Luigi Pietrobono, custode dell’Arcadia, a cinquant’anni dalla morte

Daniele Metelli

This short essay offers a journey through the main events in the life of the priest Luigi Pietrobono. To start with, his university studies at La Sapienza in Rome,during which he refined his passion for Dante Alighieri, on whom he would become one of the most celebrated commentators in the first half of the twentieth century. Then, his decades of activity as an instructor at the Collegio Nazareno, where he held various posts, including that of president for nearly thirty years. It was there that he had the fortune to meet and form a friendship with Giovanni Pascoli and became one of the poet’s most fervent supporters in the cultural debate of the time. The greater part of the essay deals with Pietrobono’s activity as a scholar and member of the Academy of Arcadia, of which he became General Custodian in 1940 and into which he poured his energy until 1953, on the cusp of ninety years of age. With him, Arcadia enjoyed a flourishing period characterised by meetings, lecture series and events. He invited Benedetto Croce to speak, at a time when he was banned from all other academies in Italy. He finally found a definitive seat at the Academy in the Biblioteca Angelica in Piazza Sant’Agostino in Rome. Ultimately, a small contribution to remember the man Pietrobono on the fifty-year anniversary of his death, with the goal of shedding a little light on a representative, otherwise little known, of the cultural history of Italy.