Flag of Italy


The flag of Italy is a true symbol of the national unity of all Italians. The emblem was created by heroes of the people and accompanied the inhabitants of the Apennine peninsula on the great way to the formation of a united and independent country. Every modern citizen of this state respects and loves the native flag, for its unique history and events related to the national symbol of Italy.

The Italian flag has many foreign relatives of similar design. Despite this, the tricolor has retained its uniqueness, and its meaning has received many interpretations – national and exotic.

This is what the modern flag of Italy looks like:

Флаг Италии
Flag of Italy

History of the flag

Italy obtained sovereignty in the sixties of the century before last. Before that time, there were only separate state entities. The flag with this coloring was created before the appearance of a united Italy.

For the first time the flag was shown at the end of the XVIII century. The prototype of the flag is the green, white and red cockades of the rebels from the city of Bologna, who rebelled and fought against the authority of the Pope in 1794. This idea was borrowed from the tricolor bows used by the French revolutionary republicans. Napoleon helped the Bolognese rebels in every way possible; he was also interested in weakening the pontiff’s power.

In 1797 Napoleon Bonaparte defeated the papal dictate. Bologna became part of the Cispadian Republic that was formed. The commander gave orders for the banner of rebellion to become the official symbol of the new independent power. At the beginning of its existence, the flag had stripes arranged horizontally. In the center was drawn the coat of arms of the country, on which can be seen the spoils of war and the four arrows that symbolize the provinces.

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Flag of the Cispadian Republic in 1797

The following year the Cispanic state joined the Cisalpine republic and gave it, as a sign of respect, a tricolor symbol. The flag was given a green-white-red color, with a vertical arrangement of colors, but the distinguishing feature of the flag was that it was shaped like a square.

Флаг Цизальпинской республики в 1798—1802 годах
Flag of the Cisalpine Republic in 1798-1802

In 1802, the Cisalpine Republic was renamed the Italian Republic. A new flag appeared:

Флаг Итальянской республики в 1802—1805 годах
Flag of the Italian Republic in 1802-1805

In 1804 the republic became a monarchy. The flag itself retained its usual coloring, but the shape and the image on it were changed. On the red field in the form of a rectangle, a white rhombus was drawn, in which a green rectangle was inscribed. In the middle you could see the golden eagle of the Emperor Napoleon.

Флаг Италии
Flag of the Italian Kingdom in 1805-1814

After Napoleon Bonaparte lost his power in Italy, the kingdom was destroyed. The flag was no longer used, but the combination of colors itself was preserved and can be seen on the emblems of some provinces.

The year 1861 was marked by the creation of a centralized Italian monarchy. The new country has created a new symbol – a canvas, on which were drawn vertical stripes (green, white and red). And in the center was installed the dynastic emblem, at that time, of the ruling Savoy dynasty. The flag had a red heraldic shield on which a vertical cross was drawn.   During Fascist Italy in 1926, the state wanted to make small changes to the design of the Italian flag, but the encroachment did not yield the desired result.

Государственный флаг Королевства Италия (1861—1925)
State flag of the Kingdom of Italy (1861-1925)

During the Mussolini government from 1943 to 1945, a pro-fascist Italian Socialist Republic was established in northern Italy. It had its own flag, it was a national tricolor with a black eagle with fascias in the center.

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Military flag of the Italian Social Republic (1943-1945)

In 1947 a modern version of the Italian flag was approved. Now the state and national versions are depicted without any elements.

The history of the national symbol of Italy is very rich in various events. Now the flag is used in absolutely all sectors: on holidays, political meetings, popular festivities. It can be seen on police and military uniforms, on state political buildings, shopping centers, educational institutions, industrial plants. Thanks to the students who revolted against the papal dictates and the help of Napoleon Bonaparte, the independent state of Italy with a unique flag appeared.


The Italian flag is green, white and red with vertical stripes, it looks as follows:

  • The shape is a rectangle, and the ratio of width to length is 2:3.
  • The rectangle is divided into three strips of the same size but different colors. The design of the national symbol of Italy was invented by students who came out for a rally against the Pope.

Flag colors

Many historians do not have exact information as to why these particular colors were chosen for the Italian flag. The red and white symbolism is attributed to the city of Milan. The emblem, on which there is a cross, belongs to the patron saint of this city, Ambrose of Meliolano. The green hue is associated by Italians with the uniform of the Italian army.

The colors of the Italian flag are similar to the tricolors of other countries. For example, Mexico and Italy have virtually identical designs. Flags with the same coloring, but on the Mexican cloth is the national coat of arms, but it is not always used.

There was also confusion with the Irish tricolor. Their main difference is that the rightmost color in Italy is red, and Ireland – orange. In order to distinguish them, it is necessary to remember that the Irish often have red hair. This is not the only difference, Ireland has a flag that is more square.   Hungary’s flag is also similar to that of Italy. But unlike Italy, although the stripes have the same colors, but they are not vertical, but horizontal.

Meaning of colors and flag symbol

At the moment there are many different interpretations of the color shades of the flag. The modern interpretation speaks of the values of a democratic and independent country. Scholars believe that it is an analogy to the republican France of those years, because they have an emblem of blue, white and red colors. Equality of citizens, here symbolizes the white flourish, and the red means family and brotherhood. The green stripe implies hope for a bright future.

Some people believe that the snow-white and bright red pieces mean love and faith, qualities that are very important to the southern European people. There are also geographical explanations of the colors: the green part is the fresh Italian meadows, the white rectangle is the snow that is on top of the mountains, and the red line is the volcanoes.

There is also an interesting poetic interpretation that speaks of raspberries and strawberries, green leaves, grass and perfectly white flour.

Chefs have also come up with their own interpretation of the Italian symbol, which means mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and spicy herbs. An interesting version was suggested by V. Fiorini, who believes that the coloring refers to the colors of the clothes of the police officers working at the time.

Interesting facts about the flag

  • Every year on January 7 the citizens of Italy celebrate the Flag Day. On this day Italians organize numerous celebrations in all corners of the country. They also wear clothes in the colors of the flag and decorate their homes with the colors of the tricolor.
  • Giuseppe Garibaldi, a native of Sardinia, is a national hero of Italy. Historians believe that it was thanks to Giuseppe that the Sardinian tricolor became the real symbol of the modern state. He spoke under the native emblem for the unification of the state in the mid-nineteenth century.
  • In Italy, there is a law, for the inappropriate use of the national flag, which is punishable by a fine of five thousand euros. At the end of the last century, a man named Umberto Bossi, who was the leader of an anti-European party called the Northern League, used the flag as toilet paper, for which he was sentenced to a year and a half in prison.
  • Italian planes have a round distinctive emblem of the national coloring. Green, here is the outer contour, in which is inscribed a white circle, and in the center you can see a red circle. The green outline is shown wider than the other elements, for better visibility of the sign.
  • Many people believe that the flag was invented personally by Napoleon Bonaparte, but this is a misconception.
    The country even has a pizza that has the name “Flag of Italy.

General information about Italy

Official language Italian
Capital Rome
Territory 301 340 km2
Population 60,588,366 people
Currency Euro (EUR, code 978)
Phone Code

Map of Italy

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