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The Italian Cultural Institute was founded in 1952 and remained open during the terrible years of the civil war (1975-1990). When  the creation of the green line Beirut divided East from West Beirut, a branch of the Institute was opened in Zouk Mikhael, a mostly  Christian area. This constant presence has created a climate of esteem and confidence with the local partners, who consider the Institute a major actor on  the Lebanese cultural scene.
The first Director of the Italian Cultural Institute was the Professor Martino Mario Moreno (1952-1956), orientalist and expert on local culture. Moreno's translation of the Holy Koran earned him a reputation as a cultural mediator in Lebanon. Fifty years later, the Italian Government decided to honour his achievments by naming the Institute after him. Hence "Martino Mario Moreno Italian Cultural Institute".
The Directors who headed the Italian Cultural Institute in Lebanon are: Prof. Martino Mario Moreno, Prof. Mario Montuori, Prof. Penasa, Prof. D’Angelo, Prof. Eustachio Porsia, Prof. Nicola Firmani, Prof. Giorgio Guerrini, Prof. Eustachio Porsia, Prof. Gerlando Butti, Prof. Nicoal Firmani, Prof. Ennio Troili, Prof. Wanda Grillo, Prof. Attilio De Gasperis. Prof. Edoardo Crisafulli.

Dr. Monica Zecca is the current Director.

In December 2005 the Italian Cultural Institute moved its offices from the Hamra branch to the new Chancellery of the Italian Embassy in Baabda, near the official residence of the President of the Lebanese Republic.

The Institute is active on all the Lebanese territory:

  • Hamra office: situated in Rome Street, Bldg 209 Ras Beirut, in the very central district of Hamra - Beirut;
  • Tyre branch: active for the South of Lebanon.