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25 June 2024

Interview with Silvia Tatti, President of the ADI (Association of Italianists)

Luigi Visconti

Silvia Tatti is Professor of Italian Literature at the Sapienza University of Rome and President of the Association of Italianists. She works on the literature of the 18th and 19th centuries, and in particular on relations between Italy and France, exile, melodrama and theatre, the Risorgimento, the Classical and Romantic periods, women’s writing and the didactics of literature.


On 3rd and 4th July 2024, Florence will host the ‘Italianists of the World’ meeting, organised by the ADI (Association of Italianists). We asked Silvia Tatti, President of the ADI, to briefly explain the aims and contents of this conference, which brings together specialists in Italian language and literature from all over the world.


What are the aims of this meeting, who will be attending and how will it be organised?


The ‘Italianists of the World’ meeting was born out of the need for associations and teachers of Italian from all over the world to address common issues and share perspectives and projects related to the research and teaching of Italian language, literature and culture.

The round tables will focus on international scientific networks, the teaching of Italian, the teaching of literature and culture, and institutional issues related to the dissemination of Italian culture. The conference will be attended by representatives of associations and teachers from about 40 countries around the world.

The aim is to take stock of the didactic and scientific proposals that fall within the multifaceted field of Italian Studies, with a view to agreeing on operational strategies, promoting exchanges and projects, and relaunching the study of disciplines in this field.

One of the first results of the organisation of the event was the involvement and networking of all the associations of Italianists working in universities around the world. In fact, the existence of worldwide scientific networks and the activation of numerous international projects and exchanges between universities do not have the same importance and strength as a network of disciplinary associations, which will be able to guarantee global coordination in the future and encourage the identification of common strategies in the face of the problems encountered.

Another objective of the meeting is to strengthen relations at all levels between Italianists and the cultural institutions and bodies active in the dissemination of Italian culture throughout the world. To this end, in addition to the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and of Universities and Research, we have invited representatives of the Dante Alighieri Society, the Treccani Institute of the Italian Encyclopaedia and the Centre for Books and Reading of the Ministry of Culture, who have readily joined the initiative, aware of the important results that can be obtained from a comparison with university lecturers from all over the world.

The final round table will be an opportunity to take stock of the event and to plan further meetings.


Among the participants in the conference will be the top managers of the network of Italian Cultural Institutes abroad. What are the expectations of the ADI towards the network of Institutes?


The ADI has made a commitment to the associations of Italianists working abroad to promote and strengthen direct channels of communication with the MAECI and, above all, with the network of cultural institutes coordinated by the Directorate for Cultural Diplomacy. In particular, teachers of Italian at foreign universities would like to see greater collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institutes, in the hope of having a stronger presence on the ground.

The requests concern: the possibility of publicising initiatives, also by simply referring to the websites of the associations in the information channels of the institutes and embassies; a reference, also on the websites of the Italian Cultural Institutes, to the university offer in the field of Italian studies; systematic and not just occasional cooperation between diplomatic missions and universities in the planning of cultural events and teaching initiatives.

A survey carried out among the representatives of the associations has shown that there are many good examples of cooperation between cultural institutes and universities, but it is hoped that joint actions can be increased, also through framework protocols, in order to promote the dissemination of the Italian language, literature and culture outside Italy.


The programme includes a section specifically dedicated to Italian books in the world.

How will this meeting be set up and who will take part in it?

The round table, dedicated to publishing in the original language and in translation, will be coordinated by Paolo Grossi, editorial director of the newitalianbooks portal, and will be attended by a number of international publishers specialising in the production of Italian books for foreign markets and in translation. Lorenzo Armando (Lexis), Sandro Ferri (e/o), Lorenzo Flabbi (L’Orma editore), Paolo Primavera (Edicola), Roberto Revello (Mimesis), Alessandro Vettori (Rutgers University Press). Also invited were Laura Pugno, MAECI’s cultural promotion expert, and Gaia Seller, director of the Rome Translation House. The meeting of these different competences and the dialogue with Italian teachers will make it possible to take stock of the publishing offer destined to the foreign market and to reflect on strategies and perspectives, also in relation to the requests and needs expressed by teachers working in different parts of the world, who, together with their students, are potential buyers and recipients of Italian books outside Italy. Discussing the problems of Italian books, the cultural and didactic orientations, the choice of authors to be translated, the balance between history, tradition and the contemporary, and creating a link between users and professionals will undoubtedly be one of the most important results of the “Italianists of the World” event.