Thursday 2 June is Itays national holiday to celebrate the foundation of the republic in 1946. Festivities begin at 09.00 when the president of the republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, lays a wreath on the tomb of the unknown warrior on the Victor Emanuel monument in Piazza Venezia. This will be followed by the military parade in the Via dei Fori Imperiali at 10.00, and at 15.00 the gardens of the Quirinal Palace, home of the Italian president, will be opened to the public until 19.00.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Italy from the occupying German forces, so parts of the armed forces will march in uniforms of the time, using vehicles and equipment from the period. Members of Italian peacekeeping missions abroad will also take part in the parade.

President Ciampi has been instrumental in re-emphasising the celebration of the republic day holiday on 2 June, and as this is the final year of his presidency, the Rome city council is offering a firework display in his honour on the Janiculum hill on the eve of the holiday (1June) at 22.00