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Dubrovnik Presents its History, Art, Culture and Tourism in Milan
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On the occasion of marking the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Italy as well as the Croatian Statehood Day, on the 20th June 2017 the Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Milan in cooperation with the City of Dubrovnik, the City of Milan, the Dubrovnik Tourist Board along with prominent cultural institutions from Dubrovnik: House of Marin Držić, Marin Držić Theatre, The Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra and the Dubrovnik Gymnasium organized a rich cultural and art programme in Milan with the City of Dubrovnik as its central theme.
Dubrovnik Presents its History, Art, Culture and Tourism in Milan
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An additional reason for this event was also the marking of two very important anniversaries taking place in 2017: the 230th anniversary of Ruđer Bošković's death and the 450th anniversary of Marin Držić's death. Both these great men were born in Dubrovnik and spent a significant portion of their working life in Italy.

The Republic of Croatia was presented to Milan, a city whose historical heritage is gracefully intertwined with the most current trends in the world, through the prism of Dubrovnik, a city with an extremely high political, diplomatic and cultural value, whose cultural heritage is world-renowned and which is one of the most attractive cities in the Mediterranean. Iva Pavić, the Consul General of the Republic of Croatia in Milan, explained that this event was another example of how strong the historical ties between Croatia and Italy were, how the two countries had been connected in the course of many centuries and how they influenced each other in all aspects of their social life, which is also reflected today, in the European dimension which has been brought.

The City of Milan and the Braidense National Library (Biblioteca di Brera) have already showed their interest in reinforcing the cooperation with the City of Dubrovnik this year. Therefore this cultural programme is the result of a recent trip to Milan made by the delegate of the City of Dubrovnik, Nikša Matić, who is also the Director of the House of Marin Držić, and the Headmistress of Dubrovnik Gymnasium Katarina Tolja. The programme has also been supported by the Croatian representation in Milan, which has established a constant cooperation with the two cities.

The programme started in the centre of Milan, in front of the Church of St. Mary Podone, with the ceremony of unveiling the memorial plaque dedicated to Ruđer J. Bošković. This was initiated by the Consulate General of the Republic of Croatia in Milan and the Croatian Ministry of Foreign end European Affairs with all Croatians and Italian lovers of Croatia in mind. Ruđer Bošković, a great astronomer, physicist, diplomat and Jesuit, who was born in Dubrovnik in 1711 and passed away in 1787 in Milan, was buried precisely in the aforementioned church. The ceremony of the unveiling of the memorial plaque was accompanied by a concert of the duo Vox Ragusei, made up of the mezzo-soprano Diana Hilje and the pianist Ivana Marija Vidović. The programme featured works by A.S. Sorkočević, D. Pejačević and J. Gotovac. The concert was followed by the visit of the Croatian Institution and the City of Dubrovnik representatives to the Indro Montanelli Park where a wreath was to be laid at the Ruđer Josip Bošković's monument, a piece made by the famous Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović.

A rich programme in the Milan SeiCentro Palace presented the Republic of Croatia and the City of Dubrovnik through the prism of their literature, music, drama, art and history. Among others, welcome speeches in Italian were given by the Deputy Mayor of Dubrovnik Jelka Tepšić as well as the Director of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board Romana Vlašić, who also presented this pearl of the Adriatic by citing verses from the opus of the poet and academician Luko Paljetak.

During the musical part of the event, the invitees had the opportunity to enjoy performances given by the Dubrovnik Symphony Orchestra String Quartet (Đahna Kahriman, violin; Iva Vukić, violin; Šimun Končić, viola; Mihaela Čuljak, cello). The Quartet performed pieces by Dubrovnik composers such as Luka Sorkočević and Ivan Jarnović. The evening continued with a dramatic arts performance given by the Marin Držić theatre ensemble: a scene from The Miser, a comedy by Držić directed by Ivica Kunčević. The role of the Miser was played by Branimir Vidić and that of Kamilo by Hrvoje Sebastijan. What followed was a performance by Antonio Mustahinić and Karlo Krilanović, both students from the Dubrovnik Gymnasium, who had been mentored by teachers Lucijana Pendo and Matilda Perković. The performance showed a chat between the two Ragusan greats, Marin Držić and Ruđer Bošković.

The central part of the programme was dedicated to visual arts so the Director of the Dubrovnik Museum of Modern Art, Marin Ivanović, opened the exhibition by the academically trained painter Tonko Smokvina from his cycle titled 'Unrest'. The exhibition features a cycle of paintings in which the figurative borders with the abstract. Inspired by the landscapes of the Pelješac Peninsula, these paintings so rich in colour are dedicated to the artist's mother. The painter Tonko Smokvina belongs to the younger generation of Croatian artists and his work is regularly exhibited in museums and galleries, both in his homeland and abroad.

The following part of the programme was dedicated to Ruđer Bošković and Marin Držić who were taken as examples of the close connection between the two coasts of the Adriatic. The Italian translation of Stjepan Špoljarić's book 'Ruđer Bošković in the Dipolomatic Service of the Dubrovnik Republic' was presented. The book was published by the Diplomatic Academy of the Croatian Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Croatian Ministry of Science and Education and the Dubrovnik Gymnasium. The lasting legacy which this world-renowned scientist left is a pledge for the continuing connection between Croatia and Italy as well as Dubrovnik and Milan.

In the honour of the greatest Croatian comediographer, Marin Držić, an excellent cooperation has been developed between the House of Marin Držić from Dubrovnik and the Braidense National Library from Milan. More precisely, the Braidense National Library has lent three valuable rarities to the House of Marin Držić, the first and only editions, editiones principe, of Držić's 'Tirena and Piesni Ljuvene (Love Songs). Topics ranging from the greatest Croatian comediographer, the lending of the rare editions to the forthcoming visits to Dubrovnik were broached in speeches given by the Director of the Braidense National Library Maria Goffredo, the Director of the House of Marin Držić Nikša Matić, who is also the initiator of this cultural event in Milan, as well as by Cristiano Pambianchi, a true lover of Dubrovnik and Croatia, who has received a medal of honour from the President of the Republic of Croatia for his great contribution in connecting Italy and Croatia.

The Dubrovnik Tourist Board hosted the end of the programme. Together with the Trio Adriatica, the Board made sure for everyone to enjoy the excellent atmosphere and some typical Dubrovnik refreshments: liqueurs produced by the Antunović family, wines from the Crvik Winery whose labels feature names of Držić's characters, Croatian dry-cured ham, cheese, candied orange peel and candied almonds.

This important day in Milan, dedicated to the Republic of Croatia, a day which is the result of the synergy between Croatian and Italian institutions, the institutions in the City of Dubrovnik as well as numerous friends from Milan, will leave permanent traces in Milan – a memorial plaque dedicated to Ruđer Bošković and a book on his diplomatic skills. Two important exhibitions will also remain in Milan and they will be open to the public until 3rd July this year in the Palazzo Seicentro. All of this, along with the upcoming arrival of Držić's rare editions in Dubrovnik is a pledge for the future cooperation between two cities, Dubrovnik and Milan, and for two neighbouring and friendly countries, Italy and Croatia.

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