(Re)discovering "good manners"


Institutional Communication Service

26 November 2018

"Costumi soavi, dolci maniere". Galatei e manuali d’etichetta nel Ticino dell’Ottocento. (‘Suave suits, gentle manners’. Etiquettes and etiquette handbooks in 19th century Ticino) is the title of the exhibition that is now open at the Cantonal Library of Lugano. Jointly organized by the Library and the USI Institute of Italian Studies, with the support of the Pica Alfieri Foundation, it proposes a journey through an important aspect of social and cultural history.

The exhibit was inaugurated on November 20 and is curated by Annick Paternoster, lecturer at the USI Institute of Italian Studies (ISI), Francesca Saltamacchia, a Master in Lingua, letteratura e civiltà italiana (MLLCI) graduate and now doctoral student at ISI, and Luca Saltini, researcher at the Cantonal Library of Lugano.

The curators have created a journey through the history of Il Galateo: The Rules of Polite Behavior (Giovanni Della Casa, Venice 1558), focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, an epochal point in time in which the values of the bourgeoisie took over those of the aristocracy. The exhibit displays the first editions of the Galateo, its subsequent editions and those of particularly successful authors, such as Melchiorre Gioia and Francesco Soave, as well as paintings, vintage prints, precious objects, posters from the Cantonal Library of Lugano and from various other institutes and private collections that narrate a pleasant story of an era.

The exhibit at the Cantonal Library, with a dedicated publication, will remain open to the public until January 12, 2019, and is part of a research project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The subject of etiquette and related handbooks is also available in the anthology Le leggi della cortesia. Galateo ed etichetta di fine Ottocento (Interlinea, 2018), authored by Annick Paternoster and Francesca Saltamacchia.

Further details available at the Italian version of this page.