it in red, white, and green.
4. Italian food based on the colors of the flag
You must be familiar with a few Italian dishes already. What is the Italian flag connection to food? Well, if you just take the Pizza Margherita for example, you’ll notice the three colors present on the dish. The story behind the picture of Italian flag on dishes, or at least the presence of them is quite simple.
Pizza Margherita was created for Queen Margherita of Savoy and when she visited Naples they wanted to make sure that the Italian flag colors are present in the dish. So they created the pizza with red tomatoes, white mozzarella cheese, and fresh, green basil.
It is not just the pizza that holds the colors, but also salads like the Caprese Salad and pasta made with the flag colors. Italians are proud of green, white, and red so these are also featured in their clothing and other celebrations. Not to forget the Made in Italy label either!
5. The story behind the three colors
If someone asks you what does the Italian flag look like you already know the answer after reading these lines. And most importantly, you wouldn’t mix it with any other flag in the world. But there are more stories behind the flag. The first time Italy’s flag was shown to the public was on the 12th of February 1797 in Modena, the region of Emilia Romagna.
Back then the colors were displayed horizontally! Only after a year, they decide to make the colors vertical. At the same time, it wasn’t defined that this is the Italian flag, it was simply the flag of the Cisalpina Republic since at this time the country was still divided.
6. An Italian President tried to change the colors
This is probably one of my favorite facts about the Italian flag! That time when a former Italian president, Silvio Berlusconi tried to change the colors of the flag. He thought that it would be a great idea to slightly change the Italian flag colors, but the thought soon vanished as nobody agreed with him.
The citizens of Italy turned down this attempt very quickly while even a referendum was held where Italians were able to choose the shades. In the end, the referendum was also canceled, since these three colors mean so much, nobody would want to change them, ever! This is one of the hundreds of silly ideas Berlusconi had while being president…
7. Flag of the Roman Republic
When we think about when was the Italian flag made we know that the three colors were first adopted in 1796, but only a year later were they displayed. In the center of the flag there used to be a coat of arms and crown, which is not present today.
There was also the Napoleonic Kingdom of Italy flag, when Napoleon occupied the Cisalpine Republic. Back then it wasn’t Italy, but the Italian Republic and the flag couldn’t have looked further from what it is today. After the Napoleonic era, the tricolor flag became a symbol and it is still a very important one today.
8. How did the flag look like during World War II?
Alright, so now we know when was the Italy flag made and its representation as Kingdom of Italy flag. But another era where it looked different was during World War II. The army flag was an eagle in the middle, colors horizontal.
This change was thanks to the Italian Social Republic in 1943, where the army’s flag took a different design, while the flag itself outside of the war looked the same. These three colors we know today have been adopted officially since the 1st of January 1948.
9. The celebration of the Italian flag
Now that we have learned the important parts like what color is the Italian flag, let’s see in how many different ways Italians celebrate the national day. We have briefly mentioned that during football tournaments the flag is displayed everywhere in hopes of bringing good luck to the teams.
Besides football, the Festa del Tricolore which takes place on the 7th of January each year, it is celebrated in Reggio Emilia. More precisely, in Piazza Prampolini, where the military carries the flag which was used in the Cisalpine Republic. And then there’s the Festa della Repubblica on the 2nd of June.
10. Visitors can get the flag in souvenir shops
Now that we have covered all of the important historical facts, the last one is pretty simple. Do you wish to have a picture of Italian flag? You can actually buy the flag from any souvenir shop in Italy and they also sell it during football matches.
Every souvenir shop has an Italy flag image or any other gifts that display the flag. Whether that’s a keychain or fridge magnet, you can take it home with you or gift it to your loved ones. If you are a true Italian fan, then you must take out the flag during football matches!
Wrap up of the Italian flag meaning
That is a wrap-up of our Italian flag colors article. Everything you need to know about the Italian flag colors meaning is included in these 10 interesting facts. If you ever visit Italy, then you must get yourself some souvenirs. Fridge magnets are still not out of fashion, especially if they come in cute objects like the Vespa! You can also buy the printable Italian flag here!