Charlemagne is an outstanding figure in Italian history. He began a series of military campaigns which would allow him over time to re- constitute a large part of what had been the Western Roman Empire. On the night of Christmas in 800 in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Pope Leo III crowned him the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. The depth of his vision anticipated the concept itself of a united Europe by centuries. Beyond political unity, Charlemagne aimed to create under his reign religious, legislative, monetary, cultural and social unity.
The Philatelic and Numismatic Office has produced a postage stamp of two values to celebrate the 1200 years since his death. On the .85 cent stamp artist Patrizio Daniele has reinterpreted the powerful equestrian statue of the sovereign produced by Agostino Cornacchini in 1725 for St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. In the background two abbeys can be seen, one in Fulda (Germany), rebuilt for the good of the Church, and the other in Saint Denis where the crowns of the kings of Fran- ce were kept until the destruction caused in the French revolution. The 1.90 euro value shows Charlemagne as he appears in classical iconography with his scepter and orb, the Cross above, and in the background a glimpse of the beautiful Cathedral of his native Aachen, Germany.