Italian language, literature, and culture is the heart of the cultural and spiritual heritage of Western civilization. As the hub of the Roman empire, Italy transmitted the world of ancient Roman and Greek classical culture and language to the modern age. As the epicenter of Christianity, Italy transfigured the classical legacy to create the fabric of Christian culture and spirituality. As the wellspring of the European Renaissance, Italy reinvented the vast patrimony of classical Christian culture to create the modern humanistic civilization of the West. To this day, much of the cultural vocabulary of Western civilization has its roots in Italy. To enter into Italian culture is to understand who we are and how we got here.
In each of the fields of human action -from literature, art, music, architecture, theatre, and film, to science, religion, philosophy, business, and politics- Italy has produced many of the greatest geniuses in history. Today, Italy is both one of the most culturally vibrant nations of Europe (Italian writers have won six Nobel prizes in the last century), and one of the most prosperous, industrialized, and technologically-advanced nations in the world.
Italian Studies is an area of exceptional and growing strength at the University of Notre Dame. First taught at the University of Notre Dame in 1847, and re-established in 1947 by Paul Bosco (Ph.D., Harvard, 1942), who taught at Notre Dame for fifty years with his Bolognese wife, Vittoria (Magistero, University of Florence, 1954), Italian has grown to a teaching staff of twenty and almost 400 students per semester: it is now the second-most-studied language at Notre Dame. Great resources, outstanding faculty, and ground breaking institutional initiatives create unparalleled opportunities for both graduate and undergraduate study.
Notre Dame’s Dept. of Romance Language and Literature is fortunate in having acquired Dr. Lorenzo Valterza (two years ago the much-lauded visiting professor at OSU). Dr. Valterza specializes in Italian Medieval literature. His research focuses on Dante, jurisprudence (medieval and modern), and philosophical hermeneutics. At Notre Dame he is doing research on casuistry and moral reasoning as he completes his book on ethics and interpretation in medieval Italy. OSU’s loss is ND’s gain.