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"Festa della Repubblica" Celebrated in Seoul
Italian Amb. Andrea Leggeri Hosts Reception
Italian Ambassador to Seoul Massimo Andrea Leggeri (center) poses with Director Lucio Izzo (left) of Italian Cultural Center.

On June 2, 2009 the 63rd Anniversary "Festa della Repubblica" was celebrated in Seoul as well, as many parts of the world marked the most meaningful day for Italians.

On June 2, 1946 Italians held a referendum to abolish the monarchy and make their nation a republic. With positive result of this universal suffrage Italian monarchy fell and the royal family had to be exiled from Italy since the king of Italy supported Mussolini.

Italian Ambassador to Seoul Massimo Andrea Leggeri observed "Festa della Repubblica," the national day of Italy, in Seoul by hosting a reception at his residence in Hannam-dong on June 2, 2009.

Mr. Samuel Koo (left), president & CEO of Seoul Tourism Organization, poses with President Lee Ki-Su of Korea University.

Hundreds of both international and local Korean guests were invited to the dinner reception, which started at 6:30 p.m. The guests had to brace themselves for the rain to visit the ambassadorial residence, the venue of the celebration.

Among the guests were scores of top foreign envoys serving in Seoul.

Other VIP guests included Mr. Samuel Koo, president & CEO of Seoul Tourism Organization, , President Lee Ki-Su of Korea University, Seoul Bureau Chief Vladimir Koutakhov and his wife Alla Koutakhov, Mr. Antonio Patella, CEO of casAntonio, posh Italian restaurant in Itaewon.

Italian Ambassador to Seoul Massimo Andrea Leggeri (3rd from right) poses for The Seoul Times with Dr. Yoo Ja e-Hyun (center), chairman and CEO of Fiera Incheon, Director Jason H.R. Park (2nd from right) of Fiera Incheon, and Ms. Choi Keum-Hwa (3rd from left), general director of Fiera Incheon. At far left is Mr. Antonio Patella, an Italian businessman in Seoul. At far right is Ms. Kim So-Hyeon of Fiera Incheon. Second from left is Prof. Min Kyung-Woo of Myong Ji University.

"Festa della Repubblica" was also celebrated in many parts of in the world. The Consul of Italy in Baltimore in the US Dr. Francesco Luigi Legaluppi hosted a reception in the afternoon of the day for some 400 guests with Italian food and wine and music.

The bilateral relations between Italy and South Korea are one of the oldest ones. Seoul has been maintaining diplomatic ties with Rome since 1884.

Italy is the third largest trade partner to Korea among the EU countries. The bilateral trade volume hovers around 4 billion US dollars.

Director Jason H.R. Park (left) of Fiera Incheon poses for The Seoul Times with his colleague, Ms. Kim So-Hyeon.

Italy enjoys large trade surplus. Korean exports to Italy stand at only 1 billion US dollars whereas she imports from Italy over 30 billion US dollars' worth of goods.

South Korea exports such items as electronics goods and automobiles whereas it imports from Italy machine tools and textile machinery.

Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema visited Seoul in February of 2007. He was a foreign minister from 2006 to 2008.

On April 17, 2007 Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi visited South Korea . He served a premiere from May 17, 2006 to May 8, 2008.

In the same year South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun visited Italy.

Mr. Antonio Patella, an Italian businessman in Seoul, plays the piano at the residence of Italian Amb. Massimo Andrea Leggeri.

"Festa della Repubblica"

Italy's national day or "Festa della Repubblica" is Italy's national holiday celebrated on June 2, every year since the fall of Fascism in 1946.

"Festa della Repubblica" commemorates the institutional referendum of 1946 when the Italian people voted to choose republic form of government after World War II.

The result of the universal suffrage was 12,717,923 votes for and 10,719,284 votes against.

After 85 years of monarchy Italy became a Republic. The monarchs of the House of Savoy were deposed and exiled.

This is one of the most meaningful Italian national holidays which, like July 14th of France (Storming of the Bastille) and July 4th of America (Independence Day), celebrates the birth of Italy in the republic form of government.

For details or inquiries please contact the Italian Embassy in Seoul at 796-0491/5.

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