The Italian national anthem is a lively and rousing hymn called 'Il Canto degli Italiani' (The Song of the Italians). It is also called 'Fratelli d'Italia' (Brothers of Italy), taken from the first line of the lyrics.
The words were written by a young Genoese student called Goffredo Mameli in 1847 and set to music a few months later by a fellow Genoese, Michele Novaro. The hymn became very popular during the turbulent period of the Risorgimento, leading to Unification in 1861.
The Marcia Reale (The Royal March) composed for the Royal House of Savoia, became the official national anthem of Italy after unification and remained so until the formation of the Italian Republic in 1946. 'Il Canto degli Italiani' was then chosen as the national anthem of the new Republic.
It is interesting to note that in his composition, Inno delle Nazioni (Hymn of the Nations), composed for the London International Exhibition of 1862, Guiseppe Verdi reflected public opinion by choosing to include 'Il Canto degli Italiani', rather than the official Italian national anthem, alongside the British and French national anthems.