Department of European Languages and Cultures

Stars of Italy shine in Edinburgh

Two Professors in Italian, Federica Pedriali and Davide Messina, have been made Cavalieri dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia at ceremonies marking the Festa della Repubblica.

Two colleagues have received honours from the President of the Republic of Italy for their work on promoting Italian language and culture, including through their teaching, research and collaborations.

Photo of Federica Pedriali receiving the Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia
Federica Pedriali, Professor of Literary Metatheory and Modern Italian Studies, receiving the Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia from H.E. Inigo Lambertini, Ambassador of Italy to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in London (June 2024)

At official ceremonies in London and Edinburgh, Professors Federica Pedriali and Davide Messina have both been awarded the title of Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia (Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy).

Founded in 2011, the Order celebrates the preservation and promotion of Italian culture abroad, with a particularly focus on friendly relations and co-operation with other countries.

The honours investitures, which Federica described as “quite gorgeous, humbling, and very emotional”, were held in early June to mark the Festa della Repubblica.

Italian at Edinburgh

Italian has been formally studied at the University of Edinburgh since the 18th century. The University’s first lectureship in Italian was established immediately after the Great War in 1919, with John Purves taking up post in May 1920.

Photo of Davide Messina receiving the Cavaliere dell'Ordine della Stella d'Italia
Davide Messina, Personal Chair in Italian and Comparative Studies, with Veronica Ferrucci (centre), Consul General of Italy for Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Chiara Avanzato (left), Directrix of the Italian Institute of Culture, in Edinburgh (June 2024)

Today, the University of Edinburgh hosts the largest community of students of Italian in Scotland and one of the largest in the UK. Davide and Federica are the two Professors on a dedicated team of staff that includes the only academic post (a Language Assistant) sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Scotland.

In addition to their extensive research, both Federica and Davide teach courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level, including as part of our interdisciplinary taught masters programmes in Intermediality and Comparative Literature. They also supervise doctoral research in Italian Studies.

From 2023 to 2025, Federica is chairing Europe and the World, one of the six thematic Focus Areas of Una Europa – an alliance of 11 leading European research universities, including the University of Edinburgh. This work reflects rising tensions around the globe, a pressing need for renewed cooperation with state and non-state actors, and the demand for a comparative perspective.

Are you interested in studying with us?

Whether you're a complete beginner or have studied the language before, you can take Italian as a single honours programme, or jointly with one of several other European languages or humanities subjects. We also teach Italian at postgraduate level, including courses on the interdisciplinary masters programmes Comparative Literature and Intermediality. 

Find out more about Italian at Edinburgh