Rome – The theme of travel, from the futuristic one in space to the famous one in the past told by Marco Polo in his ‘Il Milione’. And then references to art, with a 2.0 version of Dante’s Divine Comedy, and to design, with a ‘re-adapted’ capital and a restaurant that evokes Chinese decorative arts. Casa Italia, opened in Beijing on the day of the inaugural ceremony of the Winter Olympics, is an ideal bridge that connects Italy and China.
Organized in record time (about a week), after having received the definitive go-ahead from China two weeks before the Games, the environment set up by Coni to accompany Italian athletes and professionals in the days of the Olympics complies with the anti Covid and playbook regulations. There is a registration at the entrance, a check at the exit from the hotel (as happens in any hotel inside the bubble) and has a maximum capacity of 70 people. The restaurant wing is included, with a reference to the east, but the rules are strict and do not allow exceptions.
Not even the chef of the Italy team Fabio Pompanin can access the kitchen where the Chinese cooks work. The hospitality house in the capital – the other is located in Yanqing, the headquarters of alpine skiing – is inspired by the Millium, the ancient traveling unit of measurement, corresponding to a thousand steps in Roman and medieval times. The two big screens – in the dedicated media area two other televisions have been installed – transmit images of the Olympic competitions and steal the eye at first glance, but the structure has several ‘attractions’ at a closer look.
From the two photographs taken from space by the astronaut and engineer Paolo Nespoli (one of them represents Italy) to the works by Gufram ‘Broken Mirror’ and ‘Capitello’ that give dynamism and liveliness to the environment. The figure of Marco Polo it is famous both in Italy and in China and the journey that welcomes guests continues with Laura Pugno’s work ‘Primati’: six flags celebrate as many plant species raised to signal the height record reached by these plants. The intent is to denounce the climate change we are experiencing. Finally, in the entrance lounge you come across Rino Stefano Tagliafierro’s video journey with ‘Love in three songs of the Comedy’, which through the images of the Genoese painter Nattini evokes the meaning of Dante’s itinerary from Hell to Paradise.
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