In September 1937, Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler met in Germany. Millions of ostensibly enthusiastic Germans welcomed the Duce. Here were the world's first two fascist dictators, purportedly united in solidarity, representing the ‘115 million’ Germans and Italians against the Western powers and Bolshevism. Most historians have dismissed the 1937 dictators’ encounter as insignificant because no concrete political decisions were made. In contrast, I explore this meeting in terms of the confluence of culture and politics and argue that the meeting was highly significant. Its choreography combined rituals of traditional state visits with a new emphasis on the personality of both leaders and their alleged ‘friendship’, emblematic of the ‘friendship’ between the Italian and German peoples. Seen through this lens, the meeting pioneered a new style of face-to-face diplomacy, which challenged the culture of liberal internationalism and represented the aim of Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to create a New Order in Europe. At the same time, analysis of this meeting reveals some deep-seated tensions between both regimes, an observation that has significant implications for the study of fascist international collaboration.