Vito Volterra. The courage of science

Cnr recalls the figure and work of its first president through the exhibition 'Vito Volterra. The courage of science '.

Vito Volterra (Ancona, 1860 - Rome, 1940): scientist, senator, founder of Cnr and of the Italian Society for the Progress of Sciences (Sips), president of Accademia dei Lincei. Mathematician, pioneer of functional analysis and biomathematics, he combined scientific authority with strategic vision, pursuing the goal of a society based on a strong relationship between universities, public research, politics, and industry. He was convinced of the unique role of culture as a driving force for development and involved new fields of study, in a broad and international vision. His civil courage was also remarkable.

The exhibition, designed and organized by Cnr Press Office, recalls the main steps of the scientist's life through documents, images, objects, and videos. From his early years (he became professor at the University of Pisa at 23 years old) to his scientific legacy, from his stature as an international scientist to his transfer to Rome, from private moments such as his marriage with Virginia Almagià and stays in the small villa of Ariccia to the positions obtained in the most prestigious Italian and world institutions. From his commitment as a volunteer in the Great War, to the birth of the National Research Council in 1923, up to the period of Fascism: Volterra signed the Manifesto of anti-fascist intellectuals and refused to take the oath of loyalty imposed by the regime on university professors, undergoing the expulsion from all public offices. His living conditions worsened with the enactment of the racial laws in 1938.


The exhibition 'Vito Volterra. The courage of science” was presented:

  •  in Trieste, at the 'Carducci-Dante' Institute, from 21 May to 5 June 2019
  • in Pisa at Cnr Research Area, from 19 April to 30 September 2018
  • in Senigallia, at the Liceo Scientifico 'E. Medi ', from 4 to 18 April 2019
  • in Ciampino at the Liceo Scientifico 'Vito Volterra', from 12 December 2018 to 7 January 2019. See also: 'The Cnr exhibition on Volterra arrives in Ciampino''
  • in Ancona, at the headquarters of the Monte Dago University campus (Aula Magna of the University, Via Brecce Bianche - Ancona) from 12 May 2017 to 30 September 2017, as part of the fourth edition of ''Your Future Festival';
  • in Rome, at the headquarters of the Jewish Museum (Via Catalana, Rome) from 12 September to 9 November 2016, as part of the ninth edition of the International Festival of Jewish literature and culture (Rome, 10-14 September 2016).

The exhibition is curates by Sandra Fiore and Maurizio Gentilini, with the coordination of Marco Ferrazzoli and the collaboration, among others, of the Accademia dei Lincei - where most of the documents come from - of Virginia and Enrico Volterra, Roberto Natalini director of the 'Institute for Computing Applications' M. Picone '(Iac) of the National Research Council, Giovanni Paoloni,' La Sapienza 'University, Alfea cinematographic, Ariela Piattelli and Raffaella Spizzichino - Golda International Events, Marco Panella - Artix.

    For information: Cnr Press office, tel 06 / 4993383-789, email:

    Last update: 17/07/2023