It should be no surprise to note that there was a succession of major fairs and exhibitions from the second half of the 19th century, many of which international in flavour, and with the 'modern' as their common denominator. Indeed, their aim was not only to publicise industrial production and the applications of technological progress, but also to supply the image of a society undergoing a lively transformation on an artistic and cultural level. In the wake of various events organised in Milan and the rest of Italy, the most important was the International Exposition of 1906 dedicated in particular to communications and transport, with which Milan intended celebrating the inauguration of the Simplon tunnel, and thus the important access towards Europe this afforded, not only for goods, but also and above all for people and hence the circulation of ideas. The event, which registered a large number of visitors from Italy and abroad, was planned not so much as a memorial to the past as a vision of the future. It offered a showcase for all the novelties offered by technology in the application of science to work, and which would revolutionise life in the new century.
However, the International Exposition was dedicated not only to the progress of industry and technology but also to culture and art, with the presence of a large number of Italian and foreign artists, as part of the 'Mostra nazionale di Belle Arti' ('National exhibition of Fine Arts'). Given that the International Exposition of 1906 aimed to be a showcase for the whole world as regards the best in each field from Milan and Italy, it is no surprise that one of the points of greatest attraction was the 'Padiglione della Pace' ('Peace Pavilion'), which provided the opportunity for Ernesto Teodoro Moneta to give an international airing to his ideas and proposals, and which won him recognition the following year in the form of the Nobel Peace Prize.show more