Mr Romano, who delivered his lecture in impeccable French, has a long and distinguished career as a diplomat and historian specialising in Italian and French history from the 19th and 20th century. He has written numerous books and essays on various subjects, including an interpretation of events in Russia since Gorbachev.
After weaving his way through the past century's religious wars and their origins, he dealt deftly with questions from members of the audience. For example he does not hold much hope for French President Nicolas Sarkozy's initiative to restart the union of countries in the Mediterranean Basin. In his opinion that would effectively split Europe in two. He also believes that the United States effectively "created Mahmoud Ahmadinejad", President of Iran.
After the talk, guests enjoyed a cocktail on the terraces of the hotel.