This year's Europe Day was celebrated in the gardens of Villa Borghese, at the beautiful Casina Valadier Villa with its breath-taking view overlooking the city of Rome.
As the sun set over the roof tops and cupolas of Rome, the Head of Delegation, Ambassador Tombiński and his wife welcomed around 300 guests of the diplomatic corps accredited to the Vatican, to the UN in Rome, to the Order of Malta and the Republic of San Marino as well as clergy of the Holy See, representatives of the Order of Malta and colleagues of the 3 UN Rome-based Agencies (FAO, WFP, IFAD). Guests gathered together in a unique roman scenario. Thanks to our colleagues from Directorate-General EAC, we have been able, in the framework of the European Year of Cultural Heritage, to exhibit a series of photos representing various European cultural sites that benefitted from EU financing to restore or preserve their important beauty and legacy. No better shell could be chosen to house both the exhibition and the Europe Day.
Our event saw the special participation of Commissioner Cretu who joined in the celebration on the occasion of European Commission's financial support to the Basilica of Saint Benedict in Norcia that was struck by the earthquakes of last year. The Head of Delegation and Commissioner Creţu delivered their speeches under what seemed to be the perfect environment and well-known Roman weather.
As the speeches ended and everyone raised their glasses to Europe, Rome surprised us with a heavy rain storm. The scenario suddenly changed as most of the guests huddled closely under the white umbrellas in search of protection and improvised groups conversed with a mixture of amusement and curiosity of what would happen next, almost forgetting the rain.
Guests (a bit wet) were invited to find shelter inside the Casina Valadier where they could continue to enjoy the rest of the evening. Heads were turned up to admire the beautifully decorated ceilings and mirrored walls of the Sala degli Specchi. The beauty of the room and the stunning view it offered of Rome contributed to making it an unforgettable event for all of us.