On January 7, 1797, the XIV Parliament of the Cispadane Republic voted to make the green, white and red tricolor its official flag. As such, January 7th has long been celebrated as the official birthday of the modern Italian flag.  Founded in the wake of Napolean Bonaparte’s conquests in Northern Italy, the Cispadane Republic later merged with the Cisalpine Republic, which adopted a modified version of the original tricolor, similar to the one we know today. It was modified again and then again as the Cisalpine Republic morphed into the Italian Republic and then the Kingdom of Italy. It emerged again during the Risorgimento as a symbol of Italian Unity and was carried by the Red Shirts of Giuseppe Garibaldi. With the addition of the royal coat of arms of the House of Savoy at the center, it was adopted by King Carlo Alberto as the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia’s official flag. Similar versions of the flag were adopted by other Italian regions before all came to share the same national flag in 1861 under the Kingdom of Italy of the House of Savoy. It was retained by both Mussolini’s Italian Social Republic and the modern Italian Republic with the royal Savoy Arms removed from its center.

Today, on the 222nd anniversary of the first Italian tri-colored flag, National Flag Day is being celebrated in Italy and by the diplomatic and consular network abroad.

Below is the statement released by the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella.

“Today, we are celebrating the 222nd anniversary of the first Italian tricoloured flag, the emblem of our Homeland. Starting from Reggio Emilia, our flag witnessed all the events that characterised the Risorgimento and the achievement of the Unification of Italy, all the way to the creation of the Republic. This path was marked by moments of great enthusiasm and also of terrible suffering, overcome by the tenacity, obstinacy and heroism of a people that never gave up the idea of giving their children a better future. In the tricoloured flag, Italians have always seen the reflection of their common history. The flag is a legacy that is passed down from one generation to the other to reaffirm the values of our identity in an international context that sees us, within our common European homeland, as the staunch supporters of peace and cooperation between peoples.

All Italians, moved by a feeling of honour and loyalty, look at the Tricoloured Flag with respect, identifying themselves as fellow citizens therein and in the Constitution.

Long live the Tricoloured Flag! Long live the Republic! “