ICD Interns go to the Italian Embassy
A guided tour into the Italian culture in BerlinNovember 20th, 2019
On the 17th September, some of our ICD interns visited the Italian Embassy, located between Japanese and Turkish Embassies on Hiroshimastraße, in Berlin. Their goal was to understand the presence and influence of Italian culture in Berlin and the strategic relevance of this Embassy.
The creation of the Italian Embassy in Berlin was strongly supported by Hitler, as he intended to strengthen relations between Germany and Italy through its formation, thus using it as an act of diplomacy. By making the building so imposing and luxurious, he convinced Mussolini of Germany’s value as an ally, for example, the enormous structure of the Embassy demonstrated Germany’s formidable power and resources. The building’s construction began in 1939 and finished in 1943 by two German architects, Albert Speer and Friedich Hetzelt, one of Hitler’s favorite architects. Despite being built many years before, the building was not used as an embassy until 2003, due to the Second World War and the erection of the Berlin Wall in 1961.
Throughout the embassy small historical and cultural details were pointed out to them by their guide. For example, the fascist symbols called “fasci littori”, which were embedded into the door frames and the “San Girolamo nel deserto” painting by Ludovico Carracci, which takes prime place at the end of the dining room. They also learnt that the building is raised above ground level, emphasizing the embassy’s clout, which represents a typical characteristic of fascist architecture.
Nowadays, culture transfer is seen as a priority in the bilateral relations between Italy and Germany and for this reason the Italian Embassy actively promotes their culture. Having its offices in the Embassy but working as an independent body, the Italian Cultural Institute aims at promoting the Italian language and the national musical, artistic, theatrical and cinematographic heritage. However, the official Embassy bureau can also plan its own cultural events depending on the willingness of the ambassador and his wife. In conclusion, it was a pleasure for us to visit and discover the function and the history of the Italian Embassy in Berlin.