King Harald and Queen Sonja do not deny that they have a great appreciation of Italians and Italian culture. According to Innovation Norway the enthusiasm is mutual.
– The Italians have an integrity at their core, they are a very proud people with a great respect for history and who also know the importance of preserving it. They look after their ruins and buildings, all the things that tell us something about the past. This is something we can learn from, Queen Sonja said on the first day of their state visit in Italy on Wednesday.
She looked forward to walk with a guide in historic Rome. According to Elisabeth Svanholm Meyer, head of the Milan office of Innovation Norway, the Italians also are fond of Norway.
– They are fascinated by us. They are particularly attracted to the pure, unspoiled nature. When they go on holiday to Norway they are among the tourists who spend the most money per day, staying in hotels and eating in good restaurants. For many, the journey a one-time experience they have saved up money for. Fjords, North Cape, dogsledding, Lofoten and not least the northern lights are terms many Italians know, she says to news agency NTB.
It was a reverent King Harald who laid a wreath at the grave of the Unknown Soldier at the Patriotic Monument Il Vittoriano in Rome on Thursday morning. After the solemn ceremony the royal couple hosted a lunch where the choir Sølvguttene performed, before they bade farewell to Rome and traveled to Milan.
In Milan on Friday the King and Queen will be meeting Norwegian designers and craftsmen. They will also take part in several industry events.
Although Italy is not a monarchy, the royal presence is highly appreciated:
– One of the differences between Norwegian and Italian organizational culture is the degree of hierarchy. In Italy the society is more hierarchical, so in order to get many important decisions made, you first have to make sure that you have the ears and the backing of the higher-ups. And this is something we’re not so used to in our more egalitarian society. In order to get to and be able to influence the right people at the top is important to establish contacts. And the royals can help us in doing just that, Elisabeth Svanholm Meyer says.
Siurce: NTB scanpix / Norway Today