Russia was represented during the meeting by Mikhail Piotrovsky, director of the State Hermitage Museum, and Irina Antonova, director of the State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts.
The meeting discussed major joint projects—in particular, the exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s Madonna Litta at the Quirinal Palace. Preparations were on within the framework of President Putin’s state visit to Italy in November 2003.
An extensive cultural programme coordinated by the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry for the 300th anniversary of the foundation of St Petersburg envisaged approximately 90 projects.
The most ambitious of them included restoration of the Constantine Palace pylons in Strelna, the restoration of Raphael’s Madonna Conestabile exhibited at the Hermitage, Luciano Pavarotti’s concert at the Mariinsky Theatre, and the busts of four Italian architects prominent in the construction of St Petersburg—Quarenghi, Rastrelli, Rusca and Rinaldi—to be passed to the city as a gift.
The art exhibition Russia-Italy: Through the Centuries, to be held in 2004–2005, and intended to illustrate bilateral historical and cultural links, promised to be a landmark of Russian-Italian cooperation.