Ianieri Edizioni is a publishing house in Abruzzo founded in 2001 with the inauguration of a series entirely dedicated to Gabriele d’Annunzio related studies. This was a decision of fundamental importance for all d'Annunzio scholars and for all those readers wishing to delve deeper into the figure of the Italian Vate (poet laureate).
In more than twenty years of activity (during which numerous and heterogeneous series have been added), Ianieri has welcomed an impressive number of essays and correspondence dedicated to d'Annunzio, availing itself of numerous intellectuals specialised in the subject, among whom the writer (and Series Director) Franco Di Tizio stands out.
A physician by profession but, since time immemorial, devoted to letters, in recent years he has decided to publish (in addition to his numerous works on d'Annunzio research) two volumes that represent the summary of studies that have kept him busy throughout his life.
The first Studi e Ricerche su Gabriele d'Annunzio (Studies and Researches on Gabriele d’Annunzio, 2021) is a timely account of Di Tizio's literary activity expressly dedicated to the Vate. This is how late Professor Umberto Russo explained it in the introduction:
The documentation on the figure and work of Gabriele d'Annunzio carried out for many years by Franco Di Tizio are recalled here as the fruit of careful and conscious research that has always had as its main aim the exemplary study of a complex character, one might say multiform and therefore worthy of being studied, understood and interpreted in all aspects.
The author's industriousness has ensured that even certain little-known aspects of his artistic and human profile have been brought to light and studied, for an ever better understanding of one of the greatest protagonists of 20th century Italian history.
The second volume, on the other hand, is intended to be more wide-ranging, providing a complete overview of the investigations and reconstructions that have been carried out over the years with the flair of a true humanist investigator.
Di Tizio does not hide the hope that the countless clues uncovered over time and put down on paper can be considered as real pawns that contemporaries and posterity can (and will) shake loose for the purposes of further investigation.
The Francavilla al Mare-born scholar views culture with a modern and modernist spirit, a continuous stream of consciousness that gave rise to the volume: La mia attività letteraria - Confessioni e ricordi (My literary career – Confessions and Reminiscences, 2021). Accompanied, as is the author's custom, by a rich iconographic apparatus to immortalise the salient moments of an entire life.
In his introductory note, Di Tizio starts with a pivotal date: 1968, the year that gave birth to his first literary work, the small volume of poems Aliquando permutabo. Since then, he has printed around fifty books, written - as he himself admits - out of passion.
He has always been a lover of biographies and, since the 1970s, he began in-depth studies on the Cenacolo Michettiano, which was founded in 1880 in Francavilla. Many of Di Tizio's publications are dedicated to it, culminating with the 2021 volume: Gabriele d'Annunzio e gli amici del Cenacolo michetttino (Gabriele d’Annunzio and his friends from the Cenacolo Michettiano).
The Cenacolo was originally a Franciscan order monastery and passed to the painter Francesco Paolo Michetti in the 1880s, who transformed it into a cultural centre where men of letters and intellectuals could share their personal and artistic paths. Di Tizio emphasises the relationships that existed between the various prestigious figures who attended it in addition to d'Annunzio.
At the time, Michetti was already well-known and owned a studio on the coast. It was for this reason that the then mayor granted him an even more suitable location in which to work and create other types of educational and craft activities. Projects that never really came to fruition, but the move proved effective in making the Abruzzi region known internationally, thanks to the high-level personalities of the Cenacolo.
The Vate was an indefatigable promoter, even quoting it in the Libro Segreto and, for about fifteen years, he was a regular guest there and wrote Il piacere (Pleasure, 1889), L'innocente (1891) and Il trionfo della morte (The Triumph of Death, 1894). The association with Michetti lasted until the painter's death in 1929, with d’Annunzio calling him: 'the other half of my soul'.
In addition to the 2021 volume, Michetti is also the focus of a definitive biography published in 2006.
Returning to La mia attività letteraria, we discover that the author's intention is to provide a volume for those who will use it as a starting point for new discoveries, basing it - quoting his own words - 'on the certainties of the past'.
I confess to having smiled at his thinking that the books he has written cannot be read in one go or in full, as they are intended for enthusiasts and connoisseurs. Amicably and affectionately, I disagree as I have always found myself completely enveloped by his words, unable to stop reading. It could not be otherwise, as Di Tizio has (re)unearthed hundreds of unpublished documents and over ten thousand letters from illustrious personalities.
Between compelling biographical notes and dutiful references to those he considers his Masters, the chapters range from a list of published books to essays and articles about d'Annunzio and Michetti, without forgetting the medical subject matter and general contributions.
All of the Professor's studies are noteworthy, but we would like to mention the works dedicated to Lina Cavalieri, a famous diva of her time; the biography of painter Basilio Cascella, praised by art critic and historian Vittorio Sgarbi; the essay focusing on the figure of Rina De Liguoro, queen of silent films. The same goes for the analysis essays aimed at a more in-depth study of all those personalities who had something to do with the Vate: architect Gian Carlo Maroni, the writer Giuseppe Mezzanotte and the stormy journalist Edoardo Scarfoglio. All under the banner of the inexhaustible ability to bring together documents and hard-to-find traces.
The figure of fellow Abruzzese poet Gabriele d'Annunzio dominates the pages of this summarising literary effort and it could not be otherwise. For without Di Tizio and his diaristic style in approaching d'Annunzio's multifaceted universe, what would we really know about him? In all likelihood, readers and scholars would tread much rougher and more imprecise ground.
Starting from the 1998 homage on the 60th anniversary of his death, celebrated with the exhibition Carte dannunziane - Libri, immagini, documenti inediti del Poeta (d'Annunzio's books, images, unpublished documents), we move on to the inexhaustible correspondence (d'Annunzio wrote and received hundreds of letters) both personal and professional, such as the missives to his sons, as well as to: Rossignoli, Michetti, Albertini, Mondadori, to name but a few.
Di Tizio has written a book about Di Tizio admirably, without giving in to the temptation to write a volume about himself, analysing his own life and work as he has done with all the personalities he has decided to delve into over the years.
A gift of inestimable value in full d'Annunzio style that allows us to say that Franco Di Tizio will forever have what he gave (as per d’Annunzio’s motto: Io ho quell che ho donato, I have what I have given).