When presented with the Italian and Mexican flags, it’s easy to confuse one for the other. From afar, both flags look pretty much the same. But there are some specific differences that make them each unique. In this Italian flag vs. Mexican flag overview, we explore the similarities and differences between the two flags. You’ll be amazed to learn that there’s more than meets the eye!
Similarities Between the Italian and Mexican Flags
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1. The Inspiration
The flags of Italy and Mexico share the same inspiration and ancestor — the French Tricolor. But that doesn’t mean either one has copied the other. While the colors that Mexico and Italy adopted in their flags are very similar, each has its own interpretation.
2. Colors and Design
At first glance, it’s natural to assume that the flags of Mexico and Italy look pretty much the same, thanks to their vertical tricolor design. From a distance, the colors on both flags also look the same — red, white, and green. Although the shades of red and green are different in both flags.
Both flags also have their emblem at the center white space. The emblem for Italy features a shield with three fleurs-de-lis in gold color, and the Mexican flag has its coat of arms with an eagle sitting atop a cactus and holding a snake in its beak.
Differences Between the Italian and Mexican Flags
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1. Color and Aspect Ratio
At first glance, the flags of Italy and Mexico can easily be mistaken to be the same, but a closer look will show how different these two are.
For starters, the flag of Mexico has a darker shade of green. The red is also darker when compared to Italy’s flag. Additionally, the aspect ratio or the proportions of the flags make them each unique. The Italian flag follows a 2:3 ratio, which makes it more square, whereas the Mexican flag follows a longer and more rectangular shape with a proportion of 4:7.
Although flags have become synonymous with a country’s independence, the flag of Mexico and Italy means much more than freedom. The meanings of all three colors have also evolved over the years.
In the Mexican flag, the green color was intended to symbolize independence, although it now stands for hope. The white color once denoted Catholicism and now means unity. And the red in the flag was representative of the blood shed by the Mexicans who sacrificed and fought for the country’s independence during 1810-1821.
The Italian flag, also referred to as II Tricolore, also has the same three stripes in red, green, and white. But unlike the Mexican flag, Italy’s flag has several theories behind what each element represents.
The first and most popular theory represents idealistic ideas, with green symbolizing freedom, white standing for faith and purity, and red for love. Another theory suggests a more theological meaning where green stands for hope, red for strength and charity, and white represents peace and faith.
There’s also an interpretation that leans towards the actual history and geography of the country, with the green symbolizing the countryside, the red for the blood or sacrifices of Italians, and the white standing for the beautiful snowy Alps.
3. Story and Concept Design
For Mexicans, their flag represents their rich history and unique identity. The flag boasts an eye-catching emblem at the center — a Golden Eagle sitting on a nopal, which is a cactus plant, and a serpent held in its talons and beak.
The flag’s emblem or coat of arms can be traced to the Aztec Indian legend of how Mexico City was first founded. It is said that the supreme Aztec deity Huitzilopochtli instructed the Aztec people to look for an eagle resting on a cactus and eating a snake and that is where they should build their city. According to legends, the Aztecs did find this prophesied eagle and that is where the central plaza of Mexico City stands today. Back then, the place was called Tenochtitlan.
This flag has undergone several alterations over the years as it constantly fought for its independence. But after the country finally attained its freedom in 1821, the tricolor flag officially became the one true Mexican flag. And Italy’s flag inspired the final design, but Mexico is putting its spin on the symbolism of the colors to reflect its history and values.
It was said then that the flag’s colors are a compromise because, with the green color representing independence, white for Catholicism, and red for unity, it became a fitting symbol for the Iguala Plan’s “Three Guarantees.”
This is perceived as a political compromise that permitted Mexico to be free from Spain but still preserve Catholic rule. It also maintained the system of a society where the Creoles, as the privileged people, rule over the other ethnicities that are deemed lower in ranking, like the Indians and mixed races.
As mentioned before, the flag of Mexico went through several modifications, each representing the changes and shifts in the country’s political ideologies. For instance, the golden eagle was shown wearing a crown during the Mexican empire.
Italy’s II Tricolore became the country’s official flag on January 7, 1797, in Reggio Emilia. The 1790 French tricolor flag was the design’s main inspiration. The flag was used by some Jacobin republics established after the Napoleonic armies swept Italy.
The green color in the Italian flag was said to have been adopted from Milan’s Civic Guard’s uniform, while the red and white were from Milan’s municipal coat of arms.
The tricolor flag held a new meaning during the Risorgimento, between 1815 and 1871, which was the phase of Italy’s unification. During this time, the flag represented independence and hope. It encouraged many poets and artists to inspire the people during the difficult times when uprisings and rebellions were rampant.
The tricolor flag was then used by the Kingdom of Italy after its establishment in 1861. There were many regional variations of the flag back then, and it was only in 1925 that the design and definition of the national and state flags were finally worked on.