Italy recognised the Republic of Estonia on 26 January 1921. The first Italian Ambassador to Estonia was Agostino Depretis who presented his credentials in February 1921. Before World War II, Italy’s Institute of Culture was active in Estonia. Historian Indro Montanelli, a grand figure in the Italian press, headed it.
In June 1921, Estonia’s first diplomatic representative in Italy Karl Robert Pusta, residing in Paris, presented his credentials. The first Estonian Ambassador to reside in Rome was Karl Tofer (1927-1931). In addition to the legation in Rome, Estonia had Honorary Consulates in Genoa, Milan, Naples, Palermo and Trieste.
Italy, which never recognized the sovereignty of the Soviet Union on the Baltic States, re-recognised Estonia on 27 August 1991. Diplomatic relations between Estonia and Italy were restored on 31 August 1991. Italy sent a residing Ambassador to Tallinn and supported Estonia’s admission to the EU and NATO. This positive cooperation has continued in the wider context of the multilateral fora of which both are members.
Estonia’s Embassy in Rome resumed work in September 1996, led by Chargé d’Affaires a.i. Ruth Lausma. In September 1998, Estonia’s first ambassador since the restoration of the Republic, Jaak Jõerüüt, presented his credentials. After that Estonia was represented from 2002 to 2006 by Jüri Seilenthal, from 2006 to 2010 by Andres Tomasberg, from 2010 to 2014 by Merike Kokajev, from 2014-2020 by Celia Kuningas-Saagpakk and Paul Teesalu was appointed as the Estonian Ambassador in 2020. Estonia is also represented in Italy by six honorary consuls.
The presence of industrious and well integrated, albeit small, Estonian and Italian communities in both countries also contributes to the excellent quality of the bilateral relations.
2021 marked the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relation between Italy and Estonia (26 January) and thirty years since their reestablishment after the newfound independence in 1991 (27 August).
The last few years have seen an increase in contacts between Head of States: on May 5/6 2017, June 26/27 2017, October 9 2017 and December 2/3 2020 President Mattarella received in Roma President Kaljulaid. Furthermore, President Mattarella, accompanied by the Italian Foreign Minister Moavero Milanesi, made a State visit in Estonia on July 4 2018, in a tour of the Baltic States (July 2-6), during the centenary of the country independence.
Also on a government level meetings have increased in the last few years, between Head of Government (meeting in Brussels in April 2017 between Prime Minister Gentiloni and his counterpart Ratas, that met again in Rome in November 2018), Foreign Ministers (meeting between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs Alfano and Mikser during the Rome Conference of July 6 2017 and, always in Roma, in February 2018. Meeting between Minister Moavero and his counterpart Mikser in Tallinn in July 2018, during a State visit) and Defence Ministers (Ministers Pinotti and Tsahkna met in May 2017 in Roma. Always in Rome, in October 2018, a meeting took place between Ministers Trenta and Luik).
Parliamentary relations are also excellent. In 1993, the first Italian-Estonian parliamentary group was established in the Riigikogu, confirmed by each legislature. The current is chaired by Hon. Signe Kiv. In the Italian Parliament a bilateral section of friendship with the Baltic States was created inside the Italian Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, chaired by Hon. Raoul Russo (FdI). From May 2018 it is also active an Association “Friends of the Baltic Republics” chaired by. Sen. Isabella Rauti.
The excellence of the bilateral relations is also confirmed by the fruitful co-operation in all multilateral fora, especially within the European Union. A good co-operation has also always been attained with regard to the mutual support to the two countries’ international candidacies.
Technical bilateral contacts are also common, and there is a positive cooperation between local authorities (lastly the visit from Venice Council Member Simone Venturini in Tallinn in March 2023).
- March 1994: Foreign Minister Beniamino Andreatta paid a visit to Estonia
- March 1994: President of the Republic Lennart Meri paid a visit to Italy
- 1996: Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry paid a visit to Estonia
- June 1996: Foreign Minister Siim Kallas paid a visit to Italy
- March 1997: Minister of Foreign Affairs Toomas Hendrik Ilves paid a visit to Italy
- May 1997: President of the Republic Oscar Luigi Scalfaro paid a visit to Estonia
- February 1998: Prime Minister Romano Prodi paid a visit to Estonia
- March 1998: President of the Republic Lennart Meri and Minister of Foreign Affairs Toomas Hendrik Ilves paid a visit to Italy
- July 1999: Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Umberto Ranieri paid a visit to Estonia
- October 1999: Italian Agency for Foreign Trade (ICE)’s President Fabrizio Onida paid a visit to Estonia
- September 2000: Italia-Estonia Parliamentary group of the Italian Parliament paid a visit to Estonia
- November 2000: European Countries MFA General Director Maurizio Moreno paid a visit to Estonia
- April 2001: Prime Minister Mart Laar paid a visit to Italy
- June 2001: Minister of Economy Mihkel Parnoja paid a visit to Italy accompanied by a business delegation
- May 2002: Members of Parliamentary Italian-Estonian Friendship Group at the Italian Parliament paid a visit to Estonia
- July 2002: President of the Foreign Affairs Committee Gustavo Selva paid a visit to Estonia
- November 2002: Deputy Foreign Minister Roberto Antonione paid a visit to Estonia
- November 2002: President of the Republic Arnold Rüütel paid a visit to Italy
- April 2003: Minister for the Infrastructures and Transports Pietro Lunardi paid a visit to Estonia
- April 2003: Minister of Defense Antonio Martino paid a visit to Estonia
- May 2003: Minister of European Policies Rocco Buttiglione paid a visit to Estonia
- May 2003: Minister of Welfare Roberto Maroni paid a visit to Estonia
- March 2004: Deputy Prime Minister Gianfranco Fini paid a visit to Estonia
- April 2004: President of the Republic Carlo Azeglio Ciampi paid a State visit to Estonia
- November 2004: President of the State Council Alberto de Roberto paid a visit to Estonia
- June 2005: Chamber and Senate Agricultural Committees paid a joint visit to Estonia
- September 2005: Deputy Minister of the Production Politics Adolfo Urso paid a visit to Estonia
- September 2005: Minister of the Regional Affairs Enrico La Loggia paid a visit to Estonia
- November 2005: Foreign Minister Urmas Paet paid a visit to Italy
- April 2006: Chief justice of the Supreme Court Märt Rask paid a visit to Italy
- September 2007: Chief of Staff of Armed Forces Giampaolo Di Paola paid a visit to Estonia
- January and March 2009: Deputy Foreign Minister Alfredo Mantica paid two visits to Estonia
- July 2009: President Toomas Hendrik Ilves paid a visit to Italy
- September 2009: Foreign Minister Franco Frattini paid a visit to Estonia
- November 2009: Culture Commission of Chamber of Deputies paid a visit to Estonia
- April 2010: European Affairs Commission of the Riigikoku paid a visit to Italy
- April 2010: Foreign Minister Franco Frattini paid a visit to Estonia to participate to NATO Ministerial meeting
- June 2011: Speaker of Riigikogu Ene Ergma paid a visit to Italy to participate to the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the united Italy
- June 2011: Minister of Agricolture Helir-Valdor Seeder paid a visit to Italy
- June 2011: Foreign Minister Urmas Paet paid a visit to Italy
- April 2012: Delegation of the Chamber of Deputies led by Mr. Migliori paid a visit to Estonia.
- August 2012: Minister of Culture Rein Lang paid a visit to Italy to participate to the Venice Architecture Biennale
- October 2012: President Toomas Hendrik Ilves paid a visit to Italy
- February 2013: Foreign Minister Urmas Paet paid a visit to Rome for meeting of Baltic Foreign Ministers with US Secretary of State John Kerry
- May-June 2013: Minister of Culture Rein Lang paid a visit to Italy to participate to the Venice Architecture Biennale
- October 2013: Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Raffaello Lupi paid a visit to Estonia to participate tho the EU Ministerial Conference on TEN-T
- January 2014: Speaker of Riigikogu Ene Ergma paid a visit to Italy
- January 2014: Defence Ministry’s Undersecretary for procurement Ingvar Parnamae paid a visit to Italy
- February 2014: Minister of Interior Ken-Marti Vaher paid a visit to Italy
- March 2014: Speaker of Riigikogu Ene Ergma paid a visit to Italy to participate to the meeting of the EU Parliaments’ Speakers
- April 2014: Foreign Minister Urmas Paet paid a visit to Italy
- June 2014: the Parliamentary Commission for the security of the Republic paid a visit to Estonia
- October 2014: Estonian Minister of Defence Mikser paid a visit to the Italian Minister of Defence Pinotti in Rome
- May 2015: Vice Minister for Defence Domenico Rossi paid a visit to the Vice Minister for Defence of Estonia Sven Sakkov
- June 2015: Estonian Minister of Culture Saar paid a visit to Venice Biennale and to EXPO Milano 2015
- June 2015: the President of the Republic of Estonia Ilves paid a visit to EXPO Milano 2015 on the occasion of “National Day of Estonia”
- October 2015: Estonian Minister of the Interior Pevkur paid a visit to Italian Minister of the Interior Alfano in Rome
- October 2015: Estonian Prime Minister Rõivas paid a visit to EXPO Milano 2015
- March 2017: First Vice-President of the Estonian Parliament Enn Eesmaa (March 16 and 17) and Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (March 24 and 25), on the occasion of the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome
- May 2017, June 2017, October 2017 and December 2020: Visit to Italy of the President of the Republic Kaljulaid
- July 2021: The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia Eva-Maria Liimets on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between Estonia and Italy
Before World War II, two agreements existed between Estonia and Italy: a provisional trade agreement (came into force 27 Feb 1929), and the agreement on the extradition of persons and court assistance in criminal cases (came into force 1 Mar 1938).
Currently the following bilateral agreements are in effect between Estonia and Italy:
Agreement on Co-operation in the Field of Tourism (came into force 7 Oct 1998);
Agreement on the Abolition of Visa Requirements (came into force 8 Feb 1999);
Agreement on Readmission of Persons (came into force 3 Mar 1999 with retroactive effect from 8 Feb 1999);
Agreement on Mutual Regulation of International Road Transport of Passengers and Freight (came into force 26 Jan 2000);
Agreement for economic, industrial and technical cooperation (came into force 1 Feb 2000);
Agreement on Cultural, Educational, Scientific and Technological Co-operation (came into force 30 Jan 2000);
Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income (came into force 22 Feb 2000);
Agreement on the Promotion and Protection of Investments (came into force 9 May 2000);
Agreement Concerning Co-operation in the Field of Defence (came into force 9 Feb 2001);
Agreement on Mutual Protection of Classified Information (came into force 8 Mar 2001).
Co-operation agreement against organised crime, terrorism and the illegal drug trade (signed 08.09.2009)
In addition, there also exists a joint declaration on the strengthening of co-operation between the foreign ministries of Estonia and Italy (signed 18 March 2009).