The Center for Italian Studies is thrilled to share the exciting news that the University of Notre Dame conferred an honorary degree upon the esteemed actor, comedian, poet, and filmmaker. A recipient of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic, Italy’s highest-ranking honor, Benigni is internationally known for his film Life is Beautiful, for which he received Academy Awards for Best Actor and Best Foreign Film. In addition to his cinematic achievements, Benigni has contributed significantly to cultural initiatives, such as the TV programs on "The Ten Commandments" and "The Most Beautiful in the World," dedicated to the Italian Constitution.
Benigni is also well known for his public performances of Dante's Divine Comedy, starting with his show Tutto Dante in 2006. This one-man-show, blending Dante's masterwork with contemporary Italian politics, not only became a hit in Italy but also internationally, including the United States. With his show, Benigni single handedly revived the tradition of public recitations of the Commedia, which, since the Middle Ages, has been a vital source of inspiration for the visual and performing arts. We are proud to recognize Benigni’s achievements with the honorary degree that was conferred at the University of Notre Dame’s Rome Global Gateway.
The news received coverage from major Italian media outlets as well. A list is available here.
Originally published by italianstudies.nd.edu on January 11, 2024.at