Bircaninova@100: a year of initiatives to renew the Italian-Serbian friendship house

A building, a palace or an embassy is much more than its walls, the more or less valuable paintings it houses, the furnishings it displays or the events or famous or powerful people it has hosted.

Any embassy, anywhere in the world, is nourished by the ties, networks and affinities it has been and will be able to develop, not only because of the people who inhabit it and will inhabit it, but perhaps more in its ability to be an environment, physical and symbolic, where people feel welcomed, listened to, promoted and valued for what they are and represent and what they intend to represent for their country.

In this sense, the Bircaninova@100 initiative, launched on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the building at 9, Bircaninova Street, in Belgrade, the headquarters of the Italian Embassy in Belgrade, sends a strong message from Italy – not only the preservation and enhancement of relations, but the renovation of a building as a metaphor for Italy pursuing a relationship with Serbia based not on ordinary customs but exploring and promoting new forms of cooperation and mutual geopolitical power-building. In addition to presenting the initiative’s programme, supported by Banca Intesa Beograd and UniCredit Serbia, the launch of Bircaninova@100, which will run through 2024, was marked by the speech of Dr. Silvia Gavioli, who gave an analysis of the artistic and architectural features of Bircaninova Palace designed by Florestano Di Fausto.

Furthermore, light designer, Filippo Cannata presented an innovative lighting design for the building’s facade and interior, with the aim of combining aesthetics and energy sustainability. The evening was enriched with the performances by Serbian actress Ivana Zigon, who played Queen Helena in a monologue, and two young Serbian opera singers who performed arias from famous operas by Giacomo Puccini, whose centenary of death falls this year. Among the guests, in addition to numerous Serbian political and cultural figures, were Mrs. Tamara Vucic and representatives of the Karadjordjevic royal house.

“Italy has always been the closest Western country to Serbia, just as for Italy, Serbia has been the closes Eastern country, with people from both countries being present in each other’s history, society and economy,” Italian Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Luca Gori pointed out, adding that “Palazzo Bircaninova is the home of friendship between Italy and Serbia. Its halls mirror the excellence of the relationship between Belgrade and Rome. In addition to the centenary since its groundbreaking ceremony, this year we will also celebrate two other anniversaries: 145 years of diplomatic relations between Italy and Serbia and 15 years since the signing of the Bilateral Strategic Partnership.”

“In the diverse programme of events we have put together,” Ambassador Gori went on to say “ample space will be devoted to Queen Helena of Montenegro, a figure of great humanity and strong social commitment, to whom we will name an annual award dedicated to Serbian women who have distinguished themselves in the social and solidarity field”.

This post is also available in: Italiano

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