I am Federico Roberto Antonelli, Director of the Italian Institute of Culture.
My first visit to Chaoyang was on March 20, 1977, when I was two and a half years old. I grew up in Chaoyang District, living around Jianguomen, East Bridge, and as far as Sanlitun, which was not a developed area as it is today.
I left Beijing in 1985 and came back in 2011 to serve as the Legal Attaché at the Embassy of Italy in China. I left in 2019 before returning again as the Director of the Italian Institute of Culture and Cultural Counsellor of the Embassy of Italy at the end of August 2022.
Chaoyang has undergone a sea change since I first came.
During my childhood, all that could be seen was farmland. There was not a single Italian restaurant. However, things have changed over time.
Now you can find many internationalized places in the neighborhood. The Lufthansa Center was among the first to be built, followed by a number of famous restaurants and hotels after the restoration of the Liangma River.
Over there is the Four Seasons Hotel, where you can find one of the most famous Italian Michelin-starred restaurants called MIO.
Further down the road sits the Bulgari Hotel, designed by Italian designers, which I think is one of the most beautiful buildings in Beijing.
Here is the Liangma River, and an Italian restaurant named FIUME, which means “river” in Italian.
Penne Bolognese originating from Bologna in central Italy has been introduced to Beijing, and the taste is very authentic. This is an example of the cultural exchanges between China and Italy.
We can have different Italian food every day.
On the right is a well-known Italian Michelin-starred restaurant, serving classic dishes of northern Italy. In the Bulgari Hotel there is another Italian restaurant, a brand founded in Rome, which serves central Italian cuisine.
As Beijing becomes more international, it’s easier than ever to find and enjoy a wide variety of delicious Italian food.
We are talking with relevant departments to bring Italian exhibitions, performances, and concerts to Beijing so that people in Chaoyang can have a taste of the Italian culture at their doorstep. Such efforts will strengthen the cultural bond between China and Italy.