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Italian Ambassador Confers with Faculty and Administrators at UCLAAmbassador Sergio Vento (left) with UCLA Vice Chancellor for Research Roberto Peccei

Italian Ambassador Confers with Faculty and Administrators at UCLA

Sergio Vento, Italy's top diplomat in the U.S., meets Vice Chancellor for Research, views rare Renaissance books.

By Gohar Grigorian

Sergio Vento, Italy's ambassador to the United States and formerly his country's permanent representative to the United Nations, paid a visit to UCLA March 15. His first appointment was with with Roberto Peccei, the university's vice chancellor for research. Happily, they were able to conduct their discussion of mutual research opportunities in Italian. Ambassador Vento was accompanied by Diego Brasioli, Consul General of Italy in Los Angeles.

While on the campus Sergio Vento met with several Italian faculty members, including Dr. Massimo Ciavolella, chair of the Department of Italian; professors  Mario Gerla and Stefano Soatto of the Computer Science Department; and Professor Claudio Pellegrini, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

The ambassador was given a demonstration of the Visualization Portal in the Math Sciences building. This is an immersive virtual reality display. The system uses three 3-gun projectors to display images on a floor-to-ceiling spherical screen. Ambassador Vento was shown a  virtual reality projection of the coliseum of Rome and the Roman Forum.

Ambassador Vento also visited the Young Research Library, where Victoria Steele, the head of the Department of Special Collections, showed him a current display from the Ahmanson-Murphy Aldine Collection. Aldus Manuzio was one of the most influential book printers of his day and published a series of much sought after beautifully illustrated works between 1495 and 1515, making a major contribution to the Italian Renaissance. His heirs continued this tradition with the Aldine Press, 1515 to 1598. Victoria Steel says of the Aldine books at UCLA:

"The collection of the publications of Aldo Manuzio, his family, and imitators was begun in 1961 during the tenure of Chancellor Franklin D. Murphy. It has become the foremost Aldine collection in North America. The UCLA collection contains more than 750 items. . . .  The Department has nearly 80 percent of the books printed by the elder Aldo. In May 2001 the University of California Press published The Aldine Press Catalogue of the Ahmanson-Murphy collection of books by or relating to the press in the Library of the University of California, Los Angeles, incorporating works recorded elsewhere."

UCLA International Institute