Accademia d’Italia


Accademia d’Italia
(Italian Academy)
   The Fascist regime’s aspirations to renew Italy’s status in literature and learning found expression in 1926 with the foundation of the Accademia D’Italia. The academy consisted of 60 eminent thinkers, divided into four dis tinct categories: the moral and historical sciences; literature; the physical, natural, and mathematical sciences; and the arts. The first 30 members were named in a royal decree, while the remainder were chosen by Mussolini himself from a list of names proposed by the academicians. From 1929 to 1944, the academy was housed in La Farnesina, the 15th-century palace in Rome that today houses Italy’s foreign ministry. In 1939, the number of members was expanded to 80. These salaried academicians meant that Italy, no less than France, would have its guardians of the nation’s intellectual and artistic life. The academy’s mission officially was to “coordinate the intellectual movement in Italy,” but it had little success in this regard. From the historian’s point of view, it is interesting to note just how many leading Italian intellectuals were willing to lend their names to an institution that had an obvious propaganda purpose. Its president between 1930 and 1937 was Guglielmo Marconi, the inventor of the wireless; Gabriele D’Annunzio succeeded him. Other intellectuals who either heard the siren call of fascist ideology or were seduced by the extremely generous stipends offered by the institution included the physicist Enrico Fermi, the dramatist Luigi Pirandello, the poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, and the philosopher Giovanni Gentile, who became president of the institution in 1944 and transferred its seat to Florence.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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