“The knower of secrets”: Exploring Elémire Zolla’s intellectual legacy

« Non nutre illusioni, non ha ombra di fede il puro conoscitore. Si limita a sapere o a non sapere o a sapere dubitando [...]. A ciò che sa lo conduce non un sentimento, ma una semplice valutazione. Conosce perché verifica. »

(Elémire Zolla, Le tre vie, in: Opere di Elémire Zolla, Marsilio, Venezia, 2019, a cura di Grazia Marchianò)

Elémire Zolla, a cult author of the second half of the twentieth century, known for his works of social criticism, history of ideas, and cultural anthropology, that extend from the ancient and the modern West to the indigenous worlds and Asian paths of knowledge, has traced in his writings a path of awareness and awakening to the elevation of the human condition in the indecipherable time of transit on the planet that has welcomed life.

I am most grateful to Professor Luigi Miraglia — president of the Accademia Vivarium novum, recipient of Zolla’s 9000-volume library, of the complete collection of the magazine Conoscenza religiosa, founded and directed by Elémire Zolla (La nuova Italia, Florence, 1969-1983), and of the totality of Zolla’s private archive — for his foresight in providing the researchers of a new generation with the opportunity of a fecund fruition of the writer's multifaceted intellectual legacy. I am also grateful to Professor Adriano V. Rossi, President of ISMEO – International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies, scientific partner of the Academy, for having generously participated in the project of this international conference on the twentieth anniversary of Elémire Zolla's death.

Grazia Marchianò

How to participate

In person: reservation required by writing to convegni@vivariumnovum.net. Partner hotels: Hotel Cacciani and Locanda dei Ciocca.

Virtually: it will be possible to register on the Zoom platform to follow the conference remotely, through the following link: register. The credentials received will be valid for all three days of the conference.


Friday 27 May

  • 15.00 - Entrance and reception
  • 15.15 - Institutional greetings
  • 15.45 - Inauguration of the Zolla Library · Exhibition of the Works of Elémire Zolla (2012-2022) edited by Grazia Marchianò (Marsilio, Venezia)
  • 16.45 - Massimo Cacciari, philosopher: Humanism and icon
  • 17.30 - Break
  • 18.00 - Screening of the documentary “Elémire Zolla. his life and destiny” (directed by Alessandro Tinelli)
  • 19.00 - Hervé A. Cavallera (University of Salento): Transfiguration of the ego in the thought of Elémire Zolla
  • 19.40 - Giovanni Santambrogio (University of Milan “La Statale”): Zolla's presence in the culture of the second half of the 20th century
  • 20.30 - Harp concert by Joost Willemze
  • 21.15 - Dinner

Saturday 28 May

  • 9.00 - Entrance and reception
  • 9.30 - Michael Zammit (University of Malta): Archetypes and poetry. Silence is the matrix
  • 10.10 - Paolo Zellini (University of Rome "Tor Vergata"): Mathematics and Wisdom
  • 10.40 - Olimpia Niglio (University of Pavia and Hosei University of Tokyo): The seminal contribution of the Zollian legacy to the construction of a planetary humanism
  • 11.10 - Break
  • 11.40 - Grazia Marchianò (Fondo Scritti Elémire Zolla and University of Siena - Arezzo): Complementarity and completeness in Elémire Zolla's polymathic thinking
  • 12.10 - Sebastian Schwibach, (University of Rome LUMSA): Elémire Zolla: the awakening of the intellect of love. Paths of a transformative knowledge
  • 13.00 - Lunch
  • 15.30 - Emanuele Trevi, writer (Premio Strega 2021): In order to transcend the world, it is necessary for the world to be there...": Zolla's idea of the human being
  • 16.10 - Silvia Ronchey (University of Rome “La Sapienza”): Zolla's excavation in The sunken cathedral
  • 16.40 - Massimo Leone (University of Turin, University of Shanghai, University of Cambridge, "Bruno Kessler" Foundation, Trento): The unlimited mirror: on mysticism and face
  • 17.15 - Break and visit to the gardens of Villa Falconieri
  • 18.30 - Concert by the Tyrtarion choir of the Accademia Vivarium novum
  • 19.15 - Scenic reading of passages from Zolla’s works selected by Grazia Marchianò (narrator: Alberto Astorri)
  • 20.30 - Dinner

Sunday 29 May

  • 10.00 - Entrance and reception
  • 10.15 - Round table discussion: The prospects of the International campus for humanities. Moderators: Luigi Miraglia (Accademia Vivarium novum) and Adriano Rossi (ISMEO-International Association for Mediterranean and Oriental Studies)
    Participants: Giorgio Amitrano (University of Naples "L'Orientale") · Ignacio Armella Chavez (Accademia Vivarium novum) · Francesca Di Giacomo (Marsilio Editore) · Laura Giuliano (MuCiv - Museum of Civilizations of Rome) · Antonio Gnoli (writer) · Eleonora La Vella, germanist (Pescara) · Grazia Marchianò (Fondo Scritti Elémire Zolla and University of Siena - Arezzo) · Vincenzina Mazzarino, sanskritist (Lyceum Plauto, Roma) · Giulia Mochi (Accademia Vivarium novum) · Olimpia Niglio (University of Pavia and Hosei University in Tokyo) · Tiziana Provvidera (University College London and Accademia Vivarium novum)
  • 12.00 - Concert of traditional Indian music
  • 13.00 - Closing remarks
  • 13.30 - Lunch

The program may be subject to change.


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