Photo by Palazzo Chigi

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.

Follow the Embassy of Italy on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ItalyinUS
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.

The Embassy of Italy in US offered a behind the scene look at the official visit through its Medium page and its social media profiles on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Follow the Embassy of Italy on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ItalyInUs.org
Photos by Palazzo Chigi

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.

Photo by Palazzo Chigi

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.

Photo by Palazzo Chigi

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.

Photos by the Embassy of Italy in Washington DC
Photo by Palazzo Chigi

After the joint press conference, the Italian Prime Minister and Agnese Landini headed over to the U.S. Department of State for a luncheon hosted by Secretary John Kerry and Vice President Biden.

Photos by Palazzo Chigi

They returned to the White House for the state dinner, hosted by the Obamas with guest chef Mario Batali and guest performer Gwen Stefani.

Photo by Palazzo Chigi