Sunday, August 22, 2021

The Origins of the National Anthem

By Jean DuBois

FIRENZE-NUOVA ROMA 22 August 2021 (NRom)

The national anthem of the Stato Pontificio (Pontifical States, as distinct from the modern Vatican City-State) is the Gran Marcia Trionfale. It was written by Viktorin Hallmayer, the band director of the 47th Austrian Infantry Regiment of the Line, also known as the Count Kinsky Regiment. It was stationed within the Pontifical States in the 19th century and helped to defend the Church against outside threats, including the Italian unification movement.

The anthem was written in 1857 for Pope Saint Pius IX as a celebration of his entry into Bologna. As a result of its popularity, it came to be played when he entered other cities and even returned to Rome.

The anthem is often referred to as waltz-like, even though it is not in waltz 3/4 time, due to its style. Today the Vatican City-State uses a different tune as its national anthem, the Marche Pontificale, by Charles Gounod. The Hallmayer Gran Marcia Trionfale remains the national anthem of the titular Pontifical States today, which also commissioned its own special arrangement of the music. A video of the national anthem is below.