Greetings from the Chair

Dear Alumni and Friends of the Italian Department:

The Department is pleased to share the new version of our newsletter: "Notizie e novità", which includes highlights of the past year's programming, as well as updates on our faculty, students, and alumni.

We look forward to sharing your news and thoughts with us, so please send us your posts to for inclusion in future issues.


Jo Ann Cavallo

Professor of Italian

Chair (Fall '14- Spring ’21)


New Course: Italy: Emigration-Immigration

 This course examines various aspects of Italian language and culture through the study of emigration from and within Italy, as well as throughthe exploration of contemporary immigration into Italy. This highlyinterdisciplinary course begins by covering the history of the Italiandiaspora from its beginnings to the internal migration of the 60’s. The second part of the course, instead, will be devoted to the study of the immigration into Italy over the past 30 years. The continuous migratory...

Il mondo oltre l’Europa nei poemi di Boiardo e Ariosto


Speaking Truth to Power from Medieval to Modern Italy

Co-edited by Jo Ann Cavallo and Carlo Lottieri. Annali d’italianistica 34 (2016). Twenty essays on literary and historical texts, from medieval to modern Italy, in which authors or characters challenge the established power of the state at the risk of their livelihood or their very lives. Includes essays by recent Italian Department Ph.D.s Karina F. Attar, Steven Baker, Zane D.R. Mackin,  and Valentina Nocentini.



Barbara Faedda, Adjunct Assistant Professor/Associate Director, Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America

Barbara Faedda has several publications due to be released in the near future:


Present and Future Memory. Holocaust Studies at the Italian Academy 2008-2016, Edited by Barbara Faedda, The Italian Academy Publications, Columbia University, October 2016.


“An Italian Perspective on the U.S.-Italy Relationship”, in Italy in the White House: A Conversation on Historical Perspectives, David M. Rubenstein National Center for White...

Prof. Teodolinda Barolini elected Accademica Corrispondente of the Accademia Olimpica of Vicenza

Prof. Teodolinda Barolini was elected Accademica Corrispondente of the Accademia Olimpica of Vicenza.  The Accademia Olimpica was founded in Vicenza in 1555 by a group of intellectuals including the architect Andrea Palladio, whose famed Teatro Olimpico was constructed as part of the enterprise.

Dante's Lyric Poetry: Poems of Youth and of the "Vita Nuova".

Edited with a General Introduction and Introductory Essays to the Lyrics by Teodolinda Barolini.
Verse translations by Richard Lansing.
 University of Toronto Press, 2014

Lectures in Italy in honor of the 650th anniversary of Dante's birth.

Lectures in Italy in honor of the 650th anniversary of Dante's birth, at the Accademia dei Lincei and as part of the Dante in Verona series.

To hear the lecture "L'eterodossia in Dante secondo alcuni contemporanei":

New Digital Dante Website Release Lauded

An article on the newly revamped Digital Dante was featured prominently on the main page of the Columbia University website.

James Walston Memorial Lecture at the American University in Rome.

14 May, Elizabeth Leake conducted an interview with Roberto Saviano on the topic of intellectual freedom in celebration of the first James Walston Memorial Lecture.

Enrico Messina performed Orlando

On September 30 and October 1, Enrico Messina performed Orlando: furiosamente solo rotolando in the Teatro of the Italian Academy. This was the international debut of a work inspired by Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso that the Pugliese actor/narrator/writer/director has performed over 500 times throughout Italy since its inception in 2006. The evening began with the performance of passages from Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato by Victoria Giler, Katrina Goldowsky-Dill, and...

“From the Echoes of Mulberry Street to the First Italian Folk Revival of the 1970s.”

Lecture and performance by John La Barbera, composer and author of Traditional Southern Italian Mandolin and Fiddle Tunes and Italian Folk Music for Mandolin....

The World beyond Europe in the Romance Epics of Boiardo and Ariosto

The World beyond Europe in the Romance Epics of Boiardo and Ariosto
By Jo Ann Cavallo
Toronto Italian Studies
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2013

This study offers a sustained examination of the presentation of eastern Asia, the Middle East, and northern Africa in two of the most important chivalric epics of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, Matteo Maria Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato (1495) and Ludovico...


ORLANDO: furiosamente solo rotolandoEpisodes inspired by Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (in Italian) performed by Enrico Messina Armamaxa teatro, Foggia (FG) / Ceglie Messapica (BR)from the text HRUODLANDUS libera rotolata medioevale by E. Messina and A. Nicotine with passages from Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato (in English) performed by Victoria GilerKatrina Goldowsky-Dill, and Stephen Chacon...

Publication: L'Alcorano di Macometto: Storia di un libro del Cinquecento europeo

Asst. Professor Pier Mattia Tommasino has published his first book.

L'Alcorano di Macometto: Storia di un libro del Cinquecento europeo

Federica Franze, Lecturer

Federica Franze presented a paper at the American Comparative Literature Association in March 2014 on the film Palermo oder Wolfsburg by Werner Schroeter. The film deals in a highly original way with the question of Italian immigration in Germany in the 1960s. Her paper explores the ideas of alienation, homelessness and dissonance. It also discusses how the director engages dialectically with national authority, complicating predictable binary oppositions, and creating a significant early...

Felice Beneduce, Lecturer

In November, 2013, Felice was invited to give a lecture in the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral for the 175th Anniversary Remembrance commemoration of Lorenzo Da Ponte. The speech highlighted Da Ponte’s life, his efforts to create an opera in New York City and his founding of the Italian Department at Columbia University. In March of 2014, Felice presented a paper entitled “Primo’s Ents: The Rebellion of Trees in Levi and Tolkien” at the American Comparative Literature Association...

Faculty in the media

In February 2014 Nelson Moe participated in an HBO show on "The Sopranos," to be included in the 15th Anniversary DVD set to be released in September.

Graduate Student News

News from our Graduate Students:

Irene Bulla will be teaching Intensive Italian at Ca' Foscari in June and July 2014 for the "Italian Cultural Studies in Venice" program.

Pieter Vanhove has been accepted to Harvard's Institute for World Literature, to be held at the City University of Hong Kong from June 23 to July 17.  Pieter’s paper, “Avant-Garde Magicians: Humanism and Deconstruction in...

Pasta-making Workshop

La Società Italiana organized a traditional Italian pasta-making workshop through the Office of Global Programs on February 24 ( and a Fellini costume-party to celebrate Carnevale on March 8. The Società also co-hosts the bi-monthly Soiree Salon in conjunction with the French Club.  To stay updated about the Società’s activities or to become involved in the club, please email

Undergraduate Student News

News from our undergraduate students:

Nick Bruscato (GS '14), a Chicago native, is an Italian Cultural Studies major in the Joint Program with the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS). At JTS Nick is majoring in Modern Jewish Studies. He studied abroad in Bologna in the fall of 2013 where he focused on Byzantine mosaics. This March Nick will be returning to Europe to participate in the UN Human Rights Council...


Prof. Teodolinda Barolini Elected to the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei

Teodolinda Barolini, Lorenzo Da Ponte Professor of Italian, was elected as a Foreign Member of the prestigious Italian academy Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. This important international recognition of her scholarship reflects upon Columbia’s mission as a global institution. 

Please join us in in congratulating Prof. Barolini on this honor.

 Further information regarding the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei:

"Founded in 1603, the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei is the oldest academy...

Caffè e Conversazione

The graduate language instructors of the Department of Italian invite all who are interested to Caffé e Conversazione, two hours of Italian speaking practice. Coffee and cookies will be served. Wednesdays, 2:30-4:30pm in 506 Hamilton hall

Writing Like Breathing: Dacia Maraini Discusses her Most Recent Writings

 Writing Like Breathing: Dacia Maraini Discusses her Most Recent Writings
On Thursday, March 1, at 4pm, Dacia Maraini will give a talk followed by an audience Q&A.  Prof. Elizabeth Leake will moderate. The event will take place in the Library of the Italian Academy (1161 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027), and is hosted by the Department of Italian, with the co-sponsorship of the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America and the Institute for Research on Women, Gender,...

Italian Graduate Conference - Great Incompletes: Italy's Unfinished Endeavors

     The graduate students of the Department of Italian will host a conference titled Great Incompletes: Italy's Unfinished Endeavors, to be held on February 3-4 2017. Please click here for the program.

     We hope you will join us for this exciting event. Twelve graduate students from different institutions will tackle the issue of incompleteness from different disciplinary perspectives, Benoit Felici's documentary "Unfinished Italy" will be shown and discussed with the...

Italy in NYC - La Serenissima: Music and Arts from the Venetian Republic


"February 3–21, 2017

Venice stands as a monument to the improbable paradise where city meets sea. The Venetian Republic—also known as La Serenissima, or “the Most Serene Republic”—reached levels of maritime supremacy, democratic progressiveness, financial prosperity, and both cultural achievement and innovation, flourishing for 1,000 years before its fall to Napoleon in 1797. Carnegie Hall salutes La Serenissima’s dazzling artistic legacy...

Prof. Tavoni on Dante on November 13


​Friday November 13, 2015 10:30 AM in 501 Hamilton

Professor Mirko Tavoni (Università di Pisa) will speak on: "Dante 'Imagining' His Journey through the Afterlife."

Prof. Tavoni will begin with a presentation on the U. of Pisa Dante websites.


Italian Poetry Contest

Organized by The Department of Italian and The Italian Poetry Review (IPR). Eligibility: Undergraduate students currently enrolled in an Italian class. Guidelines: Each participant must write a poem in Italian of at least twelve lines, without any restrictions in meter, theme, and style. Deadline: Whoever is interested in participating in he contest must inform his/her instructor and hand in his/her poem by April 22nd.  Prize: A prize will be given to the winner of first, second, and third...

John Nelson

We are saddened to report that long-time faculty member, John Nelson, passed away on December 23, 2014.  He was born in Rome on October 9, 1925 and died in Naples, Florida, where he spent his last year of life.  Prof. Nelson served on the faculty from 1962 - 1989 as a Renaissance specialist in the Italian Department
of Columbia University. Besides literature and philosophy, his passion was tennis, a sport he played successfully all his life with his beloved Bruna, to whom he was married...

Luciano Rebay

We are saddened to report that Professor Emeritus Luciano Rebay, a long-time faculty member in our
department, died Monday at Martha's Vineyard at the age of 86. Further information can be found in the following article:

Spring 2014 Departmental party

The Italian Department celebrated the end of another academic year at its party on May 6, 2014.

Among the events at this year's party were:

a novel reading of sestinas; the announcement of the winners of the Poetry Contest along with the recitation of the winning poems; and the induction of eight members into the National Italian Honor Society, Gamma Kappa Alpha.