Flag of Italy

Flag of Italy
Country Italy
Population 58,870,762 (2023)
Area (Km²) 294,140 (2023)
Сontinent Europe
Emoji 🇮🇹
  hex rgb
#008C45 0, 140, 69
#F4F9FF 244, 249, 255
#CD212A 205, 33, 42

The national flag of Italy, often called "il Tricolore" in Italian, was adopted on July 18, 1946 and consists of three vertical stripes of equal size of green, white and red colors in the appropriate sequence.

What do the three colors of the Italian flag mean?

Green has always been the color that symbolizes freedom and equality, values that have been aimed at achieving Italian unity. This shade also indicates hope and is combined with white, the symbol of faith, and red, the color of love.

Green has always been a color that symbolizes freedom and equality, values that were aimed at achieving the unity of Italy. This shade also indicates hope and is combined with white, the symbol of faith, and red, the color of love.

According to some hypotheses, these three colors have a second meaning:

  • green symbolizes Italian meadows;
  • white - the Catholic faith, as well as the snow of the Alps with large glaciers;
  • red - blood shed in past conflicts.

In 1897, during the celebration of the tricolor's centennial, Josue Carducci (Italian poet, literary critic, public and political figure) described the colors of the flag as follows:
 "The colors of our spring and our country, from Cenizio to Etna; the snows of the Alps, the April of the valleys, the flames of volcanoes. And at once these colors spoke to generous and kind souls with the inspiration and consequences of the virtues on which the homeland stands and which make it so great; white - serene faith in the ideas that make the soul divine in the constancy of the sages; green - the eternal flowering of hope for the fruit of goodness in the youth of poets; red - the passion and blood of martyrs and heroes..."

How many flags are there in Italy?

In addition to the main national tricolor, which was adopted on January 1, 1948, Italy uses three other flags: civil, state and naval.

All flags of Italy

The civilian and naval flags were adopted on November 9, 1947 and at first glance differ only in that the naval flag has a crowned shield, and the blue square at the bottom left, representing the Amalfi Republic, has changed its shade to light blue.

Emblem of Italy

But these are not the only differences. On the civilian flag, the lion does not hold a sword, and the book of the Gospel is open, so the military flag shows that peace negotiations have come to an end and it is time for the sword. The shield is divided into four parts: the upper left part depicts the lion of St. Mark symbolizing Venice, the upper right part symbolizes the maritime republic of Genoa, the lower left part is Amalfi, and the right part is Pisa.

The national flag of Italy was adopted on October 24, 2003 and contains the coat of arms on a white stripe, in the center of which is a five-pointed white star called "Stella d'Italia", i.e. "Star of Italy". To the left of the star is an olive branch, and to the right is an oak branch, which are intertwined with a red ribbon with the inscription "REPVBBLICA ITALIANA". This star was used for the "Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity" and was awarded to military and civilians who helped in the reconstruction of the country after World War II. This symbol is still associated with the armed forces.

The history of the Italian flag

To discover the history of the Italian flag, we must go back in time to the end of the 18th century, when ideals and movements based on the desire for political and social change began to spread in Italy after the upheavals of the French Revolution. On July 12, 1789, before the storming of the Bastille, the revolutionary journalist Camille Demoulin asked the rioting Parisian crowd what color to choose as a symbol of the French Revolution. The jubilant crowd asked for green, which, however, was replaced a few days later by blue and red, as green was the color of the king's brother. After some time, the cockade was supplemented with white, the color of the Bourbons, as a sign of respect for King Louis XVI, who still reigned despite the violent uprisings. In the same year, the ideals of the French Revolution began to spread throughout Europe, including Italy, which at that time was not yet united and was divided into kingdoms. Inspired by the French uprisings, the Italian Jacobins began to use the blue, white, and red cockade (a uniform mark - a metal or plastic, standardized pattern on a headdress) as a symbol. Initially, the revolutionaries wore a green leaf on their jackets, which was later replaced by a fabric cockade with green (already used), white and red (inspired by the French Revolution) colors.

However, the date of the Italian flag's creation is considered to be 1797, when the Transpedean Republic and the Cispedean Republic merged to form the Cisalpine Republic. During the celebrations in Milan, numerous tricolor cockades appeared in the crowd.

The history of the Italian flag

Deputy Giuseppe Compagnoni proposed that the flag and standard of the Cisalpine Republic of three colors - green, white and red - should be universal, and that these three colors should also be used in the Cisalpine cockade, which should be worn by everyone. Thus, the Italian flag appeared on January 7 during the 14th session of the Cispadan Congress.

The "Italian" military units that were formed on the flank of Bonaparte's army also had flags in the same style. In particular, the regimental banners of the Lombard Legion used white, red and green colors, which were closely associated with the collective heritage of this region. White and red were used on the very old city coat of arms of Milan (a red cross on a white background), and green was the uniform of the Milanese Civil Guard since 1782. These colors were also on the banners of the Italian Legion, which recruited soldiers from Emilia and Romagna. Perhaps this is what prompted the Cispadan Republic to use these colors on its flag. 

The history of the Italian flag

The tricolor was abolished in 1814 after Napoleon's defeat, but the Italians continued to use it against the Austrians. The shield with a white cross on a red field was adopted by the Savoyards by the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1848. This element gradually became a symbol of Italy, and the tricolor was chosen as the national flag in 1861, when the country became united. Finally, the Savoyard shield disappeared in 1946 when the Republic was proclaimed.

The shape and colors of the Italian flag were defined by Article 2 of the Constitution. On January 1, 1948, it was introduced that the flag of the Republic consists of three vertical stripes of equal size: green, white and red. Since 1997, Reggio Emilia has celebrated the Tricolor Festival every year on January 7.