Visitors to the Italian pavilion "visited" the country itself, thanks to a unique film technique that gave the impression of flying over the cities in a helicopter. When you left, you could take your own souvenir photo, against one of the 10 typical Italian scenes.
The result of a national competition won by two young architect brothers (Tommaso and Gilberto Valle, in collaboration with engineer Sergio Brusa Pasque), the pavilion was a stunning structure, a four-level creation in steel and glass with a series of oblique components. You first entered on a presentation of the history of Italy. A special feature: several television screens tracing the history of Italian explorers in Asia, from Marco Polo to the present day.
"Italy Today", summarised modern life, sport, fashion, science, culture, industry and architecture, and Italian crafts and arts were celebrated in the parade on the second level, near a large scale, classic Italian garden. Another section focused on graphic arts, typography and calligraphy.
Three eras were represented in three interior rooms: a Roman villa, a Renaissance manor house room and a modern salon. And two magnificent bronze works symbolised the continuity of Italian art. The "Mercury" inside the pavilion, by Giambologna, a disciple of Michelangelo, is a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance. Other works were presented at the entrance of the pavilion, by the sculptor Manzu, author of one of the doors of St. Peter's Cathedral.
An adjacent building, prefabricated in steel and fibreglass, contained a special exhibition on contemporary Italian industrial development. A typical Italian restaurant occupied a corner of the first floor; there was also a shop selling art books, reproductions, books, stamps and other items.