Planned as part of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Italian unification, the exhibition was held, under the high patronage of the President of Italy, at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome from 5 April to 3 July 2011. The event was sponsored and organized by the Bank of Italy in collaboration with the company Società Speciale Palaexpo and the exhibits was displayed over an area of 500 m2.
On 1 January 2002, Italy and 11 other countries of the European Union introduced banknotes and coins in euros to replace their national currencies. Today, the euro is the currency of more than 330 million citizens of 18 European countries and is used over an area that stretches from Cyprus to Ireland and from Portugal to Finland.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Italy completed another monetary unification, the natural consequence of the newly united country. It was an age in which similar processes were taking place in other European countries, such as Switzerland and Germany, and broader forms of monetary union were being created, like the Latin Monetary Union.
The numerous innovations of the Industrial Revolution and the completion of national unification in several other European countries led to the birth of our modern world, in which change occurs at a much faster pace than in past centuries and encompasses most of our planet.
The desire to take part in this great European and worldwide transformation is what helped to make the drive towards national unity a reality. It is a story which in many respects can be likened to the process of European unification, while retaining elements unique to the 19th century.
Following and understanding these events, and their effects on day-to-day life, is also a way of approaching the subject of money and its role in the economy and society.