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A maritime Italy at the Yeosu Expo

A point of contact and synthesis between “Italy’s historic maritime calling and modern technologies”. That’s why Italy could not miss the International Exposition at Yeosu, in South Korea, the last stage in the run-up to the Milan 2015 Universal Expo. “It was important to be here, even at a time of crisis, to show that Italy has a strong will to grow, to start over and to create once again”. These were the comments of Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Staffan De Mistura, shortly after the ribbon was cut to open the Italian Pavilion on Sunday 13 May 2012.

From the Maritime Republics to the “Moses Project”

A story that, with the help of panels, objects, videos and holograms, starts from the Maritime Republics (Pisa, Amalfi, Genoa and Venice) and moves on to the great navigators (Christopher Columbus, Antonio Pigafetta and Amerigo Vespucci), the prized coral and cameos produced at Torre del Greco, and the Mediterranean civilisation, with a focus on the Nuraghi culture of Sardinia.

It then moves on to the marine reserves and the technological dimension, for example Italy’s participation in the works for the second Panama Canal. For this project, Impregilo is responsible for the engineering aspects, explained Commissioner General Claudio Moreno, who oversaw the creation of the Italian Pavilion. And on to the “Moses Project”: barriers to protect Venice from high tidal waters.

Italy’s presence, commented De Mistura, is a signal of “our appreciation of the admirable organisational and technological efforts of South Korea. It also provides opportunities for closer relations and collaboration for Italian small and medium-sized enterprises, especially after the free trade agreement with the EU in 2011”. Lastly, noted De Mistura, “the Italian Pavilion serves as a preparation and promotional tool for the Expo in Milan”.

105 nations, 10 international organisations

The Expo in Yeosu, a port city 450km south of Seoul, will run until 12 August 2012. It has attracted 105 nations, 10 international organisations and numerous exhibitors from private groups – all of them illustrating their products, technology, culture and ocean science expertise.

Day one of the Expo, 11 May, saw ticket sales of 33,000. A curious fact from the organisers: the Yeosu Expo has the highest number of robots in the history of the event, including a robot fish that explores undersea resources.