Monash University Publishing: Advancing knowledge

Australians in Italy

Contemporary Lives and Impressions

Edited by Bill Kent, Ros Pesman and Cynthia Troup


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Long before the advent of modern tourism, Australians have travelled to live in Italy, or have undertaken extensive visits there. Indeed they continue to do so in increasing numbers, as women and men find Italian partners; as business people with European interests settle there; as retirees in their thousands seek ‘the good life’ that Italy – in Ros Pesman’s words, this ‘culturally endowed place of rebirth’ – seems to promise.

While many are familiar with celebrated expatriates such as Germaine Greer, Jeffrey Smart, Peter Robb and David Malouf, hundreds of other artists, writers, musicians and intellectuals have made and continue to make a notable contribution to the cultural and intellectual life of both countries. Whilst Australian studies flourishes in Italian universities, Australian academics write distinguished accounts of Italian history covering various eras. Despite this sustained activity, the scholarly and cultural engagement of Australians with Italy is not a well known story.

This collection seeks to map the past and present of the Australian love affair with Italy, yielding rich insights into its causes, motivations and transformations. Contributors include former Australian Ambassador to Italy Rory Steele, poet Peter Porter, contemporary artists Euan Heng and Jo-Anne Duggan, as well as distinguished academics and young scholars. Amongst the diverse range of articles and vignettes, Ian Britain writes on Donald Friend’s Italian years, Loretta Baldassar explores the phenomenon of reverse migration, and novelist Lisa Clifford reflects on her family ties with Italy.

Australians in Italy
will appeal to scholars and students of migration and multi-culturalism, Australian Studies and Italian Studies, tourism and travel. It will also delight those interested in Italy and all  things Italian – people of Italo-Australian background, armchair and actual travellers, sojourners in Italy, and the general reader.

‘This book makes an important contribution to an emerging field of study: the Australian diaspora in Europe. ... As an Italophile ... this collection was a great pleasure to read.’

— Dr Catherine Kevin, Flinders University of South Australia

About the Editors

Bill Kent
passed away prior to the reissuing of Australians in Italy, but his contribution to the field of Rennaisance history is profound. He was an Australian Professorial Fellow in the School of Historical Studies at Monash University, and was founding director of the Monash University Centre in Prato. He was a widely published specialist in the cultural and social history of late medieval and Renaissance Italy, especially Florence, and was general editor of the critical edition of Lorenzo de’ Medici’s letters. In 2004 he published Lorenzo de’ Medici and the Art of Magnificence (Johns Hopkins University Press).
A new foundations has been established in his honour. Please visit the Bill Kent Foundation website to find out more.

Ros Pesman
is Professor Emeritus in the School of Philosophical and Historical Enquiry at the University of Sydney where she was formerly Challis Professor of History and Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. She is a former president of the Australian Historical Association and a former vice-president of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. Her many publications include From Paesani to Global Italians. Veneto Migration to Australia (with Loretta Baldassar, University of Western Australia Press, 2005), and The Oxford Book of Australian Travel Writing (edited with David Walker and Richard White, OUP, 1996).

Cynthia Troup
is a writer and academic editor; her publications include articles in Italian Studies and short fiction, as well as essays and interviews in the fields of contemporary art and music. A founding member of the arts company Aphids, Troup also writes for performance. She received an inaugural Australian Foundation for Studies in Italy award in 1995. She has taught in the School of Historical Studies and in the Faculty of Art and Design at Monash University, and at The University of Melbourne she works in Italian Studies.


Loretta Baldassar
Bruce Bennett
Judith Blackall
Ian Britain
Lisa Clifford
Mark Coleridge
Cathy Crupi
Jane Drakard
Jo-Anne Duggan
J. R. Green
Euan Heng
Peter Howard
Bill Kent
Alison Leitch
Aldo Lorigiola
Brian Matthews
Desmond O’Grady
Antonio Pagliaro
Luisa Panichi
Lorenzo Perrona
Ros Pesman
Peter Porter
Camilla Russell
Rory Steele
Cynthia Troup
Silvana Tuccio
Chris Wood

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