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On 2 June this year, Italy will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its Republic.
Magica Fossati

27 May 2016 - 10:31 AM  UPDATED 27 May 2016 - 3:12 PM

1. On 2 and 3 June 1946, Italian citizens were called to vote in a referendum, to choose which form of government their country should adopt.


54.3% of voters chose the republic, 45.7% opted for monarchy. Voters also chose the members of the Italian Constituent Assembly, which on 28 June 1946 elected as provisional Italian President Enrico De Nicola. He became the first President of the Italian Republic when the Costitution took effect, on 1 January 1948.

2. The 1946 referendum was the first occasion in which Italian women could vote for a national political election.


On 2 June 1946, newspaper Corriere della Sera published an article titled "Senza rossetto nella cabina elettorale" (Without lipstick in the poll booth), inviting women not to wear any lipstick when voting, to avoid the risk of leaving any stains on the ballot, therefore annulling it. Only the 1948 Italian Constitution would have granted women full rights and equal social dignity in all fields (art. 3).

3. The Italian Republic President's mandate lasts seven years. So far there have been 12 Presidents of the Italian Republic, but no woman has ever been elected to the role.


Giorgio Napolitano is the only President to have renewed his mandate for a second time, in 2013, but he resigned less than two years later citing his old age. One of the most popular Presidents was Sandro Pertini, who was head of state between 1978 and 1985.

4. The Italian Republic emblem, chosen in 1948 through a public competition, has three elements: a five-pointed star, a cogwheel, and an olive and oak branch.


The star has been a symbol associated with the personification of Italy since the Risorgimento; the cogwheel represents work, which is a reference to the Constitution's first article ("L'Italia è una Repubblica democratica fondata sul lavoro", Italy is a democratic Republic founded on work); the olive branch symbolises the nation's desire for peace, while the oak one embodies the strength and dignity of the Italian people.


5. The current President of the Italian Republic is Sergio Mattarella, who has been in this role since 3 February, 2015.


Born in Palermo in 1941, Mattarella is the first Sicilian President of Italy.