On February 8, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti arrived in Washington DC.  It was the first official visit of an Italian prime minister to the US in more than two and a half years. Right after the meeting with Obama, on February 9, Mario Monti had a press conference scheduled at the Italian embassy in Washington DC. I was there, waiting for him.

Press Conference at the Italian Embassy

Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti at the Italian Embassy

 

That day, in the elegant building at 3000 Whitehaven Street, the atmosphere was electric and full of excitement. You could actually feel the tension after days and days of careful preparation. And it was indeed a special occasion. At the embassy with Monti, were both the previous and current Italian ambassadors to the US. The former, Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata, was nominated a few weeks ago as foreign minister and is now the head of Italian diplomatic service, the latter, Claudio Bisogniero, arrived in Washington DC in late January. He officially took the reins of the Italian mission to the US just a few days before the visit.

 

Mario Monti with Obama

Mario Monti with Obama | Image Italian Embassy

 

I must say that, once you are there, you actually realize the incredible amount of work necessary to plan a high level visit like this, in which, needless to say, there was no room for error. Everybody wanted, and needed, to be just perfect. And they were: from diplomats to interns, from officials to Carabinieri (Italian police), every single person inside the embassy did their best, showing extreme professionalism.

 

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Monti and Obama speaking | Image Italian Embassy

 

At night, after the last journalist left, there was a huge breath of relief. Even the smallest detail worked out as planned. Despite the effort, if you ask the people at the Embassy they will tell you they are ready for another ride: “when will you be back again, Mario?”

 

Press Conference at the Italian Embassy

Press Conference at the Italian Embassy

 

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Monti and Obama speaking | Image Italian Embassy

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Prime Minesters handclasp | Image Italian Embassy

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