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Italy-city: An Encounter in New York

Letizia Airos (November 11, 2008)
The English translation of Italici is the fruit of a fortunate encounter between the Italian/American Digital Project and that side of Piero Bassetti’s multifaceted personality that led to the foundation of “Globus et Locus” 10 years ago...


The English translation of Italici is the fruit of a fortunate encounter between the Italian/American Digital Project and that side of Piero Bassetti’s multifaceted personality that led to the foundation of “Globus et Locus” 10 years ago.



A few months ago Bassetti–a renowned entrepreneur, politician, and a public intellectual–invited us to the headquarters of Globus et Locus in Milan, after discovering i-Italy.org on the Web. There, we had a rich exchange of opinions on what turned out to be a mission we deeply share: the creation of a virtual network for “Italic encounters.”


He told us that he had been waiting for years to assist in the spontaneous creation “from the bottom” of the first nodes of that network, and singled out i-Italy.org as one of them. We were flattered by his appreciation: we were aware that Piero Bassetti had been working for years on the theme of Italicity. We also knew that he approaches it in a provocative way—outside of the classical schemes, relieved from the inflated registers sometimes utilized in institutional discourse, and also from the most common stereotypes.



As editors of i-Italy, we are aware that the creation of an authoritative point of encounter, information and communication on the Web for the Italic community is not only possible, but it is a strongly-felt necessity. Together with our bloggers, readers, and on-line community members we have been working at this for over a year in order to lay the first bricks of the kind of Italy-city this book proposes. This is why, brief but incisive as it is, this book immediately caught our attention.



True, when we offered to explore the possibility to publish it in English, we already knew we had a good chance: we were certain that the most authoritative member and co-founder of the Italian/American Digital Project, Anthony Julian Tamburri, Dean of CUNY’s John D. Calandra Italian American Institute and codirector of the Bordighera Press with Fred Gardaphe and Paolo Giordano, would have been enthusiastic about it. The Italian/ American cultural community, which has provided inspiration and support to many of our initiatives, seemed the perfect environment to start this dialogue.



We turned out to be right, and thus the book you hold in your hands now is the product of just two months of intense collaboration with Piero Bassetti–via the Internet, of course. We invite the English native reader—who will find him/herself to be an “Italic” right from the very first pages—to approach this book not as a plea for the revival of some sort of exclusive sense of ethnic belonging, but rather as a sort of textbook for the cosmopolitan Italic citizen of the Third Millennium, one who feels his to be part of a constantly growing network of multiple, intertwined, g-local identities.

From the "Preface" to Italici. An Encounter with Piero Bassetti, by Paolino Accolla & Niccolò d'Aquino (Bordighera Press, 2008).

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