On a mission toward mutual enrichment
On the occasion of the launch of the Perth-Rome direct flight, Segmento meets Nicolà² Costantini, Consul of Italy to Western Australia. The aim is to extend the route to the rest of the year, especially around Christmas.
Flying nonstop Perth to Rome
The Italian Embassy in Canberra and the Consulate of Italy in Western Australia, in particular, have been active in assisting Qantas in launching their first nonstop flight from Perth to Rome. For now, the service is operating seasonally, from 25 June to 7 October, as the first objective of the airline is to provide opportunities for Italians living down under to reconnect with their families and for Italo-Australians to rediscover their homeland and visit their loved ones.
Consul of Italy Nicolà² Costantini considers it one of the most strategic achievements for Italy in Western Australia during his 3.5-year mandate, as it aligns with the way he conceives the role of embassies and consulates:
"They are like antennas, bidirectional antennas, emitting signals both from Italy to the country where they are located, explaining what Italy is about, but they also receive the signal from that country, capturing what that country has to offer and reporting back to Italy so that it develops opportunities for collaboration."
Costantini assures us he will continue his commitment under the guidance of the embassy in Canberra, so that this flight is successful and is extended to the rest of the year, especially around Christmas, to enable Europeans to escape winter and visit Australia. He considers it a game changer in the relations between our two countries and hopes that it will be popular not only among tourists but also promote exchanges of all sorts: political, business, research, artistic.
"“It is significant that on the inaugural flight to Rome there were both the premier of Western Australia and the lord mayor of Perth who went on an official visit to Italy, to which the Consulate was glad to contribute," says Costantini.
"“The premier visited not only Rome, but also Milan, where he gained an understanding of the business side of Italy, whereas the lord mayor visited both Rome and Vasto, which is a sister city of Perth. The fact that after 2 years of closed borders, the leaders of Western Australia and Perth chose Rome as their first destination overseas is a clear sign of the strength of our bilateral relationship."
Rediscovering Western Australia
On his second diplomatic mission abroad, Costantini arrived in Perth on 27 February 2020, after a long experience in Hanoi, Vietnam.
"Vietnam is a fascinating, millenary culture that is very attractive thanks to its differences with the European one. And not only in terms of culture, history, society, but also as an approach to life. Many aspects are in common with its surrounding countries, Laos, Cambodia, China. And then, after such an enriching experience in a still exotic part of the world, I arrived in Western Australia, which in many ways is also very different from our culture."
As the borders of his state stayed shut during the pandemic, Costantini had the opportunity to travel through Western Australia extensively:
"“The landscapes here are wonderful, painted by incredible colors: the red of the earth against the deep blue of the ocean "¦ I certainly missed going overseas or back to Italy, but I learned to love traveling across this state. It offers fantastic memories, from the Kimberley to the Great South."
The beauty of Italy
Traveling and discovering the world, added to his early interest in international relations and politics, made the choice of this job a foregone conclusion. In particular, he is passionate about broadening the horizons of foreign partners who tend to focus on the beauty of Italy as a tourist destination only, with its culture, history, art, cities:
"And rightly so. We have 58 UNESCO sites - the highest number of UNESCO sites in one single country. But Italy is not just a beautiful touristic destination: Italy is research, science, innovation. Italy was the third country to send a satellite in space. We are world leaders for design, manufacturing, creativity, technology and environmental sustainability. For example, it is worth mentioning that companies like ENI, ENEL, and Webuild successfully operate in Western Australia."
A lot of the efforts of embassies and consulates focus on righting the misconceptions people have of Italy:
"As our culture is so powerful and overwhelming, people tend to forget we are the eighth economy in the world, a founding member of the European Union, of NATO. We make the largest contribution in troops to United Nations peacekeeping missions among western countries. That is why it is so important that institutions and the Italian community work together to raise awareness of what we are able to do."
At the end of his mandate, in a year, Costantini is due back in Rome, where he will reconnect with the country he represents and prepare once more to promote what Italy has to offer the world.