Thursday afternoon: San Demetrio

At lunch I talk to Laureen Harper from Canada who will host the next G8 programme and it turns out her planning is already underway. The unusual treat today is green pea (yes pea!) ice cream as a starter – everyone agreed it was delicious!

The spouses group was invited to an exhibition on Italian cultural and technological achievements with the Tourism Minister as our guide. As well as looking at some fantastic old treasures on display, we also had a taste of why Italy is amongst the leaders in fashion design – with a dress that belonged to 16th Century fashion icon Eleanor of Toledo from the Medici family to a video of Milan’s recent catwalk shows.

Some other highlights were seeing Galileo’s telescope and the original score of Puccini’s Tosca symphony, signed by Puccini himself in 1899 with all his original notes.

While it’s been nice walking everywhere, I did catch a ride back to the hotel in one of the many electric cars dotted around the summit venue.

San Demetrio campAfter a short break we were on the road again heading towards San Demetrio to visit a camp where many of the earthquake victims are still living under canvas. I met up with the wife of the European Commission President, Margarida Barroso, Hollywood superstars George Clooney and Bill Murray, and Northern Ireland peace campaigner Betty Williams. We joined a large gathering to open the Nobel for Peace Hall at the camp where a short film was shown to great applause from the local residents. Everyone there wanted to ensure that as time passes those who were displaced by the earthquake are not forgotten.

I saw Carla Bruni-Sarkozy at dinner in a local restaurant who has just arrived from France and will herself visit the areas affected by the earthquake in L’Aquila tomorrow. We both get messages at the same time to alert us when our husbands’ dinner has ended which is my cue to get back as there is an early start tomorrow.

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