Siena, the City of Networking

The cradle of the first Academy: social media "avant la lettre"

Piazza del CampoYouth Committee of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO

The rise of the modern Italian academies

Traditionally, Siena has been an open-minded society—which you can say by just looking at its motto, “Libertas”. This city was the cradle of the first modern Italian Academy.

The first alternative cultural circuit

The “Accademia degli Intronati” [Academy of the Dazed], created between 1525 and 1527, whose members shared the desire to withdraw from the loud, noisy everyday life to dedicate themselves to research and theatre.
Born to offer a place to research on disciplines that universities abstained from debating, Academies represent the first alternative circuit in the European culture.
They shaped the Italian national identity and contributed to create the European identity too.

A social and intellectual movement

The Academies’ network was, in many respects, a social and intellectual movement. The elements which contributed in making it an ahead-of-time phenomenon were:
- the informal groupings (accounting for the freedom of expression)
- the urban setting (making it simple for people sharing the same interests to get together)
- the communication technologies (printing press, letter writings, travel)

Academies: a center for scholars

Academies were not just about humanities: on the contrary, the same academy could be a harbour for natural sciences, astronomy and medicine’s scholars and enthusiasts.
Here you can see for example another Academy in Siena: The Museum of Natural History of the Academy of Sciences of Siena called Accademia dei Fisiocritici took origin in the founding (1691).

Palazzo Chigi-SaraciniYouth Committee of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO

The Accademia Musicale Chigiana

Accademia Musicale Chigiana, founded by Count Guido Chigi Saracini in 1932 as an international centre for advanced musical studies. The Academy occupies the 14th-century Palazzo Chigi-Saracini and contains an important library of musical and literary works of over 70,000 volumes as well as The Chigi Saracini Art Collection and The Musical Instrument Museum.

Grand Tour of Italy - The Academy of the Dazed: A Social Network in 1525Youth Committee of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO

A nickname to guarantee freedom

To communicate among them, academics would often use invented names—an early form of nicknames which at a certain point would become their ‘official’ identity in the academic circles. Under these identities they would take a certain stance or another, or even intervene in debates opposing fellow researchers.

Accademia degli Intronati - Archintronato Roberto BarzantiYouth Committee of the Italian National Commission for UNESCO

Peer to peer debates

Academies are to be intended as a social network joined by professionals and enthusiasts of humanities and scientific disciplines, a place where to find "colleagues" and increase one's opportunities to compare opinions and find entertainment.

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