One of my customers asked me that recently, and to be honest with you, I guessed at the meaning of the green, white and red that makes up our national symbol. What does the Italian flag represent? Ask yourselves this question, even if you aren’t of Italian descent, or have married into the species.
La Bandiera Italiana, the Italian Flag, is made of these three distinct colors, but honestly, different versions as to its meaning abound.
What I told this first-time visitor to Tuscany Grill was this:
“The Italian flag’s colors symbolize many different things. Depending on whether your religious beliefs, national, or regional pride influences your viewpoint, or if you don’t really care, most have an opinion one way or another regarding what the flag represents.
If you are of religious beliefs, you may ascribe to the notion that the three colors, green, white and red symbolize faith (green), hope (white), and charity (red). Many scholars and historians link the Cardinal Virtues, as the Pope resides in Italy at the Vatican.”
Then there are those that believe Napoleon had determined the need for a flag so the militia of the Lombard region could be recognized on a field of battle. He supposedly modeled the flag after that of France, but substituting green for blue. Interestingly enough, the city of Milan in the Lombard region used these three colors for their city militia.
Still, more people simply believe the tri-color flag was chosen because other European countries modeled their flag with three colors, and the colors green, white and red is a coincidence.”
I never gave them my personal beliefs. If you have a personal opinion, leave a comment below and we’ll keep track of which is the most traditional version.
The Italian Flag has Some Historical Significance
Here’s some information gleaned from Wikipedia.org that helps explain how Italy became a republic after WWII1:
When the Second World War broke out, Italy remained neutral at first. However, once it appeared through the Fall of France that Germany would win, Mussolini eagerly joined Hitler, a fellow Fascist and longtime ally, in the war effort and rushed to invade Greece, the Balkans, and North Africa. Overextended and unprepared for such a large-scale effort, Italy quickly found that it could not maintain its military position and had to ask Germany for help. Before long, Mussolini saw himself losing control of North Africa, the Mediterranean, and eventually his very own country to the Allies. Fleeing Rome, Mussolini tried to set up a puppet state in Northern Italy but failed. Abandoned by a disgusted Hitler, Il Duce and his mistress were captured and executed by Italian partisans.
After the Second World War, Italy abolished the monarchy and declared itself a republic. With the strong support of the United States, Italy rebuilt its economy through loans from the Marshall Plan, joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and became a strong supporter of what is now the European Union. Today, Italy is one of the most prosperous and democratic nations in Europe.
In reality, most Italians are closer linked to the town, city or region from which their heritage hails than they hold a national pride. Those from Napoli, Naples, for instance, consider themselves more Neapolitans more so than Italian.
In fact, the Italian flag is often displayed during soccer season, especially when the end-of -season World Cup games. To an Italian, the Italian flag is considered “good luck” for the national team, and to heckle the team or the flag is a dark rebuff that cannot be tolerated. Mixed company gatherings get extremely boisterous, often causing female fans to become offended while their male counterparts overreact to the least provocation.
We’re a passionate group.