January 7, 1797, is the date to which the birth of the Italian flag can be traced back: on this day, the Parliament of the Repubblica Cispadana decided that the official flag of the new state would be green, white and red, the colors used by some Italian military divisions that backed the Napoleonic army. The Republic had been born in 1796 as a consequence of Napoleon’s Italian campaign – which had determined the birth of several new political entities organized in accordance to the French institutional model, the so called “sister republics” – and it included Modena, Reggio, Ferrara, the Romagna region and some areas of Tuscany.
Initially, the flag was composed of horizontal stripes and it included a quiver (a case for arrows) with weapons and surrounded by a laurel crown.
Despite the early termination of the Italian republics, due to the Restoration of the XIX century, the flag surfaced again during the Risorgimento – the period of the Italian reunification movement and wars – and it was officially adopted by the Italian Kingdom, born in 1861, with vertical stripes and the Savoia royal family’s coat of arms. During the fascist era, the royal crown was added.
After the war, the flag was adopted by the Italian Republic, but the royal coat of arms and the crown were removed, in accordance with article 12 of the Constitution, which entered into force in 1948.