The first Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds in 1958 was one of the most important ar-tistic and cultural events held in Italy after the war. It was also an expression of Ameri-can cultural diplomacy in Europe during the peaceful coexistence. Big Foundations and American government’s funds made possible the organization of the Festival. The aim of this public-private network was to spread American culture in Cold War Europe. Gian Carlo Menotti, founder of the Festival, and the artists of the first edition were pro-tagonists of American public diplomacy during the Fifties. At the same time, some local Italian actors used the Festival to reach economic and political goals. In this way, the Festival was a success both for American propaganda in Italy and for the Communist administration of the city, which obtained from it an important source of revenue.
Keywords: Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, Big Foundations, State Department, United States In-formation Service, American cultural diplomacy, Gian Carlo Menotti