Behind the Scenes: Italian President Visits U.S.

Posted by Nancy Brinker
December 13, 2007
Giorgio Napolitano, President of Italy, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

This blog entry is written byNancy Brinker, Chief of Protocol at the U.S. Department of State.

Tuesday, I greeted the President of Italy, Giorgio Napolitano, at the White House for a meeting with President Bush. He has been President since May 15, 2006. He was joined by Italian Foreign Minister D'Alema and several members of his staff. The Ambassador to Italy, Ronald Spogli, and the Italian Ambassador to the United States, Giovanni Castellaneta, was present along with Deputy Secretary Negroponte, and of course, Secretary Rice. The meeting went very well and was followed by lunch in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. That evening, a celebratory dinner was held at the lovely home of the Ambassador to Italy and many Italian Americans attended, including Mrs. Bush's Chief of Staff, Anita McBride. Another interesting person that was there was Astronaut Paolo Nespoli. It was fascinating listening to his stories about his most recent shuttle mission last month. This successful shuttle launch on October 23rd, 2007, which the European Spatial Agency-ESA called "Esperia Mission" (Esperia is the name which the Greek used to indicate Italy), and NASA called "STS-120 Mission," represented an important step for European scientific research and is a important benchmark in Italy's continuing collaboration with NASA.

During the quarantine, immediately before the launch from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, Ambassador Castellaneta had a telephone conversation with Paolo Nespoli, who was very touched by the call. The Ambassador wanted to convey to our astronaut his regards and the best wishes of the Italian Government for the complete success of the mission. Paolo Nespoli is the fifth Italian astronaut to go into space (after Malerba, Guidoni, Cheli, and Vittori) and the fourth to fly with the Shuttle (Vittori participated two times to the Soyuz missions). The chef at the Embassy prepared a very wonderful Italian menu. At the conclusion of dinner, there was a small chamber concert of Schubert. Lila Castellaneta, the Ambassador's wife, is admired for her charm and hospitality here in Washington and Tuesday night was a perfect example.

The relationship with Italy is very good and we are fortunate to have an Ambassador there who has embraced the culture so thoroughly; Ambassador Spogli speaks Italian fluently and has family ties to the country.

Yesterday morning, President Napolitano laid a wreath at Arlington Cemetery and our Deputy Chief of Protocol, Ray Martinez, greeted him and assisted with the ceremony.



Florida, USA
December 16, 2007

Conrad in Florida writes:

It is a magnificent event when the most important political representative of Italy arrives in the United States.

Tennessee, USA
December 18, 2007

Joe in Tennessee writes:

President since May 2006, is that a record? I'm afraid Italian Politics are not indicative of who actually administrates the Country.

America is not supposed to be about events, it's about democracy and our people, we the people first, not them the people. Somehow, I'd feel it more obligatory for the State to have a homeless Veteran at the table then gold spoon foreign diplomats who are far and away from their constituency.

Now that would be an event would it not?

December 21, 2007

Mohamad writes:


Massachusetts, USA
January 3, 2008

Gabe in Massachusetts writes:

Would love to hear your opinion on what the former prime minister of Italy said recently. Francesco Cossiga ? Former President of Italy (1985 - 1992)...the guy that fessed up about Operation Gladio now says that it is well known in the international intelligence community that 9/11 was a false flag operation/allowed to happen. Did you bring that up when my tax dollars were treating you to a big meal in the "Old Family room"?

Massachusetts, USA
January 3, 2008

Gabe in Massachusetts writes:

An active Italian Supreme Court judge has also come out saying the U.S. is covering up 9/11 facts and lying to the public...given the importance of the Italian leaders calling our government totally corrupt shouldn't you have brought this up?

Quotes from this Italian judge:
"In order to justify this unjust war and its deaths, that still today kills thousands of innocent victims in Iraq and all over the world, with unpredictable effects on international peace, a gigantic conspiracy came into being, that saw the participation of the CIA, the Mossad, M15 (the British service) and of the SISMI (Italy's Military Intelligence and Security Service), of some journalists of the Washington Post and the New York Times, and the main collaborators in the White House and the Pentagon. ...

The War in Iraq, in truth, was predicated on two false schemes prepared well before 9/11. The first was that Saddam had tried to import uranium ore [Yellowcake] from Niger, which was in the planning nine months before 9/11, the Joint British Committee Intelligence wrote in a its relationship: "confirmed sources do not say that the Iraqis are interested in acquiring uranium". The second one was that Saddam Hussein had ties with the terrorists of 9/11." (Original in Italian) "

If you don't post these type of questions you are treasonous. We pay you people, we deserve answers!


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