Dr. Sara Mattavelli, a Gifted Educator, Joins Chapman Italian Studies

Chapman University’s Italian Studies Program is pleased to announce that Dr. Sara Mattavelli will join the faculty as instructional assistant professor of Italian starting this fall. With her expertise in language acquisition and pedagogy and her extensive and award-winning teaching experience, professor Mattavelli will support and innovate the Italian Studies curriculum and program in the coming years. Thanks to her unique approach, which integrates multi-literacy and critical thinking with language acquisition, professor Mattavelli brings creative and intellectual depth to the teaching of foreign languages, particularly Italian. Chapman Italian Studies faculty and students are eager to collaborate with professor Mattavelli and to be inspired by her educational vision.

Below is a letter from Dr. Mattavelli to the program’s community.

“I’m very excited to be joining the vibrant Italian Program at Chapman University this Fall, and I look forward to meeting students and colleagues very soon! I have been living on the East Coast for the past six years, but I am no stranger to Southern California. Fifteen years ago, after graduating with a laurea magistrale in Language Sciences and Foreign Literature from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan (Italy), I landed at LAX to start my avventura americana. I worked as an instructor and language resident at Scripps College for one year, and then I went on to pursue graduate studies.

I received my Master’s in Italian from the University of Virginia and my Ph.D. in Italian Studies with a Minor in Second Language Acquisition from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My research interests include second language acquisition, literacy-based approaches to L2 instruction, as well as contemporary Italian literature. For my dissertation, I focused on Italian feminism and the works of four Italian women writers: Dacia Maraini, Franca Rame, Elena Ferrante, and Alina Marazzi. In the classroom, I encourage students to explore contemporary issues such as immigration to and from Italy, citizenship law, gender roles, and gendered language. To support students’ learning, I use various authentic resources, from rap music to newspaper articles, from videos to short stories.

Outside of work, I enjoy photography, binge-watching reality competition shows, trying new restaurants and cafés, and spending time with my cute puppy, Petrillo.

I look forward to start working with colleagues and students (and the Italian club!) and creating exciting opportunities to learn more about Italian language and cultures in and around campus. Ci vediamo presto!

Professoressa Mattavelli”

* You can send your personal welcome message to Sara at: mattavelli@chapman.edu

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Journey to Salento: Immersion in Lecce

This summer, the Italian Studies Program of Chapman University was able to resume its signature language immersion travel course. The course offers students the unique opportunity to connect deeply with a specific area of Italy, one defined by unique geographic and historical features, while developing their language skills and cultural knowledge. This summer, the course explored Salento, the southern part of Puglia, with the elegant city of Lecce as its base. Once again, the Marybelle and Paul Musco Endowment for Travel Courses provided significant financial support for the course and allowed all deserving students to participate.

Several local experts in fields ranging from artisanal skills, cuisine, art history, and tourism contributed to the rich schedule of lessons, including tours of major cities and historical sites, craft workshops, and naturalistic excursions. The program was designed in partnership with the University Language Center of Libera Università Mediterranea, which also provided linguistic training tailored to the student’s levels. Modeled on an experiential education approach, the course also included homestays with local families and personalized projects building on the student’s individual journeys.

The innovative model of this travel course continues to prove effective in enabling students to develop a complete and enduring relationship with Italy and to understand the degree of cultural and natural diversity present in the Italian peninsula; this knowledge and direct relationship hold the potential for the integration of new resources into the students’ professional plans and personal lives.

Below, students reflect on their experience:

“Participating in the Summer Travel Course to Lecce allowed me to put my Italian Studies education at Chapman into practice by fully immersing myself in the language and the culture for three weeks. I found a home in Salento and cannot wait to go back; the three weeks flew by in an instant, and yet every moment was full of learning and discovery. I returned from the journey much more confident in my abilities and with memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life.” –– Ayuj Consul

“Lecce was an incredible experience; not only did I gain the confidence to use my Italian and improve my language skills, but I got to make lifelong friendships, see incredible sites, and experience the culture of southern Italy. Living in a host family was my highlight – even though I have no Italian genetics, after Lecce, I can definitively say I have an Italian family.” –– Isabella Ocaña

“I absolutely loved my time in Lecce this summer, being Italian it allowed me to further connect with my roots. It also provided me with the unique opportunity to improve my Italian and gave me a better understanding of the authentic Italian lifestyle.” –– Arianna Modesti

“It was a truly eye-opening experience that helped me develop a deep appreciation for Italian culture and the history behind it.” –– Dominic Cote

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Film history comes alive in Bologna: a new collaboration between Italian Studies and the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts

The Italian Studies program (Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) and the Film and Media Studies program (Dodge College of Film and Media Arts) joined efforts to develop a unique educational experience in Bologna, Italy, a travel course that will become a staple of both programs and Chapman University in the future.

Under the guidance of Dr. Emily Carman and Dr. Federico Pacchioni, a group of undergraduate and graduate students collaborated this summer with the myriad of archival and unique screenings and symposia offered by the Il Cinema Ritrovato film festival and were introduced to Bologna’s cultural history and the local Cineteca research facilities.

The program featured conversations with emblematic actors of the golden age of Italian cinema, such as Stefania Sandrelli; with Italian and American filmmakers such as Gianni Amelio (director of Lamerica), Alice Rorhwacher (Le meraviglie), John Landis (Blues Brothers), Wes Anderson (The French Dispatch); screenings in the Piazza Maggiore accompanied by Bologna’s Orchestra del Teatro; visit of the exhibit Folgorazioni Figurative dedicated to Pier Paolo Pasolini’s centennial; and tours of Immagine Ritrovata, the world-renowned film restoration laboratory.

Restoration — as cultural issue and technical practice — is indeed at the heart of this course and is understood within a broader and interdisciplinary discussion about the preservation and evolution of western heritage and canon in today’s globalized community. Drawing from their subjective experiences and the wide-ranging resources of Bologna and its libraries, students developed a portfolio of critical writings probing into the theme of cinematic and cultural heritage.

In the words of some of the students…

“Nowhere else have I felt the amount of love and passion for film as I have here. Hearing industry members speak passionately about the films that were screened at the festival, and getting the chance to speak to some directly has made me even more excited about being a part of the film community, now and going forward.” — Afra Nariman

“As a producing student, I often focused more on the technical and business aspects of film. This course reminded me of the beauty and importance of cinema in documenting and shaping the narrative in both global geopolitical situations and the human experience.” — Nishaad Trivedi

“Getting to come to Italy and be immersed in the culture through the art of cinema has been really inspiring and impactful for my own art. Bologna is truly a wonderful city and I feel so lucky to have been able to see it and embrace all the things it has to offer.”
—Lauren Moyle

“The Il Cinema Ritrovato festival is extremely well-suited for anyone who takes the theater-going experience very seriously and is interested in (world) film history and restoration. This was a phenomenal opportunity to not only engage with the amazing films the festival offers back to back, but also to explore the Italian culture and history that surrounds you and is interwoven with the passions of the festival itself.” — Austin Kang

“Walking through the city of Bologna was like walking through the history of a great civilization; viewing the various films of the Cinema Ritrovato festival was like taking a look into the lives of the people of those times and the culture and stories that formed them.” — Sofie Kassaras

“The most meaningful aspect of this course in Bologna would have to be the opportunity to experience the fusion of Italian culture and cinema simultaneously. Attending Il Cinema Ritrovato has encouraged me to expand my horizons and delve deeper into new genres, eras, and cultural impacts of film movements. The incredible films and extensive historical background of the city have made this course one that I will not forget!” —Mia McGarity

A film screening in Piazza Maggiore, Bologna

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Chapman Italian Studies Supports New Educational Exchange in Italy – The Experience of Nick Gabriel, Professor of Acting

Nicholas Gabriel reflects on the impact of his experience teaching acting at Civica Scuola di Teatro Paolo Grassi in Rome this summer.

“My entire upbringing was informed by the traditions of the Italian American experience: we traveled to New York City for the Feast of San Gennaro, belonged to the local Italian American Community Center, played bocce, ate ‘seven fishes’ on Christmas Eve, and my father tended an extensive tomato garden that my mother turned into elaborate Sunday dinners, prominently featuring ‘red sauce’ that had simmered on the stove for hours. In fact, my sister and I have a running joke that the only meal we remember from our childhood is pasta with red sauce. However, it wasn’t until recently that I began investigating my ancestors’ extraordinary lives. They were poor carpenters, farmers, and merchants. My great grandparents on both sides of the family, whose surnames were Americanized at Ellis Island, emigrated from Calabria in the early nineteen-twenties and eventually made their way upstate. Because of my desire to grow deeper roots, I plan to establish dual American and Italian citizenship ‘jure sanguinis’.

Through the generous support of the Chapman University College of Performing Arts and, in particular, Dean Giulio Ongaro and Associate Dean Louise Thomas, I was able to travel to Italy for the first time in my life. Dr. Federico Pacchioni, Director of Chapman’s Italian Studies Program, connected me to a colleague (and former Chapman University student) currently working at Teatro Piccolo in Milan. She then connected me to her friends at the Civica Scuola di Teatro Paolo Grassi (CTPG). Founded in 1951 by Paolo Grassi and Giorgio Strehler, CTPG is Northern Italy’s academic gateway for serious theatre artists.

The students I worked with at CTPG were extraordinary. They were well-comported and respectful, uniquely physically expressive, and their acting was poignantly vulnerable. Their single most important distinguishing characteristic was their curiosity. They had an appetite for knowledge that was exceptional. They were excited by a new perspective, and especially interested in the mindset of an American professor who teaches in both screen acting and theatre performance programs at an American university outside of Los Angeles. They shared that our time together was valuable to them because I helped clarify some of the principles they’d learned previously and deepen their understanding of others. They also shared that I taught them some Chekhovian principles they had not learned from their tutor. At the end of the week, I did not want to leave. They thanked me profusely and I thanked them profusely and we reluctantly said our goodbyes. At the request of the CTPG’s director, Mr. Maccieri, I plan to teach for another week in June of next year there. My long-term goal is to establish an ongoing arrangement that allows me to return regularly. I gained a fresh, Italian perspective, and an entirely new community of theatre artists that will inspire me for the rest of my life.”

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Dr. Pacchioni speaks at the International Conference of the Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies in Rome

Dr. Pacchioni spoke at the International Conference of the Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies in Rome. This year’s conference, titled “Italian Cinema and Media: Past and Present, Continuity and Change, Expectations for the Future” was held in person at The American University of Rome on June 16, 17, and 18. It featured more than 100 scholars from around the world to focus on a broader understanding of Italian cinema and media in international artistic contexts. Drawing from his forthcoming book The Image of the Puppet in Italian Theater, Literature, and Film (Palgrave Mcmillan, 2022), Dr. Pacchioni delivered a presentation on the influence of the Italian popular puppet theater in the cinema of the filmmaker Lina Wertmüller (1928-2021).

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Science and Culture Merge Around Food in Italy

Food Science and Italian Studies represented by Anuradha Prakash and Federico Pacchioni, respectively, joined efforts this summer to launch a new Chapman travel course to Italy.

In exploring the food system from farm to fork, students witnessed directly the making of world-renowned products such as Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto di Parma, accompanied local fishermen and truffle hunters in their harvest, and surveyed the offerings in local markets and supermarkets.  The cultural underpinnings of Italian food were brought to life with the help of food anthropologists and historians at our host institution, the Umbra Center for Sustainability and Food Studies, based in Perugia, the medieval capital of the Umbrian green heart of Italy.

Students were immersed in a unique culturally layered environment where food plays vital economic and social functions and traditional methods of food processing confront modern realities.  The course led to original self-directed research projects in which scientific investigation was enlivened by historical context and cultural study was grounded in technical knowledge.

In the words of some of the students…

“Thanks to our professors, we explored Italian culture in a much more immersive way than an average trip abroad. Our itinerary was booked with incredible opportunities, but my favorites included watching the beginning stages of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese being made, fishing with local fishermen at Lake Trasimeno, and just the hospitality the different facilities showed us by welcoming our group and serving us delicious local food. This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never forget.” – Jen McCoy Sanders

“My time in Perugia helped me understand the cultural importance of foods. Helping encourage traditions and cultural significance through food regulation was a new aspect of food safety for me that is not often discussed in the US” – Grace Marquis

“Attending this travel course has far exceeded my expectation. I have created long-lasting connections with my peers and learned the culture and rich traditions behind the foods in Italy.” – Eric DeGuzman

“I’d recommend this course to anyone interested in food production, sustainability, or business practices abroad” – Taylor Thompson


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Ciao, Professoressa! Un saluto da Francesca Paduano

Cari studenti e colleghi,

As some of you may know, I am relocating with my family to Europe next month and therefore will not be returning to our amazing university next year.

These past ten years at Chapman have been one of the best times. You have a lot to do with it!! My wonderful colleagues/friends, and students have become my extended family. My colleagues are teachers at heart who made me stronger by believing in me. Together we made it through the madness of the pandemic, never giving up on the program.  It was a privilege to work with you, ragazzi!

Today, as I prepare to leave, I go knowing to have left a mark in my students’ education, little or big that it may be, but certainly so much more than any grade can represent. The heartfelt words I received in the last few days are clear proof of this to me. I know that you will continue to do amazing things on the Italian Studies path we shared and beyond. I know you’ll make every Serata and cultural/social event a fantastic experience for your classmates! You will continue to inspire them with your passion, enthusiasm, and skills because your commitment is special. Allora… knowing this… I will clap for you, with my big smile on, every step of the way!

Francesca 🌻”

Italian Studies faculty and advanced students celebrating Dr. Paduano’s contribution to the program earlier this month.



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Italian Studies major receives Kugelman Arts and Humanities Award

Dulcie and Lawrence Kugelman have been underwriting the Annual Kugelman Arts and Humanities Awards Ceremony for well over a decade in the Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. The Kugelman awards celebrate and acknowledge the top academic students within the departments of Art, English, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and World Languages and Cultures. This year, Bianca Newell, graduating this spring with a double major in Economics and Italian Studies, is one of the recipients of this prestigious award.

“It has been a privilege to observe Bianca Newell blossom during the past four years. To me, Bianca has come to represent an absolute dedication to learning, heartfelt discipline, and farsighted organization. Whatever direction she chooses to undertake in the future, I see in her a thoughtful and capable leader who is going to bring the humanities’ wisdom to her work for innovation and social change.” —Prof. Pacchioni

“I have known Bianca since Italian 101. I have seen her transform from an excellent and quiet young student into a dynamic, extraordinary, and enthusiastic person! She is now an inspiration to her peers and, as her professor, I am beyond proud of her.” — Prof. Paduano

“My participation in the Italian Studies program has made my time at Chapman something I will cherish forever. It opened up so many doors for me and provided me with the possibility to take a class abroad. I’m so grateful that I was able to take courses on subjects that I am passionate about and for all of the supportive professors and classmates that helped along every step of the way. This program means the world to me, and I am honored to have been a part of it!”

 

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The Musco Award supports Chapman students in Italy

With the resuming of study abroad at Chapman, Italian Studies students now benefit from the established Marybelle and Sebastian P. Musco Endowment for Travel Courses in Italian Studies. This endowment is yet another example of the many ways in which the Musco Family impacts our students, campus, and community.

This summer, Chapman’s Italian Studies program is launching three new travel courses in Perugia, Bologna, and Lecce. These courses are the fruit of innovative interdisciplinary collaborations with Dodge College’s Film Studies program and the Schmid College’s Food Science program and partnerships in Italy with cultural institutions such as Umbra’s Center for Food and Sustainability Studies, Bologna’s Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival, and LUM’s School of Italian for Foreigners.

Several deserving students pursuing Italian degrees were admitted to these selective courses and were awarded scholarships that significantly defrayed costs. Congratulazioni to Ayuj Consul, Isabella Ocaña, Sofia Kassaras, Lauren Moyle, Arianna Modesti, Bianca Newall, and Isabella Spagnoli. Buon viaggio e buono studio!

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Students receive outstanding Italian Studies Award

Every spring the Italian Studies Program selects outstanding graduating minors. The award stands for consistency and quality of academic achievements, intellectual curiosity, engagement in the Italian experience as well as contribution to the university’s Italian Studies community. The Italian Studies faculty is delighted to announce that this year the recipients of the award are Grace Montgomery and Ayuj Consul.

“My name is Grace Montgomery, and I will be graduating in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Finance, and two minors in Business Analytics and Italian Studies. Studying Italian at Chapman was my home away from home. In the Italian classes, I was able to make lasting connections and friendships: not only with other students but with the faculty as well. There were two experiences during my four years that stood out. The first was my journey to Sicily as a rising sophomore. I had only taken one year of Italian and barely knew the language; however, I was able to attend a three-week study abroad program that summer. I had a wonderful time, and I have wanted to go back ever since. The other notable experience during my studies was serving as the Italian Club President. As president, my most rewarding experience was successfully transitioning the club to an online format. Our first online event had more participants than ever! It was encouraging to see the Italian community come together during those tough times. I wanted to convey that same enthusiasm for language and culture to other students that I had experienced when I started at Chapman. Today, I am excited when I see fresh faces in the upper-division courses. The club still has a large membership, and the Italian Studies department continues to flourish. After graduation, I will be starting a full-time position with Henkel, a German-based manufacturing company. While this position is not related to my Italian studies, the Italian minor has already helped me in my career. The international cultural analysis of my education has given me an appreciation for other cultures. The awareness of differing cultural practices has helped me adjust to a global corporation and improve my ability to interact with diverse cultures.”

“To receive this award from a program that has become my family at Chapman is an immense honor. When I came here to study Television four years ago, I could never have imagined that I would graduate being able to speak Italian, especially not after my first two semesters where Italian had proven to be my most challenging course. I found that language studies taught something much more fundamental yet often lacking in our society: communication between people and cultures. Instead of trying to learn Italian, I then tried to start communicating with Italy, learning about her arts and poetry, cooking and cinema, history and industry. At every stage, I was guided and encouraged by my professors, especially Dr. Paduano and Dr. Pacchioni who represent a treasure trove of knowledge and energy that is both neverending and contagious. I would like to thank the Italian Studies program for bringing to us a piece of their beautiful country. As a writer, filmmaker, and artist interested in language, history, and cultural exchanges, I am sure that my connection to Italy will continue to give me great wisdom and inspiration in the years to come. In the future, I hope to travel to Italy and further develop this fruitful connection that I have been fortunate to form at Chapman.”

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The Extraordinary Life of Foreign Language Learners. A New Guidebook by Dr. Pacchioni

The Extraordinary Life of Foreign Language Learners: Harnessing the Rewards of the Multilingual Experience and Becoming Intercultural Mediators is Dr. Pacchioni’s latest contribution to foreign language and culture education. The guidebook, written with the linguistic Gian Marco Farese from the Università Statale of Milan, conducts a long-overdue discussion of the more abstract and complex issues surrounding the foreign language learning experience, its deeper rewards, and its important implications for intercultural communication and mediation.

Through an accessible writing style, a sequential chapter structure addressing specific learning areas, the book counteracts a widespread lack of intellectual, theoretical, and motivational reach in current language education, and highlights vital issues of diversity and inclusion. The book illustrates theoretical notions through a wide range of examples from multiple languages, viewed comparatively, as well as vivid life accounts of individuals successfully working and living across different languages and cultures. The Extraordinary Life of Foreign Language Learners provides answers to doubts and concerns that usually impede foreign language learners and offers inspirational points to advance along the demanding path of foreign language learning with a fresh and motivating perspective.

The book is currently available via several online stores, including Amazon.it, IBS.it, Hoepli.it 

The Extraordinary Life of Foreign Language Learners resolves one of the great puzzles of academic writing: how to convey first-rate scholarship with heartfelt affection for the subject. The authors, declaring their affection in the introduction and maintaining high scholarly standards throughout, may have done more than they intended. They have written a book about the particulars of language learning that can equally be read as a love letter for the life of the mind.
– M. Andrew Moshier, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Communication, Chapman University

This innovative and remarkably interdisciplinary work extols the unmatched richness of being able to think, act, and exist “between” human cultures that comes from sustained foreign language study. The Extraordinary Life of Foreign Language Learners urges us to reflect on the vital importance of communication —with one’s self, the Other, and the world as we know it—with openness, curiosity, and a deep appreciation for difference.
– Colleen Ryan, Ph.D., Director of Italian Undergraduate Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

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Dr. Pacchioni Speaks at Pasolini Centennial Symposium at The Graziadio Center for Italian Studies

Dr. Pacchioni was invited to speak at the first Graziadio Center in-person symposium in two years, One Hundred Years of Pasolini: A Transnational Gathering of Critical Voices. This one-day symposium, focusing on the work of Pier Paolo Pasolini, was organized in collaboration with the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow Dr. Francesco Chianese. The event opened with Keynote speaker Dr. Fabio Vighi and included talks by Drs. Federico Pacchioni, Gian Maria Annovi, Antonio Iannotta, Francesco Chianese, and Enrico Vettore.

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Join Us at Design and Culture: An Italian Perspective!

The Italian Studies Program at Chapman University is presenting Design & Culture: An Italian Perspective, which will be held in person at the Musco Center for the Arts at 1 University Drive, Orange, California, on Saturday, April 23 at 10:30 am.

This year’s event will include plenary lectures and an innovation panel focusing on different intersections between Italian culture, arts, sustainability, and design. Presentations will reveal the interlaced development of the historical genesis and significance of iconic Italian objects and brands and explore Italian industrial and fashion culture. The event promises to be a journey through the beauty and complexity of Italy’s intellectual and aesthetic import, celebrating the innovative genius behind the pursuit of style, yesterday and today.

This event will be the sixth edition of the Italian Perspective series, following Business and Culture (2016), Music and Culture (2017), Cinema and Culture (2018), Science and Culture (2019), and Food and Culture (2021). Once again, the presentation strives to be intellectually and aesthetically stimulating to both an academic and non-academic audience. The event is part of a broader vision to position the study of Italian culture as a productive and innovative interface with other academic disciplines and today’s industry.

Tickets are in support of Italian language and culture undergraduate education. For details and tickets visit: https://muscocenter.org/Online/article/italian-perspective-2022

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Dr. Pacchioni invited to Open Intermediality and Poetry Series by Trinity College Dublin

Weaving Media in Modern and Contemporary Italian Poetry is a new seminar series organized by the Department of Italian at Trinity College Dublin in collaboration with Interdisciplinary Italy, featuring scholars from all around Europe. The first talk will be delivered jointly by Professors John P, Welle (University of Notre Dame) and Federico Pacchioni on the collaboration between the filmmaker Federico Fellini and the poet Andrea Zanzotto.

From the online brochure: “Intermediality becomes one of the dominant strains in Italian poetry from the 1960s onward. Andrea Zanzotto’s contributions to this trend are paramount. An analysis of the presence of other forms of art and media in his verse, which is the definition of ‘intermediality,’ sheds new light on this tendency in general, and on his work in particular.  For his part, Federico Fellini, who was dubbed ‘il magico Federico,’ by Zanzotto, has created a distinctive body of films that are characterized by his collaborations with writers and poets, including his longtime friend, Andrea Zanzotto. Within this framework, John P. Welle and Federico Pacchioni will discuss intermediality as it pertains to these two magisterial figures in modern Italian culture. Specific references to Fellini’s cinema in Zanzotto’s poetry and the incorporation of the latter’s verses and songs in the director’s films will be highlighted.”

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The Fruits of Professor Pacchioni’s Garden, A New Book of Poetry

I frutti del mio giardino (The Fruits of My Garden) is Dr. Pacchioni’s newest collection of poetry, published by Manni Editore in Lecce, Italy.

The book, organized in interconnected sections, is the discovery of an inner story and a personal map to the world, a lyrical journey that, as reflects Domenico Napolitani in the Afterward “rebuilds the threads” of one’s own “interiority and identity, letting the memory, personal as well as collective, of an Italian in America become the substrate on which action can unceasingly renew itself.”

The book is available via Italian bookstores such as Hoepli and Manni Editori.

 

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