Today marks the National Day of Italy. On June the 2nd, 1946, after a long and destructive war, Italians joined hands to rebuild Italy, in a spirit of determination and hope, leading the country to a period of unprecedented growth and prosperity. Even today, 74 years on, this day is a symbol of unity and national pride.
The friendship between Italy and Sri Lanka dates back to the times of the Roman Empire, when (in 50 A.D.) four Ambassadors of King Yasalalakatissa of Anuradhapura visited Rome. A beautiful painting representing this encounter hangs in the entrance of the Embassy.
Even though this past year has been quite difficult and challenging, the Italian Embassy has organized some innovative initiatives with the double aim to better showcase our Country and to share our experiences in culture, music, art, design, food with our Srilankan friends.
After the Easter attacks, The Embassy organized a Charity Concert instead of National Day, to support the families of the victims. 19 musicians came to Sri Lanka as soon as the conditions allowed the travel and performed the famous masterpiece “The four seasons” of Vivaldi. Sandro Veronesi, Founder of Calzedonia /Omega Line donated new stained glass windows to the Church of St. Anthony replacing the damaged glass from bomb blast, adding another piece of Italy in Colombo.
To showcase Italian ingenuity and innovation in the design field, The Embassy invited the famous Architect, Ludovica Serafini, as testimonial for the “Italian Design Day”, launched for the first time in Sri Lanka. She truly owns the characteristic trait of Italian culture: mixing tradition with technology and innovation.
For the first time in Sri Lanka some Italian contemporary art was introduced with the participation of a famous Gallerist, Susanna Orlando, to the 8th edition of “The Collector’s Desk”, in collaboration with Saskia Fernando Gallery and ARTRA Magazine, updating the traditional idea of Italian art, so far linked mainly to the old Masters.
Always with the same spirit, The Embassy cooperated with the Academy of Design (AOD) with the designer Giulio Vinaccia, who is working on some projects in Sri Lanka with local artist and materials, like bamboo.
On World Food Day, again with the aim of giving a different perspective on our Country, The Embassy organized a conference on “healthy and sustainable diets” with a famous culinary influencer, Chef Rubio. The protection of traditional products is one of the keys to economic success of Italy and could be useful to Sri Lanka to safeguard Sri Lankan excellences (Ceylon Tea, Cinnamon and other products).
The bilateral trade last year, notwithstanding the difficulties after the Easter attacks, recorded EUR 749 Mn (the second highest recorded in the past decade), with Italian imports up by 2%. Italy is the fifth largest market for Sri Lankan exports and the 15th largest market for imports.
Due to the pandemic the last months, the attention of the Embassy has been focused mainly on assisting Italian nationals in Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
The centuries-old friendship and diplomatic ties make Embassy feel confident that Italy and Sri Lanka will be able to overcome this difficult time and to return - stronger than before - in what we can call a new Renaissance!