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A hundred years of the Italian Cultural Institute in Prague
Portal of the Italian language

A hundred years of the Italian Cultural Institute in Prague

Categories: Culture and creativity -History and current events
A rich programme of events in Prague for 2 June and for the hundredth anniversary of the Italian Cultural Institute.
2 giugno all'Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Praga
2 giugno – Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Praga

This year 2 June in Prague is an opportunity for a double celebration, as the Italian Republic day coincides with the celebrations for the centenary of the foundation of the Italian Cultural Institute, the heart and driving force of our country’s cultural diplomacy, as well as a tangible symbol of the deep bond of friendship that unites the Czech Republic with Italy.

With these words, Ambassador Mauro Marsili greeted the more than 800 guests, including members of the diplomatic corps, academics, politicians, journalists, entrepreneurs, representatives of the scientific community and the main national cultural institutions, who arrived in the gardens of the Institute on the occasion of this double anniversary that the Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute, directed by Alberta Lai, wanted to celebrate with a special programme. Starting with the reception areas, with the completion of the restoration work on the Baroque pavilion, the reconstruction of the internal façades and the recovery of the garden. Then the exhibition “Italiae. From the Alinari to the masters of contemporary photography“, set up until 23 June in the Baroque chapel and in the chapter house of the Institute, with an anthological review taken from the archive of 75 photographers – from Gianni Berengo Gardin to Paolo Pellegrin, from Gabriele Basilico to Gian Paolo Barbieri, from Luigi Ghirri to Mario Giacomelli and Ferdinando Scianna, just to name a few – which narrates the charm and diversity of Italy, its landscapes and its people over the last century and a half of history. Curated by Rita Scartoni and Luca Criscenti, created from an initiative by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and produced by Fratelli Alinari IDEA SpA, the exhibition recreates an abstract gallery of portraits and memories capable of bearing witness to the riches of the country and the vitality of Italian photography. Other characterizing aspects of Made in Italy were illustrated through the projection of some videos made within the framework of the national promotion campaign “beIT“, launched in recent months by the MAECI; while the Italian commitment in the Czech Republic in the field of eco-sustainability and the circular economy was scrutinized with the presentation of the video “Circolare, Circolare!“, produced by the Embassy as part of the “Green Foreign Ministry” initiative. In a context with strong symbolic connotations, a thought also went to the Risorgimento, with the Eleutheria foundation in Prague chaired by Augusto Razetto who presented the comic novel in Czech and Italian “Silvio Pellico. Spielberg 1822 – 2022” to celebrate the bicentenary of the patriot’s imprisonment inside the Spielberg fortress in Brno. The volume, scripted and illustrated by the artist Eugenio Belgrado, is inspired by “My prisons”.

The reception was opened by the military band of Prague Castle which performed the Italian and Czech national anthems, while the government greetings were made by the Minister of Agriculture Zdenek Nekula.

TheItalian Cultural Institute in Prague, the oldest of the entire network of Italian Cultural Institutes, was founded in June 1922 “with the aim of spreading and increasing the knowledge of Italian culture in Czechoslovakia and of organizing mutual intellectual and artistic relationships between the two countries by all means suitable for this purpose” (art. 3 of the Articles of Association). The Institute’s creation was made possible thanks to funding from the Italian and Czechoslovakian governments, as well as the joint efforts of academics and intellectuals from both countries. The Institute was then officially inaugurated on 2 March 1923 in the presence of the Italian Minister Antonio Chiaromonte Bordonaro and the Czechoslovakian Minister of Foreign Affairs Edvard Beneš. President Masaryk himself contributed a cash donation to support the new institution.


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