In November 1970, the Grand Hotel Miramare in Santa Margherita welcomed the emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, as a guest during his official visit to Italy. To compensate for the small physical stature of the sovereign, two cushions – suitably hidden from visitors’ view – were placed on the armchair on which he sat to receive eminent members of Ligurian society.
The visit by the Negus was of huge importance for Italy as it brought a breakthrough in the country’s political relations with Ethiopia, which had been in the doldrums since diplomatic relations had reopened in 1951. It was the Italian foreign minister, Aldo Moro, who got the process moving again during his visit to Addis Ababa in July 1970.
In the photo, from the left: Raffaele Bottino, then mayor of Santa Margherita; the owner of the Miramare, Giovanni Fustinoni; and the emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie.