Buon Compleanno! Italy Celebrates Its 150th Birthday

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The Italian Air Force aerobatic unit Frecce Tricolori spreads green, white and red smoke to recall the colours of the Italian flag to mark the 150th anniversary of Italy's unification tion in central Rome on March 17, 2011.

FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Amid the long, long series of Berlusconi shenanigans, NewsFeed almost forgot that Italy turns 150 years young today.

(More on TIME.com: See why Italy puts up with Berlusconi)

On March 17th, 1861, the new born Italian Parliament proclaimed Vittorio Emanuele II king of Italy. Rome was to became its capital only ten days later. Today, 150 years later, the country is not in its best shape, but there are reasons to be optimistic. But it’s a big birthday nonetheless. So in between green beers for St. Paddy’s Day, think of Italy and eat some spaghetti. Happy birthday, Italy!  (via Financial Times)

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