Jun 8, 2011
I always enjoy a holiday and more so when it gives me a long weekend. This year's Festa della Republica which fell on a Thursday (June 2), gave a large majority of Italy the excuse to also take Friday off and Italians were on the move this last weekend, ourselves included.
The north came under seige as Mother Nature unleashed storm after storm and threw a grey, fleecy cover over the sun. In the south, we lazed around the beach and watched the mercury rise. It was a shame to leave it and surrender again to the north's wet grip.
It's only after getting back did I learn the significance of the "festa". Italy went into WW2 governed by a monarchy with Victor Emmanuel III as the king and Benito Mussolini as the Prime Minister who was a Fascist. In 1946, just as the throne passed to his son Umberto, (because Victor met an untimely death at the hand of an anarchist), Italians were asked to vote on their choice of government; retaining the monarchy or becoming a republic. Their choice for a republic sealed the fate of all male descendants of the House of Savoy who were then sent into exile.
A 65 year old history lesson might not have been so interesting if it had not been fairly recent that the Savoy males were again allowed to step on Italian soil. One of the first items on their agenda was to sue the government for damages. Short but interesting news clip "Fallen Savoy royals seek damages over Italy exile".