The Italian Almanac

Presidenti Ciampi

Italian News - May 6

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi has received this year's Charlemagne Prize, awarded in recognition of services to European peace and unity. Ciampi, 84, is described as "an indefatigable spiritual guide" of Europe and a great head of state in Thursday's citation by the jury awarding the prestigious prize, worth a symbolic 5,000 euros.

The Italian president, a pioneer of the euro, "brings optimism" to European construction and "tirelessly carries the torch for Europe," his German counterpart said in a speech at the presentation ceremony.

The prize is named for the eighth-century emperor Charlemagne, or Charles the Great, who ruled over an empire covering much of western Europe. It was created after World War II by the German city of Aachen, which served as Charlmagne's capital.