The Italian Cultural Institute (IIC) of Prague is an official body of the Italian government, which belongs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and is part of a worldwide network of 83 Italian Cultural Institutes. The IIC has the institutional task of promoting and disseminating the Italian language and culture in the Czech Republic.
It was founded in 1922 and officially inaugurated the following year. Over the years, the Institute has become an important centre of cultural initiatives: an Italian language school, an exhibition space, a place for meetings and events such as conferences, conventions, seminars, exhibitions, screenings, concerts and shows.
The current headquarters of the Institute is a large complex dating back to the end of the 16th century, which includes a cloister and a Baroque chapel with a frescoed vault. The building belonged to the Italian Congregation of Prague and was first used as a hospital, then as an orphanage. Finally, in 1942, it was sold to the Italian state, first housing the Casa d’Italia and more recently the Italian Cultural Institute.
In collaboration with Italy Embassy in Prague, the Institute manages relations and cultural exchanges between Italy and the Czech Republic, following the general guidelines established by the Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the Czech Republic on cooperation in the fields of culture, education, science and technology signed in 2011 and implemented through four-year programmes (the last of which was signed in 2016).
The Italian Cultural Institute in Prague offers the following services to the Czech public:
- Courses in Italian language and culture
- Exams for certificates of Italian as a Foreign Language (CILS) (in collaboration with the University for Foreigners of Siena)
- Study grants offered by private language schools in Italy to attend Italian courses
- Library with over 18,000 volumes for consultation and loan
- Video library with more than 800 titles including films and documentaries in DVD format
- Information and documentation on Italian culture
- Broad programme of events ranging across all cultural sectors (archaeology, architecture, history, design , fashion, music, literature, publishing, art, photography, cooking, cinema, theatre, dance, linguistics, science, cultural tourism)