The Ferrucci Institute’s Contributions to the Study of a Global Treasure of Tuscan Culture

On June 1st, 2024, a group of scholars and theater practicians from around Italy, Europe, and North America gathered in the small town of Collodi, at the foothills of the Tuscan Apennines, for a conference exploring the reasons and ramifications behind the global life of the character Pinocchio. Collodi is the birthplace of Carlo Lorenzini (aka Carlo Collodi, 1926-1990), the author of the novel Pinocchio (1883), and the title of the conference was “Pinocchio: A Global ‘Puppet’ International Symposium,” a partnership between Chapman’s Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research, the University of Iowa, and the Fondazione Collodi.

Dr. Pacchioni, who recently published studies on the history and influence of Italy’s unique popular puppet theater, collaborated on the planning and coordinating of the conference. Below is the original Call for Papers description and a copy of the program.

CFP: “Puppet theater represents an important phenomenon in Italian and international culture. Its long artistic traditions and wide dissemination have produced a vast repertoire that encompasses different genres and reworks heterogeneous forms of artistic expression. The result of various cultural influences and contaminations, marionettes and puppets, both as objects and as images or ideas, intersect a complex range of social, historical, and spiritual issues. In its being both similar and dissimilar to humans, the marionette becomes a metaphor for the modern subject and a vehicle for reflections on human existence and contemporary society. The theatrical roots of the Pinocchio character have long been known. Nonetheless, an in-depth analysis of the connections between the protagonist of Carlo Collodi’s masterpiece and the artistic tradition of puppetry deserves to be further explored in light of the most recent research perspectives, first of all in the literary and theatrical fields. The symposium aims to stimulate a broader discussion on puppets and marionettes’ historical, aesthetic, and psychological valences and the relationship between Pinocchio’s theatrical nature and global fortune. These intersections will provide novel perspectives to appreciate the numerous reinterpretations of the well-known Collodi book and the figure of Pinocchio as a character capable of transcending national boundaries.”

Posted in Community, Events, Faculty Success, Ferrucci Institute, Italy Today | Leave a comment

The Italian Legacy of the Carabini Family at Chapman University

The Italian Studies program at Chapman University is delighted to announce the creation of the Vicky and Michael Carabini Endowment. The fund will enhance the activities of the Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research and further promote the teaching and learning of Italian language and culture on campus.

For over a decade, the Carabinis have worked closely with Dr. Federico Pacchioni since he joined Chapman in 2012, and their effort has contributed significantly to making the program what it is today. Vicky Carabini was knighted Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia in 2021 and, together with Michael, they supported countless events with generosity and enthusiasm. They have become a cornerstone of the growing community of students and faculty, inspiring many with the beautiful ways of Italian community building and cultural celebration.

Members of the Ferrucci Institute’s Leadership Board, a group comprised of philanthropic supporters who engage in strategic and network development for the Institute, express their gratitude.

John Razzano, the Board Chair, thanks the Carabini with the following words: “Thank you so much for your gift to support and advance the appreciation of Italian culture in our community. Your years of devoted dedication to promoting our joint heritage to the community are now even more enhanced by your generosity. It will stand as a beacon to future generations of your love for Italian culture and your devotion to keep that endeavor moving forward.”

Voicing his gratitude, Joseph Ferrucci, who also serves on the Ferrucci Institute’s Leadership Board, said, “Our heart is filled with thanks and gratitude for the many years of carrying forward a passion and emotion we all have for a beautiful linkage to our Italian heritage.”

Mike Silvio, another board member, describes the Carabini’s gift “as a testament to the rich Italian heritage that we all share and inspires all of us to endeavor to do everything we can to show the impact that Italians have had on our community and the world.”

And, in the words of board member Jill Gillett: “The dedication, creativity, and energy that you bring to The Institute and to all that you do to advance Italian culture is infectious and inspirational.”

Special gratefulness comes from Professor Mario Leone, who is also on the board: “My family and I are deeply grateful for and excited about your support of the Ferrucci Institute. We hope this will be just the beginning of a lifelong partnership to support the Italian Studies program, Chapman, and the Italian-American community.”

Posted in Community, Ferrucci Institute, Italy Today, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Windows to Italy: Year One

The 2023-24 academic year brought with it a new Chapman Italian Studies series presented by the Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research. The series took place in the beautiful Dee Henley Reading Room of the Leatherby Libraries of Chapman University during the fall and spring semesters. The calendar alternated presentations from external scholars and Ferrucci Institute fellows, providing the university community with a regular forum to explore new ways to understand Italy.

Four distinguished speakers explored various aspects of Italian culture and history. In “Bridges of Life in Italy,” Dr. Thomas Harrison from UCLA examined the Italian peninsula as a bridge, highlighting the role of connection in Italian art and history from ancient to modern times. Dr. Norma Bouchard, a Ferrucci Institute Fellow, discussed “The Global Italian Diaspora: Texts and Contexts of Italianness in an Era of Global Migration,” reflecting on Italy’s transformation from a land of emigration to immigration and its impact on national identity. Dr. Luca Cottini from Villanova University, in “What Do Stories Do? The Added Value of Italian Entrepreneurship,” analyzed how storytelling enriches Italian businesses, adding depth and authenticity to their products. Lastly, Dr. Shira Klein, also a Ferrucci Institute Fellow, in “A Place in the Sun: Jews and the Italian Empire,” delved into the complex relationship between Italian Jews and the colonization of Africa, revealing the paradoxes and consequences of their support for imperialism.

The questions raised by the symbolism of the bridge (which is visible in the institute logo), where the series started in October, resonated throughout all of the meetings. On the one hand, exploring connections between different shores of history, cultural expressions, and disciplinary paradigms, the symbol stood out as a meaning-making humanistic gesture ingrained in the Italian mindset. On the other hand, the metaphor of the bridge, with its assumption of universality, leads to the challenging task of finding common grounds and shared cultural projects. Indeed, the challenging nature of the project and the quest for solutions that are not entirely foreseeable at the onset make the intellectual experiment of the Ferrucci Institute particularly engrossing, worthwhile, and needed work in our fragmented contemporary milieu.

The audience, which included institute fellows, students, and community members, was invited to ponder the intellectual juxtapositions afforded by the different talks and consider how their study and experience of Italy related to the perspectives presented. Next year, the series will continue to feature a variety of disciplinary angles with contributions from philosophy and the sciences.

The lineup for next year is now available on the Ferrucci Institute website.


Posted in Community, Events, Faculty Success, Ferrucci Institute, Italy Today | Leave a comment

Italian Songs in the Making: A Creative Celebration at Chapman University

The Italian and Italophile community of Orange County and the broader Southern California region convened last Saturday for the eighth iteration of the Italian Perspective Series at the Musco Center for the Arts, Chapman University. This event, a successor to the Theater and Culture showcase of 2023, which marked the inauguration of the Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research, spotlighted the inventive collaborations burgeoning amongst the institute’s faculty fellows and their students.

This year’s gathering illuminated the rich tapestry of Italian songs, spanning both classical and folk traditions. Orchestrated by Dr. Federico Pacchioni, who also served as the master of ceremonies as tradition, the program was enriched by the brilliant contributions of Dr. Louise Thomas, Dr. Giulio Ongaro, Dr. Ilaria Serra (of Florida Atlantic University), Deputy Consul Lorenza Errighi, and Chapman’s own President Daniele Struppa. Highlighting the evening were world premieres of original art songs featuring lyrics by Dr. Pacchioni, composed and performed by Dr. Thomas with vocal accompaniment from Chapman CoPA alumni Courtney Taylor and Ashley Faatoalia. Additionally, a novel rendition of Italian-American bluegrass songs by the Wimberley Bluegrass Band captivated attendees, concluding the event on a joyous note.

The program included the inaugural awarding of the Ferrucci Renaissance Fellowship Award to Dr. Daniele Struppa for accomplishments in the interdisciplinary field of Italian Culture.

Enclosed are photographs capturing the spirit and moments from the event.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dr. Pacchioni Receives Award for Excellence in Publications on the Art of Puppetry

Dr. Pacchioni’s book The Image of the Puppet in Italian Theater, Literature, and Film (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022) has received the Nancy Staub Award for Excellence in Publications on the Art of Puppetry from the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA), USA.

The award is meant to honor books, articles, or dissertations that are exemplary contributions that forward the field of puppetry by documenting important histories, contributing importantly to theory or practice, and sharing prime research. The award committee found Dr. Pacchioni’s work a significant addition to the literature on puppetry and performing objects. Comments from the reviewers include:

“This book makes a strong argument for the metaphorical power of the puppet when it appears in different media.”

“This is a terrific read that should appeal both to academics and anyone with a serious interest in puppetry or culture in general.”

“Pacchioni develops complex and diverse themes in each chapter that allow readers to learn about the complexity of Italian culture through the appearance of and reference to puppetry. He includes futurism and early modernism, the postwar work, and traditional folklore manifestations.”



Posted in Faculty Success | Leave a comment

Song and Culture: An Italian Perspective – Saturday, April 6

Join us for the eighth annual Italian Perspective event in the Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University!

This year’s edition of the Italian Perspective series is a unique opportunity to learn about the influence of Italian song culture throughout various periods, styles, and genres. A program of original plenary lectures and live performances will provide intellectual insight, cultural breadth, and aesthetic experiences – a fascinating journey stimulating the mind and the heart. Presentations will reveal the interlaced development of the historical genesis and significance of Italian song traditions, including folk songs, art songs, and opera arias.

A reception with light refreshments at the conclusion of the event will provide guests with the opportunity to mingle and meet speakers and performers.

For tickets, visit the Musco Center’s website or by calling 844-OC-Musco.
Chapman ID: free | Community: $20
A portion of your ticket goes in support of Italian Studies.
Ticket includes parking.


10:00 – 10:10 a.m.
Opening Remarks
Federico Pacchioni, Musco Chair of Italian and Director of the Ferrucci Institute
Lorenza Errighi, Deputy Consul General of Italy in Los Angeles

10:10 – 10:30 a.m.
“The President’s Private Arias”
Performers: Louise Thomas, Courtney Taylor, Ashley Faatoalia, and Daniele C. Struppa

10:30 – 11:00 a.m.
“Soundtracks of Italian Ethnicity”
Ilaria Serra, Professor of Italian and Comparative Studies (Florida Atlantic University)


11:10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Remarks by Giulio Ongaro, Dean of the School of Performing Arts
“Original Italian Art Songs from the Ferrucci Institute”
Music by Louise Thomas and lyrics by Federico Pacchioni
Performed by Courtney Taylor and Ashley Faatoalia

11:30 – 11:50 a.m.
“For an OC Original Italian Bluegrass” Wimberley Bluegrass Band

11:50 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Closing Remarks
Federico Pacchioni

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Reception with Light Refreshments Mezzanine Level

Posted in Community, Events, Ferrucci Institute | Leave a comment

Ferrucci Fellow Dr. Marco Panza Honored with New Endowed Chair

During a recent conference to celebrate Chapman’s new Doctor of Science in Mathematics, Philosophy and Physics (MPP), Chapman University Dr. Marco Panza, the program’s founding director, was awarded the new Kennedy Chair in Philosophy.

When asked about how growing up and being educated in Italy influenced his thinking and work, Dr. Panza expressed his debt toward two types of school: “my Italian high school, Il Liceo Scientifico Galileo Ferraris of Varese,” and “the PCI of the 1970s, which was a real school of life for me, independently of the specific political ideas.” Dr. Panza also likes to recall how influential it was for him the fact that “historicism and analytical philosophy were discussed jointly in Italian academia,” namely “the idea that there is no philosophy without a history of philosophy and no mathematics without a history of mathematics (though they remain different things).” Finally, he fondly acknowledges “the sense of friendship, where an intellectual collaboration is firstly an experience of life.” These influences are examples of Italian intellectual legacies that have flowed into the inception and conceptualization of the idea for MPP, for which Dr. Panza also acknowledged Benedetto Croce and Federigo Enriques, two key figures for him.

With the newly established endowed chair, Dr. Panza intends to reinforce a community of scholars and friends.

Below, Dr. Panza, the first one to the left, during the ceremony.

Posted in Community, Events, Faculty Success, Ferrucci Institute, Italy Today, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Dr. Pacchioni Speaks at Italy in Transit

Dr. Federico Pacchioni was invited to speak in the plenary session of the 8th annual international symposium Italy in Transit at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton about Italy’s popular puppet theater. The title of his talk was “Italian Puppetry Across Borders.”

Italy in Transit is organized by the FAU Italian Studies Program in collaboration with the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute (New York) and the FAU Initiative for the Study of the Americas, under the patronage of the Consulate General of Italy in Miami.


Posted in Events, Faculty Success, Italy Today | Leave a comment

The Ferrucci Institute Highlighted in 2024 State of the University Address

The Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research was highlighted several times during the recent State of the University Address as an example of academic excellence.

Toward the beginning of the presentation, when providing examples of germinal initiatives that are having an intellectual “cascade effect” and creating momentum for the institution, President Struppa spoke of the Ferrucci Institute as “a very exciting venture” and a type of “structure that will allow people from different parts of the campus to work together and expand their ideas” (0:35:40).

Following, when outlining recent progress in advancing the strategic goal of Academic Excellence and “key areas” Chapman University is investing in and growing, Executive Vice President Matt Parlow spoke of the Ferrucci Institute as “an interdisciplinary institute… that brings scholars and students from all over Chapman together not just to study and do research here but actually to go out to Italy and do more there,” and underscored the institute’s role in advancing global citizenship at Chapman (minute 1:01:00).

Watch the full video recording or only the highlights.

Posted in Community, Events, Faculty Success, Ferrucci Institute, Italy Today | Leave a comment

January Abroad: Chapman Students Carry on Field Research in Rome

Rome is the quintessential site for examining the evolution of various cultural phenomena across millennia, the structuring of political power, intertextual relationships in virtually all of the arts, the development of religion, the aesthetic exploration of place, and more. The city stands as a theater of humanity where themes and questions can be explored within a deep historical spectrum, where artists and scholars are tested in their capacity to comprehend and relate to a tremendous complexity unfolding before their eyes and to the very essence of culture and human time.

This January, a group of Chapman students across various majors spent two weeks visiting Rome’s major museums and most representative neighborhoods while designing and carrying out individual projects. The travel course is the fruit of a collaboration between Chapman’s Ferrucci Institute for Italian Experience and Research and the Borromini Institute in Rome. Students under the mentorship of Dr. Federico Pacchioni, interviewed experts in various fields, and collaborated with Italian peers from local universities.

In the words of one of the students attending, Lauren Moyle, who is double-majoring in Creative Writing and History and minoring in Italian Studies: “To explore and study the past in a city so full of its presence at every turn was an experience I will never forget. Of the Eternal City, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote: ‘Come to Rome——it is a scene by which expression is overpowered which words cannot convey.’ I have found this sentiment to be true, and I urge all those who can to come to Rome as well. It is a city that will remain eternal within me.”

Another student, Kelly Taylor, majoring in History and Creative Writing and minoring in Honors, reflects, “I keep thinking about the quote on John Keats’s tombstone: ‘Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water.’ I hear it repeated over and over in my head as I walk around the city. We all want to be remembered. Names without faces. Faces without names. And some in the invisible spaces who will never be recovered, seen, or called. But they can be felt. Here, in Rome, we remember. We remember humanity. And we experience it.”

Posted in Ferrucci Institute, Italy Today, Students Success | Leave a comment

Memories from Paul’s Pasta Piazza Party

The recent revival of Paul’s Pasta Piazza Party at Chapman University was a heartwarming scene, symbolizing the joyous return of a traditional and cherished celebration. Amid the gentle embrace of autumn weather, the event unfolded in an atmosphere brimming with camaraderie and anticipation. For a magical afternoon, Attallah Piazza transformed into a bustling Italian square filled with delicious aromas and a lively crowd of students and community members alike. Everyone came together to revel in the shared love for Italian culture and cuisine and to enjoy life’s simple pleasures in the Italian way! 

A huge GRAZIE to our amazing hostess, Marybelle Musco, who continues to give so much to our Chapman Italian Studies family. Many thanks to the Italian Club for contributing to this celebration, DJ Angelo and accordionist Linda Herman for the upbeat music!

Posted in Community, Events, Ferrucci Institute | Leave a comment

A Semester of La Serata: Italian Gestures, Dance, and Games

Embarking on a cultural journey, our La Serata events transcend the boundaries of traditional language learning. This semester, we started by delving into the unspoken language of Italian hand gestures. Participants discovered the fascinating world where conversations flourish without uttering a single word and learned about the importance of this other part of the Italian language! 

The journey continued with a rhythmic exploration of Sicilian culture. Guided by the enchanting Michela Musolino, students swayed to the beats of traditional Sicilian dance and music. The workshop unfolded the stories behind each step, weaving a narrative of a region rich in history, tradition, and artistic expression. Michela’s expertise transported us to the sun-soaked landscapes of Sicily, leaving an indelible mark on our understanding of Italian heritage.

Finally, in December, we gathered to share holiday cheer and camaraderie through the most quintessentially Italian pastime: Tombola. Laughter echoed as students eagerly engaged in this time-honored game, creating bonds that transcended cultural boundaries. Tombola became more than just a game; it became a celebration of community, a festive conclusion to a semester dedicated to exploring the multifaceted facets of Italian identity.

Posted in Community, Events | Leave a comment

Alumni Letters – Ayuj Consul: Chapman, Italy, India

It was a joy hearing from  Italian Studies/Dodge alum Ayuj Consul! Ayuj has always been a dedicated learner of Italian. Now, he continues this interest post-graduation in his hometown, New Delhi, in connection to his artistic pursuits. 

“After graduating from Chapman in 2022, I returned to New Delhi, India. I knew that wherever I lived, I wanted to continue building on my connection with the Italian language and culture. However, at the time, I didn’t know any places in Delhi where I could continue my Italian journey.

Searching for cultural events, I discovered the Istituto Italiano della Cultura (Italian Cultural Center) here in New Delhi. There, I attended concerts, film screenings, and art exhibits; most memorably, I attended a retrospective dedicated to the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini, where I had the honor of meeting the Italian Ambassador to India. I got to know new teachers and other institute staff who were all Italians posted in India. The discussions with them were invaluable, we shared a deep admiration for each other’s country and culture. More recently, I have also been involved with the Institute’s activities, volunteering as a film curator and presenter for their screenings. The screenings and introductory notes I prepare for them are a way to share my love for Italy and her cinema with the people of Delhi, in my mind, doing my little bit to bring the two countries that much closer.

My work as a writer, artist, and filmmaker continues to be influenced by my time studying Italian at Chapman and a summer I spent on the Italian immersion travel course to southern Italy. Earlier this year, I had an article and photos describing my impressions of Salento published by Globally Rooted Magazine. I also continue to write poems, stories, and ideas for films in Italian that I hope to develop into larger projects one day.

More than anything, learning Italian has served as a bridge to a whole treasure of knowledge that would otherwise be inaccessible to me. There are many Italian books, lectures, and interviews with artists that haven’t been translated into English and would thus be opaque to me if not for my time studying the language. Overall, I believe that the connections – personal, professional, intellectual – that I have built over Italian are some of the most meaningful to me, and I am incredibly grateful to the Italian Studies program and my professors for building a platform from which I could embark upon this journey.”

Grazie Ayuj! Tienici informati e auguri per tutto! 
– I professori di Chapman Italian Studies

Posted in Community, Students Success | Leave a comment

Ferrucci Institute’s Windows to Italy Talk Series is Launched!

This September saw the start of a new talk series dedicated to exploring new ways of thinking about Italy. The series, organized in partnership with the Leatherby Libraries, consists of four annual talks alternating renowned scholars from outside Chapman and Ferrucci Institute Fellows who are interfacing with Italy from their disciplinary angles.

Introducing the series’s concept, Institute Director Dr. Federico Pacchioni said: “We are all familiar with the symbol of the window, omnipresent on the Chapman campus, known by the Latin word fenestra. Fenestra now turns into the Italian finestra as we come together to intellectually glimpse new Italian vistas and, simultaneously, ideas that can help us return to humanistic and interdisciplinary teaching and learning with a fresh pair of eyes.”

The inaugural talk was delivered by Dr. Thomas Harrison from UCLA, author of the acclaimed book Of Bridges: A Poetic and Philosophical Account (Chicago University Press, 2021). In the words of John Razzano, Chair of the Institute’s Leadership Board, “Dr. Harrison’s talk centered on the importance of bridges in Italy. He examined the use of bridges in a physical sense, with the Italian peninsula itself acting as a bridge, the metaphor of bridges in time and space in literature and poetry, and finally, the imagery of bridges in film.” Indeed, the bridge is a core symbol in the mission of the Ferrucci Institute, evoking “the link between Chapman and Italy, between fields of knowledge, and between generations,” as can be read on the homepage.

The audience had a good representation of faculty, senior administrators, including Provost Norma Bouchard and President Daniele Struppa, and students. The professors present came from various departments and schools, including engineering, theater, music, mathematics, food science, history, and philosophy, demonstrating the Ferrucci Institute’s strides in activating the intellectual potential of Italy as a transdisciplinary reservoir and common ground.

The series will resume on October 18 with a talk by Dr. Bouchard titled “The Global Italian Diaspora: Texts and Contexts of Italianness in an Era of Global Migration.” For more details, click here.

Posted in Events, Ferrucci Institute | Leave a comment

The Larger Chapman Italian Studies Community Celebrates the Start of the Academic Year at Festa d’Autunno

A couple of weeks ago, the Chapman Italian Studies Community gathered at the beautiful home of Vicky and Michael Carabini in Corona del Mar to celebrate Festa d’Autunno. Long tables adorned with fall colors were set up in the yard welcoming students, alumni, faculty, and community members on a beautiful day with clear skies. Guests enjoyed a wonderful array of Italian dishes that showcased the diversity and richness of Italian gastronomy, all accompanied by enchanting music. The afternoon began with a performance of the Italian national anthem performed by Gino Gaudio, which many were quick to join in on. Later in the afternoon, talented Chapman students performed traditional Italian operas. The enchanting melodies and beautiful lyrics added an extra layer of festivity to the occasion, making it even more special.

While the food and the music were amazing, the company was even better. Students had the opportunity to speak with some important guests, such as the Consul General of Italy, Raffaella Valentini, and the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute, Emanuele Amendola, as well as Chapman’s former president, Jim Doti. Members of the Italian Studies Council and the Ferrucci Institute also mingled with students and community members over their love and knowledge of Italian language and culture.

Festa d’Autunno is a beautiful example of how Italy’s rich cultures and traditions are intertwined with everyday life even in a school setting in Southern California! This celebration offered students the chance to indulge in delicious food, bond with their peers, and immerse themselves in the country’s evergrowing heritage.

The Italian Program is very grateful to all its supporters and, in particular, to Vicky and Michael Carabini for their generosity in organizing this event.

Posted in Community, Events | Leave a comment