Pietro Frassica awarded Targa Antonello by Antonello da Messina Cultural Association

May 29, 2024

by Luke Soucy

The Department of French and Italian is delighted to congratulate Prof. Pietro Frassica, who was surprised at a conference last month with the Targa Antonello (Antonello Plaque), a lifetime achievement award from the Antonello da Messina Cultural Association.

"It was such a surprise!" said Frassica, who had traveled to Messina for a conference on cinema and Pirandello. "At one point they stopped the conference and they came up with this award and this interesting speech about my life and my career and everything... and I was still thinking, 'What are they talking about?' And then finally I realized it was about me!"

The Targa Antonello is one of the principal awards given by the Cultural Association, which has operated in Rome and Messina since 1972. Named in honor of the association's namesake, 15th century painter Antonello da Messina, the prize recognizes scholars whose body of work has achieved eminence in the academic world. Along with the plaque itself, Frassica was gifted a reproduction of Antonello's famous "Portrait of a Man."

"The only thing I could say was to thank the committee, and also thank all the teachers and scholars I had in my life who taught me," said Frassica. "I'm still very grateful to them, for what they gave me as a student. I think we all should thank the people who really helped us to learn, to develop an interest, and to become a model and an inspiration for our career."

For Frassica, who studies a variety of Italian cultural topics from Renaissance literature to modern theater and gastronomy, the prize rewards a lifetime of enjoyment teaching at Princeton. 

"I love this so much!" he said. "Next year will be fifty years in Princeton—and I have to confess I have the same enthusiasm I had the very first day I started teaching."