Life-Long Learning at Bagni di Lucca

The University of the Third Age, or Unitre as it is known in Italy, is an international concept whose driving message is that learning is lifelong. In other words one does not stop researching and learning just because one reaches a certain age. Although the students coming to the Bagni di Lucca branch of Unitre tend to be mainly those of retirement age, younger students are certainly not excluded from their activities.


The mission statement of Unitre is as follows:

“Modern society tends to marginalize people who retire from work, whatever their age.  After enjoying a short-lived euphoria in having achieved the ability to enjoy as much free time as they want, very often people becomes traumatised by the shock of retirement, bringing on the “empty nest syndrome “, anxiety, depression and isolation through the lack of any future projects.”

In order to prevent these negative feelings as much as possible, break down communication barriers between generations and promote cultural and social factors, the first Italian University of the Third Age was born in Turin in 1975.

Unitre here is based on the model of the Universities of the Middle Ages where wandering scholars were working as volunteers because they considered that spreading knowledge and culture was an important duty.

In fact, Unitre lecturers do not get paid at all, apart from the satisfaction obtained from sharing their knowledge with their students and a free and very convivial lunch at the end of the academic year.


BDL’s branch of the Unitre has been functioning for thirteen years now and its programme is very inclusive indeed.  Here are the topics from the year 2014 to 2015. As you will see all the lectures are in Italian so they will be very useful for those local first language English speakers to improve their knowledge of the Italian.


6 novembre 2014

Massimo Betti

Combattere l’invecchiamento: l’elisir di lunga vita 3.


13 novembre 2014

Federico Bini

La figura di Alcide De Gaspari.


20 novembre 2014

Vincenzo Moneta

Berta di Toscana.


27 novembre 2014

David Barsi

La chimica quotidiana.

Pranzo  di Natale Sabato 20  dicembre  2014



 8 gennaio 2015

Virgilio Contrucci

Gli antichi giochi al Casino delle Terme dal Medioevo all’Ottocento


15 gennaio 2015

Natalia Sereni

La prima guerra mondiale: l’entrata in guerra dell’Italia e la guerra di posizione.


22 gennaio 2015

Bruno Micheletti

1631: la peste nei paesi della Val di Lima


29 gennaio 2015

Franca Pierotti

Canta che ti passa!


5 febbraio 2015

Luciano Tarabella

Poesie in vernacolo livornese


12 febbraio 2015

Emilia Giorgetti

Mio zio Brunero Paoli


19 febbraio 2015

Peter Ferrari Demski

9 novembre 1989: la caduta del Muro di Berlino


 26 febbraio 2015

Angela Amadei

Feste e ricevimenti a Bagni di Lucca nel ‘700.


 5 marzo 2015

Marcella Matelli

Maria Montessori: la signora delle mille lire.


12 marzo 2015

Francis Pettitt

Thomas Linley: un musicista inglese del ‘700 in Toscana.


19 marzo 2015

Fabio Lucchesi

Letture antologiche


26 marzo 2015

Vito Valentino

Il malessere come conseguenza di un difetto di comunicazione


9 aprile 2015

Lisa Domenici

L’Oriente nelle opere di Puccini


16 aprile 2015

Gemma Fazzi

Il ruolo del volontariato in una società che cerca di ricostruirsi


 23 aprile 2015

Nicola Simoncini, Emilia Giorgetti

“Riflessi condizionati”


30 aprile 2015

Don Emanuele Rosi

La concezione cristiana della famiglia: il sinodo straordinario di Papa Francesco


7 maggio 2015

Fabrizio Nicoli

Inquisizione e processi alle streghe nel Basso Medioevo


14 maggio 2015

Mario Lena

Chiusura del corso

Pranzo  di fine anno Sabato  23 maggio  2015

Tutte le lezioni si svolgeranno presso il Circolo dei Forestieri alle ore 16:00 


Direttrice dei corsi


Valeria Catelli


(Provincia di Lucca)


Looking through the lectures I’ve given I realise that I started out six years ago as a volunteer teacher for  BDL’s Unitre.

These are the titles of the talks I’ve given. These are the English titles. All lectures were delivered in Italian.

2008 The English Landscape Garden

2009 Shelley’s favourite spots around Bagni di Lucca

2010 E. M. Forster: India and Italy

2011 The Palladian Villa in England

2012 Francesco Gemignani: an Italian musician in England

2013 Verdi and England

As one can see the uniting thread in my talks is the relationship between England and Italy through cross-cultural influences in art, architecture, literature and music. Each of my talks has been illustrated both with computer slides and sounds and I have always produced a summary sheet with the most important points of the lecture printed on it.

I remain most grateful to Fabio Lucchesi of the Bagni di Lucca branch of Unitre for teaching me many new things as a lecture through his kind invitation to me to participate. This may sound a paradox but for me the best way to learn about a topic is to produce a talk on it.

Some of my talks have been published in magazines. For example, the talks on Geminiani and Verdi appeared in Lucca’s monthly musica magazine, LuccaMusica.

I look forwards to many more English people in the area with some knowledge of Italian to attending the lectures which I have always found stimulating and interesting.


2 thoughts on “Life-Long Learning at Bagni di Lucca

  1. Pingback: Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Great War from an Italian Perspective | From London to Longoio (and Lucca and Beyond) Part Two

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