In 1479, Italian architect Aristotele Fioravanti was called to rebuild the Uspenkij cathedral which was destroyed. This means almost there were relationships between the two countries: it seems difficult to think that someone that is not known is called to remake an important building like that.
A few years later, another Italian architect, Alvise Novi, was called to build the Archangel'skij sobor, and some other architects, like Marco Friasin (Marco Ruffo) Pietro Antonio Solari and Antonio Alvise Friasin worked on constructing the wall around the Kremlin under Czar Vassilj III.
I can mention a lot of other proof of relationship, until 1908, when a big earthquake destroyed the city of Messina. When this happened, the entire Russian Naval Squad immediately entered the city in order to bring help to the people.
And there were not just a brunch of little ships, I am talking about "Makaroff”, “Guilak”, “Korietz”, “Bogatir”, “Slava”, “Cesarevitc” cruisers. All of the ships crews were immediately employed to bring first aid to the city.
Since they were in Augusta, these ships were able to being in Messina faster than the Italian ones! But the real notice is: there was an entire Russian fleet stationed in Augusta. That means high degree of trust. If you don't trust someone, you don't let his Navy in your country. This all demonstrates how good the relationships were.
All things stopped after the Communist revolution. Of course, during the "iron curtain", there were no good relationships. But the problem is this: I can count on about 700 years of intense relationship, and about 70 of blind darkness.
So, which one is the true "natural" state? Is more natural something that continued for 700 years, or something which happened just 70 years of dictatorship?
When I read in Pravda that President Putin gave order to make better the Russia's image in the world, I thought about another problem: the "iron curtain" situation was "becoming normal" in the way to think, although history shows that Russia had strong relationships with others in the past. Many people, when think about Russia, consider the Communist outlook being a normal character of Russia.
So, I think President Putin's main problem is NOT to make better the image of Russians, he should get read of the images of unnatural situation under the Communist regime. Everybody should realize that having relationships with Russia is NORMAL, natural and we had them in the past. The real unnatural period was the "iron curtain". But it is over.
In some sense, it is not a fight against the bad image, but a fight against the obsolete way of thinking, inherited by the short-time past.
So, the relationships between Italy and Russia are not "special", they are natural. What is unnatural for other European countries, is NOT having relationships, or have little of them.
Ivan Nikola Guerra