After more than a year and a half after the original opening date, Expo 2020 has finally opened its doors to the public. From October 1st to March 31st, the United Arab Emirates will welcome 25 million visitors. The universal exhibition aspires to be a symbol of global revival: after almost two years in which the global economy suffered from the slowdowns and closures imposed by the pandemic, many countries see Expo 2020 as a potential springboard for relaunching international trade. 

The opening ceremony was held on the evening of September 30, with the participation of international stars such as Lang Lang and Andrea Bocelli, who closed the evening with his musical performance. On the morning of 1 October, the 191 pavilions of the exhibition were officially opened to the public. The Italian Pavilion was inaugurated by Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova, together with the General Commissioner for Expo 2020 Dubai Paolo Glisenti and the Italian Ambassador to the UAE Nicola Lener. 

The Italian Pavilion received the prestigious Construction Innovation Award for the best entrepreneurial project of the year. The announcement – reads a note from the General Commissioner of Italy for Expo 2020 Dubai – came during the 2021 award ceremony which took place at Sofitel Dubai the Obelisk. The Italian Pavilion had also been nominated in the “best innovative project” category. 

Italian Pavillion Expo 2020

The Italian Pavilion project was designed by Carlo Ratti, Italo Rota, Matteo Gatto and F&M Ingegneria. The building is conceived with the aim of staging in a creative and innovative way the slogan chosen by Italy for Expo 2020: “beauty that connects people”. 

The roof of the building is created using three real-sized boat hulls painted in green, white and red, to form the largest Italian flag ever made. To the architects, the three hulls represent three Italian boats that arrived by sea, and celebrate “the history of Italian explorers who over the centuries have crossed distant seas and lands, establishing contacts and relationships with the whole world”.

The project offers a “journey into the beauty of our country, the constant result of contamination, exchanges and connections of knowledge, ingenuity, talent and art”. The three hulls, which could potentially set sail after the event, are linked to the ideas of sustainability and circular economy. 

Unveiling of David's Twin at the Italian Pavillion  ©MASSIMO SESTINI FOR @ITALYEXPO2020 Expo 2020
Unveiling of David’s Twin at the Italian Pavillion ©MASSIMO SESTINI FOR @ITALYEXPO2020

Inside the Pavilion, on the other hand, the exhibition itinerary, as Italo Rota explains, “is marked as an ascent, to a point where it becomes possible, with the imagination, to observe Italy from the sky.” At the center of the pavilion, in representation of the Italian genius, was placed the “Twin of David“, a beautiful and very accurate reproduction of Michelangelo Buonarroti‘s masterpiece, made in Florence by a team led by the restorer Nicola Salvioli with the help of modern technologies. .

The idea behind the Italian Pavillion was to create not only an exhibition space for Expo 2020, but also something that could represent “Italian creativity“, The Pavillion was built with the contribution of companies that symbolize Italian expertise and innovative technology.