Mr. President and the First Lady, their American friends, it’s an incredible honor, it’s an incredible privilege to be here with you on this occasion of the last state dinner of President Obama. I am really excited. I think this is a special moment for the history of the country as the presence of President Obama was special moment in the life of this great country. So thank you so much.
It’s an honor for Italy and for Barack, but it’s also an honor for us. So thank you all from Agenese and myself for your warm welcome. But, I am really in a difficult situation because it’s impossible for me to reply after President Obama. Also this afternoon I spent time imagining something to give thanks and it’s impossible. I think for Mr. President we can organize after the finish of your service a dinner in Florence. After a little walk in Ufizzi’s gallery and in front of David, and we can prepare Sasha and Malia to verify if really ice cream, if Italian ice cream, is better on the water, and then it’s not a state dinner, but with osteria and Florentine wine and Tuscan wine we can taste. And we can verify if the tomatoes in the garden of White House are better than Italian…I know, Michelle, your tomatoes are great, but after the last weeks, let me be very frank, your speech are better than your tomatoes.
Barack, you know, I am a huge fan of you, you know, I follow your first speech in February 2007 in Illinois. But when I listened to the speech of Michelle in Philadelphia I told you finally I found someone on the same level of Barack Obama: Michelle Obama.
Let me conclude with a personal consideration, I come from a city called Florence, so I really love the history of my country and during the Renaissance in Florence masters and students used to work together to produce masterpieces. Masterpieces that have endured for centuries. This workshop was called “bottega.”
“Bottega” was the place in which masters and students together tried to do better, tried to build a future. A new generation built inside the bottega a comprehensive vision of the future and I think, Mr. President, this is what you have done for us in this period. Eight years that were very important for the international community, not only for the United States of America.
And I think your service was a service as a master of the Renaissance because you worked with us to give us an opportunity and we worked together exactly with the spirit of bottega — try to make better, try to give a special opportunity to new generations.
With your message a lot of new leaders of the world today could imagine a future as a good place. Thank you so much for that.
In Italy there is an expression, it is a expression that comes from Latin, cum and panis. Cum is with and panis is bread. So cum panis is the expression of company. Why? Because the value in the table are exactly like sharing not only bread, not only wine, not only food, but sharing a friendship and a common values. I think this is the real relation between the United States of America and Italy.
We share the same values, the same friendship and yes, in the table we share the bread, we share the food, we share the wine but we share common values.
For all those reasons, I propose a toast to President Obama, to First Lady Michelle, thank you so much for your incredible journey, thank you so much for your incredible service.