• The modern Italian flag was formally adopted in 1948, though it was first used in 1946. It consists of three wide vertical bands of green, white and red, in order from hoist side.


    Earlier versions of the green/white/red flag date to 1797 Modena, where it was a blend of the Milan city flag (red and white) and the green Milanese city guard uniform. Later, a crest was added to the white field, but it was removed after World War II.

    Traditional Meaning

    Most commonly, the colors are said to refer to hope (green), faith (white) and charity (red), the three cardinal virtues identified in the Bible at 1 Corinthians 13:13.

    Alternate Explanations

    Others claim the green refers to the green Italian countryside, the white to the snowy Alps, and the red to the blood spilled in the Wars of Italian Independence in the mid-1800s.

    Historical Crests

    Crests added to the white field at various times in Italian history have referred primarily to the royal house holding the Italian throne at that time. The crest is white today because modern Italy is a republic, not a monarchy.

    Similar Flags

    Several other modern flags share Italy's colors in the same order, notably Mexico's nearly identical pattern. However, Mexico has a different length-width ratio as well as a crest on the white field.


    Italian Flag 101

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