President Tony Tan Keng Yam was given a ceremonial welcome in Rome yesterday, with an Italian guard of honour from the Army, Navy and Air Force, and Presidential Guards on horseback.
As a military band filled the courtyard of the Palazzo del Quirinale with the sound of Majulah Singapura, the Singapore flag was raised above the 16th century palace. Sitting atop one of Rome's seven hills, it is a residence of President Sergio Mattarella, who greeted Dr Tan.
The military band continued with the Italian national anthem, launching a day of numerous agreements that will further strengthen ties between Singapore and Italy.
Under the agreements, both countries will collaborate further in fields such as science and research, education and business partnerships.
Dr Tan, who is on a state visit to Italy, witnessed the signing of an agreement that encourages cooperation in science and technology, alongside Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi at Palazzo Chigi, Mr Renzi's official residence.
Another 13 agreements and memorandums of understanding were set to be signed this week between the two countries' governments, research institutes, educational institutes and business associations.
These include a third Executive Programme of a wide-ranging agreement between the two countries that runs from this year to 2019. It covers fields such as arts and culture, archives and libraries, science and technology, and human rights, and could see residencies for writers, and training exchanges for professionals in monument preservation and conservation.
Nanyang Technological University signed a pact with Scuola Superiore Sant'anna in Pisa to research human robotics, while students at Singapore Management University, Lasalle College of the Arts and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts will have more opportunities for exchanges with Italian academies.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star) signed pacts with two Milan universities.
One involves a joint research attachment programme for students at the University of Milano-Bicocca in A*Star research institutes.
The Singapore Manufacturing Federation signed agreements with its counterparts, and the Singapore Furniture Industries Council inked a pact with Federmobili - an Italian federation of furniture stores - to help companies work together in the Asian and European markets.
Dr Tan, following his meeting with Mr Mattarella, said "there was much scope for us to explore cooperation in new areas, including trade and investment, for the benefit of both Italy and Singapore".
Singapore can be a hub for Italian companies to expand their business in South-east Asia, he added.
Mr Mattarella noted that Singapore is a "priority partner of Italy in the area of South-east Asia".
"Singapore is a gateway to all of South-east Asia. And Italy, much like the entire European Union, is very interested indeed in fostering economic and political relations with that part of the world."
Mr Mattarella said he and Dr Tan also discussed the need for the international community to deal with terrorism and migration "in a competent and systematic way". Italy and Singapore have the same goals and understanding on the matter, he added.
Last night, Dr Tan attended a banquet hosted by Mr Mattarella at the Palazzo del Quirinale. Today, he will meet other leaders and lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to honour soldiers who died in World War I.