RIT’s ‘Viva l’Italia!’ Series Celebrates 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification

Presenters include philosopher Ugo Perone and filmmaker Mimmo Calopresti

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Rochester Institute of Technology will celebrate the cultural, artistic and historical significance of Italy through the Viva l’Italia! lecture and performance series. The series runs from March to May and commemorates the 150th anniversary of Italy’s unification as a single country on March 17, 1861.

“Italian unification was an important event that recognized at the geo-political level a cultural identity, the origins of which go back to the 13th century, with Dante,” notes Silvia Benso, RIT professor of philosophy and co-director of the series. “The Italian unification is a peculiar phenomenon—Italy was united culturally and linguistically before it was unified politically or economically.

“Maybe here is an interesting model for our globalized world, which is both divided and unified at the same time,” Benso continues. “Viva l’Italia! seeks to celebrate Italian culture and provide a greater understanding of its relevance for modern society.”

Benso is coordinating the series with Michael Ruhling, associate professor of music and conductor of the RIT Orchestra, and Elisabetta D’Amanda, Italian language coordinator in the Department of Modern Languages and Culture.

All events associated with Viva l’Italia! are free and open to the public. Highlights of the series include:

Special courses on Italian philosophy, architecture and music offered spring quarter at RIT including: Art and Architecture in Central Italy: 1250-1400; Italian Opera History; and Contemporary Italian Philosophy.

A screening of the award-winning Italian drama I Prefer the Sound of the Sea, followed by a discussion with director Mimmo Calopresti at 10 a.m. April 18 in Webb Auditorium.

Five Centuries of Italian Music, presented by the RIT Orchestra at 3 p.m. April 30 in Ingle Auditorium.

The public lecture “Ethics, Norms, Exceptions” by noted philosopher Ugo Perone, professor of humanities at Italy’s Universit del Piemonte Orientale, at 4 p.m. May 5 in Carlson Auditorium.

For more information about the series or to register for specific events, go to rit.edu/vivaitalia or contact Benso at silvia.benso@rit.edu.