Obama celebrates Italy: “We saved the best for last”
A behind the scenes look at the Obamas’ last state visit at the White House.
[Disponibile anche in italiano]
On October 18, President Barack Obama and The First Lady hosted Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and his wife Agnese Landini for the last official state visit at The White House of the Obama administration.
Today is bittersweet for Michelle and I because this marks the final official visit and state dinner of my presidency. But it’s okay. We saved the best for last.
The day started on the South Lawn of the White House, with a very touching and emotional arrival ceremony, which included the Italian and the American anthems played by the Marine Band and a 19-gun cannon salute echoing in the background.
As Americans and Italians, we’re here because of each other. America’s Founding Fathers — Washington, Jefferson, Adams — drew inspiration from Cincinnatus, Cicero, Cato. Prime Minister Renzi, you’ve spoken with great emotion about the American soldiers of World War II who liberated Italy so that families like yours could live in freedom. Today, we again pay tribute to all those who risked their lives — and often gave their lives — including the heroes of the Italian Resistance — so that we can stand here today as two free peoples.
Among the many guests attending the arrival ceremony, Gwen Stefani and her three sons. The singer was also the guest performed during the State Dinner at night.
Following the arrival, while the two leaders where meeting in the Oval Office, First Lady Michelle Obama hosted Renzi’s wife Agnese in the Kitchen Garden with a special performance by students from a local Turnaround Arts school. Turnaround Arts is a national program created by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities to help transform some of the nation’s lowest performing schools through comprehensive and integrated arts education.
The meeting in the Oval Office was followed by a joint press conference in the Rose Garden, which the Italian Embassy streamed live on Facebook alongside all the events featured as part of the state visit.
They returned to the White House for the state dinner, hosted by the Obamas with guest chef Mario Batali and guest performer Gwen Stefani.
For more behind the scenes of the Italian state visit:
Italy’s Prime Minister Renzi to meet President Obama on Oct 18.medium.com