17 March 1861 marks one of the most important dates in the history of Italy. On this day, one month after the first session of parliament, the unity of the country was ratified with the proclamation of Victor Emanuel II, King of Italy. The event followed the first two wars for independence and the expedition of the one thousand. The events which led to unification concluded only in 1870 after the third war for independence. This year marks the 150th anniversary of that day, which will be observed throughout Italy with various public celebrations. To mark this important occasion, the Vatican Philatelic Office will issue a series of stamps and a minisheet. The stamps consist of six values, each displaying a historic photo of the capital of the states which became part of the new Kingdom from 1859 to 1861: the Kingdom of Sardinia (Turin), the Kingdom of Lombardy Venetia (Milan), the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (Florence), the Duchy of Parma (Parma), the Duchy of Modena (Modena), and the Kingdom of Two Sicilies (Naples). Each stamp value displays a reproduction of the first postage stamp issued by each state. The minisheet instead is a joint issue with Italy showing an image of Piazza del Popolo with its two sister churches. © Photos of Florence, Parma, Turin and Milan are copyright of the Vatican Apostolic Library; photos of Naples, Modena and Rome are copyright of the Archivi Alinari.