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Italy Celebrates 150 Years of Unity this Week

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After some moments of doubt caused by Italy’s ever argumentative politicians, this Thursday March 17th has been declared a national holiday in celebration of 150 years of Italian unity.

In terms of celebrating Italy’s 150th birthday, Venice is being something of a party pooper, and Naples does not seem to want to celebrate its Italianess much either. Other cities and regions around Italy are in more of party mood though. And, if you are in Italy this Thursday, a whirlwind tour of museums will be possible, and won’t cost you anything. Indeed, this Thursday, entry into many of Italy’s many museums and monuments, including those in Venice and Naples, will be free.

What’s going on elsewhere in Italy on the country’s 150th birthday? Read on to find out.

Fireworks in Rome

Rome will be setting off fireworks and there will be concerts, street artists, and various other events to say happy 150th birthday to Italy. The festivities will kick off on the evening of Wednesday 16th March (scroll down to the bottom of the web page to click on the as yet non-definitive (!) list of events being held around Italy to celebrate the country’s birthday).

Festive Fiat

Italian auto-maker Fiat says it is going to celebrate Italy’s 150th birthday in style, and is helping its home city of Turin with funding for events in 2011.

Fiat teamed up with another well-known Italian name – Gucci, which also happens to be celebrating its 9oth year in business in 2011, to create a luxury 150th anniversary of Italy edition of its cheeky little Fiat 500:  Gucci edition of the Fiat 500.

Delightful Italy
Delightful Italy

Anniversary Events in Turin and Piedmont

Home to Fiat, the Italian city of Turin is in a celebratory mood too, and a list of 150th Anniversary events can be found here on this Exhibitions and Events in Torino and Piedmonte page – when you are there – be sure to click on the ‘Dettagli‘ buttons, or you may see a message warning that something is not right with Google Maps, sense impending doom, and leave.

Flags in Florence

Florence, or so I picked up via Twitter, has been decked out with flags to put the city in a party mood, and the rest of patriotic Tuscany is doing various things to say many happy returns to Italy, and will be playing the Italian nation anthem right, left and centre. And in Siena musical events are on Thursday’s anniversary menu.

Tuscany is Celebrating Italy's 150th Birthday
Tuscany is Celebrating Italy's 150th Birthday


Venice does not seem to be doing much on March 17th – possibly because the water bound city is under the control of the not so Italian unity friendly Lega Nord political party, which does not seem to want to party on down in celebration of Italy being united. Then again, Venice is probably still recovering from its annual carnival and may still be hung over.

Music in Milan

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At Milan‘s Palazzo Marino there will be a free concert from 5:15 pm to 6:00 pm. Entry to museums will be free and a selection of sports centres will be open. Otherwise, celebrations seem to be a bit on the sparse side.

Update: 16 March 2011 – The Milan section of today’s Il Corriere della Sera newspaper lists 10 or so anniversary celebratory events which are due to take places in Milan tomorrow. Nothing like brinkmanship!


In the grounds of Villa Trabia from 9:30 am there will be a 150th anniversary parade with soldiers dressed in period costume, fencing and horse riding for children, and a choir.


A few museums will be open, but not much else seems to have been laid on for the 17th March. Odd, as I know the Neapolitans like a good fireworks display.

Silvio Berlusconi

Nothing confirmed as yet, but he’s probably going to hold an civilised evening soiree of classical music and dance at his mansion in Milan.  Rumour has it that Ruby, aged somewhere between 19 and 75, has not been invited, and guests will be searched for mobile phones. Any found will be confiscated.

Umberto Bossi and Lega Nord

“Grinch” Bossi and his merry men and women don’t want Italy to be united and certainly don’t want to celebrate Italy’s unification.

The Lega Nord lot will probably spend the day plotting how to ensure Italy never reaches its 200th anniversary, one imagines. Bossi may keep some tricolour toilet paper handy.

Celebrate 150 Years of Italian Unity in Turkey

Oh, and if you happen to be in Istanbul in Turkey on March 17th, you might like to attend the 150th year of Unification of Italy, Verdi Choirs Concert in İstanbul‘s Fulya Theatre. Not sure why Turkey is getting in on the act, but what the heck, any excuse for a party is a good excuse!

If you Miss Italy’s Birthday

Don’t worry, as other events have been lined up for the rest of 2011.

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