MILAN — In a bid to move beyond the heaping plates of spaghetti and sprawling olive groves that shape many a tourist’s mental picture of Italy, several leading associations from the private sector have partnered with the Italian Ministry of Economic Development; trade promotion agency ICE; Simest — a company that promotes Italian business abroad; the Milan Chamber of Commerce, and the city of Milan on a special audiovisual installation called “Panorama,” to debut May 20 in Piazza Gae Aulenti.
With design heavyweights the Fondazione Altagamma, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana and the Salone del Mobile onboard, the coalition aims to put on a unified front for the hoards of sightseers expected in Milan for the World Expo, which begins May 1.
Visitors who step inside the octagonal “Panorama” — which features a dark wood exterior, and walls more than 16 feet high — will be swept into a high definition, 360-degree view of about 300 Italian cultural, natural and manufacturing sites, including the ancient ruins of Agrigento in Sicily, and the lush red-and-gold interior of Milan’s La Scala opera house. The images were shot using drone technology, and an accompanying soundtrack will feature pieces from top Italian composers and performers.
“Italy is a republic founded on beauty,” said Carlo Capasa, the newly elected president and soon-to-be chief executive officer of the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, noting that the country’s innovative supply chain and fashion expertise stretch back centuries.
Although the “Panorama” video is still in production, Capasa said it was likely to feature scenes from the Italian textile and fashion sectors.
Director Davide Rampello, who developed the project and its 15-minute film, said the concept stemmed from the cycloramas popular in the 19th century, and the goal was to provide “a unified image of Italy.”
“When we talk about beauty, there needs to be a common thread, which comes from Italian culture,” he said, adding that from the country’s Roman aqueducts to its artisan crafts, “it is a single culture that has generated all of this” wealth and creativity.
“The image that foreigners have of Italy, while super positive, is not very clear,” said Andrea Illy, president of Fondazione Altagamma. “People think first of the cities with the greatest artistic heritage, then they think of Italian cooking, but if you go beyond that it becomes more difficult for foreigners to identify what are Italian trademarks, they fall a bit into stereotypes — pizza and the mandolin. Whereas with [“Panorama”], we’re providing a series of visual anchors that are very strong and direct.”
In Milan, “Panorama” will remain free and open to the public through Oct. 31; later, it will be used as a promotional tool around Italy.