On June 2nd the people of Italy celebrate the official birth of the Italian Republic. The republic was established in 1946 after a public vote to decide whether Italy would become a democratic republic or remain a monarchy following World War II and the end of fascism. The Italian royal family — the House of Savoy that had ruled Italy since its unification into one state in the 19th century — faced the unpopularity of their ties to Mussolini and went into exile. Nationally the pro-republic versus monarchy vote went 54% to 46%, while nearly 72% of the people of Umbria voted for the republic. Somewhat predictably, it took more than two weeks — more than a few breaks for caffè perhaps — for the results of the vote to be certified by the high court, by which time Alcide De Gasperi, an Italian statesman who had opposed Mussolini and fascism and founded the Christian Democrat political party, had already been declared provisional Head of State for three days. Happy Birthday, Italy!