Your Guide to Liberation Day in Italy

| Sat, 04/22/2023 - 10:00
Italian author and musician Vinicio Capossela during a concert / Photo: underworld via Shutterstock
Vinicio Capossela during a concert / Photo: underworld via Shutterstock

April is a poignant month in Italy, as it brings the national holiday for commemorating the end of both the Italian Civil War and of Nazi occupation during World War II, and for honoring the Italian resistance movement.

On April 25, 1945, Italy was freed from the Nazis and the rule of Mussolini with the aid of Allied troops. World War II ended later that same year, and it was announced on April 22, 1946 that a national holiday would be instituted three days later.

However short notice that proclamation might have been, April 25 wasn’t chosen at random. The date was selected because April 25 was when the National Liberation Committee of Upper Italy (CLNAI) officially made the announcement on the radio: The CLNAI had seized power, with a death sentence declared for fascist leaders. In 1946, the first national holiday was proclaimed to mark the event.

Memorials offer the chance to reflect and remember, and today, bands, concerts and festivals up and down the Boot celebrate the moment that freedom was announced.


Liberation Day 2023 in Rome offers a mix of remembrance and enlightenment. The main event is the official ceremony at Piazza Venezia, in which crowds gather to pay their respects to those who gave up their lives to free Italy from Nazi rule. The President of the Italian Republic pays tribute by laying flowers at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

If you wish to mark the day another way, there are many good places to visit. All state-run museums in Rome will offer free admission on April 25; view the full list of state museums here. Others, including the Palazzo delle Esposizioni and the Ara Pacis Museum, will feature dedicated exhibitions. The Egeria Village also hosts a local street food market in celebration, and though it isn’t hosting events, the Municipal Rose Garden — the history of which is inextricably linked to the persecution and later liberation of the Jewish population in Italy — is a fitting place for a contemplative springtime walk.


The centerpiece of Turin’s 2023 Liberation Day events is Voi che passate il testimone, a free 9pm concert by singer-songwriter Vinicio Capossela (pictured above). The concert will be held at the Giovanni Agnelli Auditorium of the Ingotto congress center.

Capossela told Italian press that on April 25, 2022, he saw around 30 women’s names painted on a concrete wall along a cycle path of Scandiano, which inspired him to organize a tribute concert to all female partisan couriers: “The role played by women in the resistance is fundamental, and not sufficiently recognized.”

He went on to call Turin “the gold-medal city of resistance, the city of [Antonio] Gramsci and Primo Levi, the city-conscience of this country.”

Though the event is free entry, registration is required.

If you fancy something quieter, the museums of the Fondazione Torino Musei, which include the Palazzo Madama, the MAO (Museum of Oriental Art) and GAM (Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art) will admit visitors for only €1. 


Venice is doubly busy on April 25: In addition to marking Liberation Day alongside the rest of Italy, La Serenissima remembers its patron, Saint Mark, on this day, too.

The city pays tribute to him with much flair and spectacle. Naturally, Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square) is the hub of activity, with a service held in the basilica and a hive of festivities outside, including musical performances, mini-carnivals and markets. A famed boat race, the Regata di Traghetti, pits teams of passenger-carrying gondoliers against each other in a bid for first prize.

And chaps, don't forget: Today’s the day on which tradition calls that you give your wife or girlfriend — or mother — a special bloom of a red rose (or bocciolo). 

Around Emilia-Romagna

There are myriad ways to mark Liberation Day in Emilia-Romagna. Parma has announced varied programming for April 25, including a procession of the flags of the Partisan Delegations, a 9.30am service at the Church of Santa Croce, the laying of the wreaths at the Monument to the Partisan and the War Memorial, and a noon-hour toiling of the Civic Tower bell.

The afternoon will feature musical performances and even puppet shows. Departing from Piazza Garibaldi is a 2.30pm cycling tour of the various locations associated with the resistance movement in Parma. Registration is required on the day, along with a mandatory insurance coverage fee (€2).

For peaceful contemplation and remembrance, why not visit the Historic Regional Park of Monte Sole, in the Apennine mountains south of Bologna? The area around the park was significant during World War II, since it allowed for strategic control of both the valleys and major communication routes. It’s the site of the appalling loss of civilian life at the hands of Nazi troops.

It’s possible to learn about what happened all those years ago, with a tour of the key locations of the war. The peak of Mount Sole has its own memorial stone to commemorate those of local partisan group, the Brigata Stella Rossa, who gave their lives fighting against the Nazis in 1943.