Born in Bozzolo, in the Northern Italian Province of Mantova, Stefano graduated in History from the Università di Parma. He completed his studies at the University of Virginia and at Stanford, where he got his Ph.D. with a thesis on the rhetoric of violence in Niccolò Machiavelli. He arrived in NY in 1994 to teach Italian language and literature at NYU. In 1998 he became Director of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò.
I am the Director of Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimò, the Italian cultural center at New York University. I conceive and implement the calendar of events (more than 120 per academic year) that include art exhibits, film screenings, lectures, theatrical performances, concerts and much more. I also teach literature and cinema for the Department of Italian Studies. In the Summer I direct the Summer program of NYU in Florence. I think I have the greatest job(s) on earth. For fun I ride my bike along the Hudson, go to the opera and also see all kind of movies. I love cooking for my friends.
When I left Italy in 1990, I went to Virginia to improve my English (I thought I’d stay in the US for 3 months and that was 25 years ago). I came to NYC 4 years after because I got my first job here.
Riding a freight elevator to an after party in a dismissed storehouse in the meatpacking district with my companion Julio Anguita and flamenco legend Joaquín Cortés, after he just performed at City Center.
The location, of course, is Casa Italiana. This is where I spend most of my time, where I meet people, where my friends and my students come to see me when they stop by for an espresso. It is also the place that people identify me with. It’s not uncommon for me to hear “I know you… I’ve seen you. You are… at Casa Italiana!”. I normally wear jacket and tie to work, normally all that I wear is designed and made in Italy.
I witnessed the development of ITALIANY from its very early stages and I encouraged Alexo to pursue it giving him an exhibit (and a deadline) at the Casa. I like that it brings together famous and unknown people. Personally I love finding out about the unknown ones. There are scores of Italians doing amazing things here (especially in medicine and the sciences and we know almost nothing about them).
It’s an easy job. There is a great interest for Italy and all things Italian in NY and the US. But is also a great responsibility: I want to present an accurate and objective picture especially of contemporary Italy and that is not always easy.