Sunday 1 February 2009
The Galileiana Academy of Arts and Science, formerly Patavina Academy, heir of the ancient Accademia dei Ricovrati, which was founded on the 25th of November 1599, has its seat in the beautiful rooms of the Carraresi Palace, built in the 14th century, and more precisely in what remains of the vast and mighty set of buildings, which constituted the residence of the Princes of Carrara and of their families. The distinguished ‘Ricovrati’ (which literally means ‘Sheltered’, as a shelter is the symbol of the Academy) were professors in the Studium of Padua, the ancient university, and important cultural personalities. They met for the first time in 1599, thanks to the enterprise of a young Venetian patrician, Federico Cornaro, who later was to become cardinal and bishop of Padua (among the first members it is worth remembering Galileo Galilei). They obtained a permission to use the rooms of the Reggia dei Carraresi for their meetings since 1721. Earlier than that date they used to meet in the ‘Sala degli Uomini Illustri’ (Hall of the Notable Men) and in the private homes of the Presidents of the Academy.
The Accademia dei Ricovrati changed its name to Accademia di Lettere Scienze ed Arti in Padova in 1779, which later became Accademia Patavina, and from 1998 Accademia Galileiana. This prestigious Academy is still working in order to be a cultural centre for the city, programming monthly meetings in the beautiful rooms decorated with some frescoes by Guariento di Arpo.
The life of the Academy is regulated by a strict charter, approved by a Presidential decree, and its activity has been approved by the Ministry of Culture. As a rule, distinguished people are elected members, either effective (who must be at most 80) or correspondent (who must be less than 100), national or foreign ( 20 foreign members can be elected as correspondent members).
The members are divided into a class for mathematical and natural sciences and into a class for moral and literary arts. The presidency is formed by a President, a Vice-president, a Secretary for each class, a Librarian, a Treasurer and an Administrator.
Usually the correspondent members who have achieved high cultural results and have actively collaborated in order to enhance the life of the Academy are elected effective members, while the correspondent members are elected by the regular members because of their scientific research inside universities or cultural institutions.
The activity of the Academy chiefly consists of reading and discussing several topics presented by the members, or by people working with the members. These extracts are called ‘Memorie’ (memories), and they must be original and previously unpublished. They are annually published in two volumes, one for each class, which are given national and worldwide distribution to other Academies, Libraries, Universities and Cultural Institutions. The Academy also promotes study congresses together with the University of Padua and other agencies, as for example the ‘Lectura Petrarce’ (Petrarch readings), an annual series of meeting developed with the Ente Nazionale Francesco Petrarca. Cultural authorities from all over the world are called to present a paper on issues related to the topic in question.