Italy covers up nude statues for Iran president
The move towards modesty drew criticism from a cultural official, who called it a 'wrong decision'
Italian authorities welcoming Iran’s president on a diplomatic visit this week seemed keen to avoid embarrassment – by covering up classical nude sculptures in the museum he visited.
While Hassan Rowhani is known for his relatively moderate stance – as opposed to the many ultra-conservatives and hardliners packed in the Islamic Republic’s system – Italy did not seem to want to take any chances.
At Rome’s Capitoline Museum, where Rowhani met Italian premier Matteo Renzi, ancient nude statues had all been covered up in temporary wooden cartons, removing the risk of them creeping into any of the shots.
The two men made speeches in Rome’s Capitoline Museum after a signing ceremony on Monday which saw Italian companies tie up $18 billion worth of deals with Iran.
However, the move towards modesty drew criticism from a cultural official, who said it was the “wrong decision.”
“You can not hide your culture, your religion or history itself,” said Giuliano Volpe, head of the Superior Council for Cultural Heritage at the Italian culture ministry, told public broadcaster Rai3.
“We must enhance rather respect and differences,” he said.
The museum cover-up was not the only step Italy took to ensure the Iranian visit passed off smoothly.
As Rowhani refuses to attend official meals at which any alcohol is available, wine was strictly off the menu at both lunch with President Sergio Mattarella and dinner with Renzi.
According to media reports, France has rejected making a similar placatory gesture, leaving diplomats preparing for Rowhani’s visit to Paris from Wednesday with a major protocol headache.
Designers show latest luxury creations at Paris haute coutureFrom France's Chanel to Italy's Versace, more than 20 fashion houses will show their spring-summer 2016 haute couture collections Fashion and beauty
Rowhani from Italy: trade could beat extremismOn the 2nd day of his visit to Rome, Rowhani says generating economic growth in Mideast is crucial to defeating extremism Middle East
Iran to buy over 100 Airbus planes to modernize ageing fleetRowhani is to visit Italy and France on January 25-27 to boost Iran's economic ties with Europe Aviation & Transport
Italy to send 450 troops to protect Iraq’s Mosul damThe 450 Italian troops will be in addition to the 750 already on the ground in Iraq as part of international efforts News
With eye on ISIS, Western powers push Libyans to accordWith Libya less than 300 km across the Mediterranean Sea, Italy has sought to focus international attention on Libya since the latest Paris attacks Features
From Gaza to Italy: Palestinian artist breaks free of siegeNidaa Badwan’s year-long self-imposed siege captured the world's attention and got her to San Marino Variety