Although Italy has always been considered "Central" Europe, it is becoming more so as Eastern European nations are becoming members of EU and NATO. On Bush's visit to Albania, he announced that Croatia, Albania, and Macedonia would be working on an Adriatic countries package for NATO membership. Croatia's EU membership also seems to be coming soon. This will insulate Italy from being on the fringe of a "hostile" border like it was through the Cold War.
Italy is also evolving to have less strategic interest for nations in NATO and the US as peace and prosperity are settling more on Europe. However, the US is still investing in US military installations such as in Vicenza where protests have been strong. It may be time for the US to reassess where their resources are spent and how it acheives their strategies and interests instead of defacing cultural icons with war residues. Now the US Embassy warns Americans to steer clear of Vicenza.