Italians Tour Savannah for G-8

Company's still coming, scoping things out for the G-8 summit. Today the Italian delegation was in town getting ready for their roles. The advance team got a tour of Savannah, and Mayor Otis Johnson presented them with a key to the city.

"The South is known for its hospitality, and this is the most symbolic gesture of hospitality that can be done," said Folco Delucagabrielli of the Italian delegation.

Tomorrow they'll travel to Sea Island as part of their tour of coastal Georgia. The Italians are the sixth advance team to visit in the last few weeks. The groups from around the world have been getting a feel for the South and the people, so they know what to expect in June.

WTOC spoke with the liaisons who are taking the advance teams around town and found they are doing a little bit of everything the South has to offer. The Russians, Japanese, British, German, French and now Italian advance teams from the G-8 countries have been coming to Savannah to prepare for their roles during the biggest gathering of world leaders.

"We're showing them around Savannah and the different facilities that will be used during the summit," explained liaison project manager Susan Roudabush.

Delegates also have the chance to see their modes of transportation along with their hotel accommodations during the summit.

But it's not all work and no play. Dignitaries also get tours of the city, eat at local spots like the Lady and Sons and enjoy good old Southern hospitality. "One of the members of Italian delegations who speaks no English played cards with local folk at the Mercury Lounge," said G-8 press secretary Evan Keefer. "It's great to see the interaction."

While delegates take pictures of the Hostess City to take back to their native countries, there is no question the world will have Georgia on its mind during the G-8 summit. "For three days, you'll have free advertising for the City of Savannah on every media outlet across the world," noted Keefer.

Two more delegations will be in Savannah in the next few weeks, including the Canadians and the European Union.

Reported by: Hena Daniels,