The King and Queen in Rome
Their Majesties The King and Queen continued their State Visit to Italy today. Their programme began at Italy’s national monument, where King Harald laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The imposing monument, called Il Vittoriano, is dedicated to Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy and symbolises a free and independent Italy. The monument was erected between 1885 and 1927, with decorations depicting Italian culture, art and traditions from various regions and eras.
The monument is also the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, where King Harald laid a wreath in a formal ceremony today.
Capitoline Hill and Roman Forum
Following the wreath-laying ceremony, the King and Queen continued up to Capitoline Hill behind the monument, to meet with the acting Mayor of Rome, Mr Francesco Paolo Tronca.
Following the visit to Capitoline Hill, King Harald and Queen Sonja had the opportunity to walk through the Roman Forum. The King and Queen were given a guided tour of the area, which was the centre of Roman public life for centuries.
The forum was a hub for politics and commerce, religious ceremonies, triumphal processions, and legal proceedings. The Senate and a number of important temples and shrines were located here. Today, only ruins remain of these monumental buildings.
In connection with the tour today, Queen Sonja noted that Italians have great respect for their history:
- They take such good care of their ruins and buildings, of the monuments over their past. That is something we could learn from.
Some 4.5 million tourists visit the Roman Forum each year. Archaeological excavations are continually underway, and there are reconstructions to show what the forum once looked like.
In the afternoon, Their Majesties The King and Queen, His Excellency President Sergio Mattarella and First Lady Laura Mattarella were the guests at an official reception hosted by the Norwegian Ambassador to Italy, Mr Bjørn Trygve Grydeland. Some 200 representatives of the Norwegian and Italian private and public sectors were in attendance at the event, which included a performance by the Norwegian boys’ choir Sølvguttene, among other things.
Continuing on to Milan
Following an official farewell ceremony at Quirinal Palace, the King and Queen will travel to Milan this afternoon for the final day of the State Visit. Tomorrow’s programme is oriented towards the business sector, with special focus on energy and fashion. Norwegian design and handicrafts will also have a prominent place on the programme.
Congratulations are presented today from His Majesty King Harald to His Excellency Mr Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Latvia.
World Heritage at Vega
In 2004, UNESCO inscribed the Vega Archipelago on the World Heritage List. Today His Royal Highness The Crown Prince was in attendance to open the new Vega Archipelago World Heritage Centre – Norway’s first authorised centre of its kind.