Finnish community 'Lapp dance' of independence

Annikki Sarre with reindeer Ballerina in Rome. Photo by Gianfranco Nitti

ROME - This end of the year 2017 the community of Finns in the Eternal City, as in other parts of the world, have been celebrating the centennial of Finland's independence.

 After the suggestive illumination of the Colosseum with the colors of the Finnish national flag, blue and white, accompanied by a series of patriotic songs sung by a Finnish choir, it was the turn of a crowded reception in the residence of the Ambassador of Finland in Italy, Janne Taalas, embellished by the rare culinary delicacies of the Nordic country prepared by the celebrated chef Kimmo Kettunen, also enriched by the notes of national Finnish and Italian anthems performed by the young Finnish tenor Eero Lasorla. An exotic touch to this celebration was also given by the presence of an exponent of the Sámi (Lapp) people in Rome, Annikki Sarre, with the original and colorful dress of the Inari province, from where she comes.

 Another Lappish touch was given by the rather rare and unique presence in Rome these days of two reindeers housed in the Santa Claus farm set up, to the delight of adults and children, at the Officine Farneto. Rudolph and Ballerina, the names of the two shy representatives of the deer family, have traveled no less than 3000 km. from Lapland to the capital to cheer the many children and families coming to know them.


On December 5th the chaplain Antti Kruus celebrated Lutheran Masses in Finnish at the church of Santa Dorotea, in Trastevere, with organ music performed by Ismo Savimäki.

On December 7, a celebratory seminar took place within the SUOMI 100 / SUOMI 2000 program on the topic

"THE CULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ITALY AND FINLAND", at the Finnish Institute at Villa Lante on the Gianicolo hill.

With interventions of:

Arja Karivieri (Director, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae): Introduction; Akseli Gallen-Kallela, C.G.E. Mannerheim and the image of Independence;

Massimo Longo Adorno (University of Kiel): Finnish contemporary history and relations between Italy and Finland;

Paula Loikala (University of Bologna): The Kalevala in the culture and literature of Finland

Simo Örmä (Institutum Romanum Finlandiae): Eino Leino and Joel Lehtonen: two writers from Finland to Italy;

Luciano Cupelloni (Sapienza - University of Rome): Alvar Aalto and the contemporary architecture of Finland;

Maria Stella Bottai (art critic): 100 years of Finnish art

On 12 December Villa Lante hosts the presentation and inauguration of the exhibition Viterbo - Sensazioni del Medioevo, curated by Liisa Kanerva, Kaisu Koivisto and Anu Koponen. The exhibition remains open until December 29th, working hours 9-13.

Santa Claus Factory at Officine Farneto, Rome. Photo by Gianfranco Nitti
The Colosseum lit up in Finnish colours. Photo by Gianfranco Nitti