While the American-Italian relationship can be traced back to Columbus' discovery of the New World, it came to prominence with the surge of Italian immigration to the United States in the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th.

Today's close relationship dates essentially from the closing years of World War II, when the United States played a key role in the Allied effort to liberate Italy.

In the period of economic and institutional reconstruction in Italy that followed, the farsighted generosity of American aid sowed the seeds of a bilateral cooperation that has grown within the transatlantic framework.

Italy has gradually emerged as an important actor in the process of European integration, in the formulation of a common Western security and defense policy, and in the increasingly interdependent economic system of the West through its memberships in the European Union, NATO, and the G8.

The potential conflicts among these different processes have been contained and reduced, first by the leadership of the United States, which has consistently favored European integration, and then by an expanded American-European partnership, which has played an increasingly international role.

In this context, Italian foreign policy has reconciled European priorities with a firm commitment to the transatlantic relationship.

As the broad network of US-Italian relations developed ranging widely across the fields of politics, economics, business, science, and culture, the idea emerged of establishing a private organization to enhance and broaden cooperation between the two countries, and also between the United States and Europe.