Author: Larry Basirico

Larry Basirico is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Elon University, where he worked for 37 years before retiring in 2020. In fall 2013, he served as Elon’s study abroad faculty-in-residence at Accademia Europea di Firenze. He is an author of an introductory sociology textbook and an occasional guest writer for The Florentine on matters pertaining to culture and society.
October 12, 2021

Yearning for Florence

I absolutely walk on the smooth flags of Florence for the mere pleasure of walking, and lie in its atmosphere for the mere pleasure of living. I hardly think there can be a place in the world where life is more delicious for its own simple sake than here. —The Business of Reflection: Hawthorne in […]
January 24, 2019

Learning Italian: more than a language

Italian, like all languages do for their respective cultures, conveys an essence of what it means to be Italian that cannot be fully understood using other languages.
September 15, 2018

Strengthening family bonds in Sinalunga

In Under the Tuscan Sun (1996), a memoir about her experiences in Cortona, a small quintessentially medieval city, Frances Mayes eloquently fostered the fantasy and romance of life in Tuscany: “My idea of heaven still is to drive the gravel farm roads of Umbria and Tuscany, very pleasantly lost.” Italy seems to be on everyone’s […]
May 3, 2018

The city of Florence as a classroom

The city of the Renaissance may be the least likely place to think about the concept of artificial intelligence, broadly defined as the ability of machines or computers to think, learn and act like humans. Leonardo da Vinci was captivated by the prospect of flight, but it’s hard to imagine that the possibility of aircraft […]
April 11, 2018


“Anni e bicchieri di vino non si contano mai” (Age and glasses of wine should never be counted). “Amici e vini sono meglio vecchi” (Friends and wine improve with age). “Il buon vino non ha bisogno di frasca” (Good wine needs no leafy branch.) “Buon vino fa buon sangue” (Good wine makes good blood.) These […]
February 28, 2018

At the Italian dinner table

Food and Italy are practically synonymous. Appreciating and embracing the gastronomic splendor of the Italian meal is one of the most remarkable experiences for tourists and permanent dwellers alike.   Indeed, part of the early love affair with Italy when visiting the first time is learning to understand the restaurant dinner menu. On complete menus […]
May 30, 2016

Florence’s eternal yesterday

When we returned home to the United States after our four-month stay, I gushed effusively about Florence.     Everyone asked what I enjoyed so much about it. I said that it was the feeling of being bathed constantly in the reflections of rust-colored rooftops and blue Tuscan sky, the majestic billowy clouds over the […]
March 3, 2016

The Florence symphony

Besides its unique look and unmistakable beauty, what is it about Florence that stimulates our senses and intellect and captures our hearts like nowhere else? That is the question that Larry Basirico, a professor of sociology who lived in Florence in 2013 while leading Elon University’s study abroad program through Accademia Europea di Firenze asked […]
January 14, 2016

Return to Florence

  My first two visits to Florence, in 2007 and 2008, were brief, a few days each. Dean of international programs at Elon University at the time, I was there to establish a study-abroad program with Accademia Europea di Firenze. Already infatuated, when I returned with my family for a four-month stay while serving as […]
October 2, 2014

Florence’s collective consciousness

If religion has given birth to all that is essential in society, it is because the idea of society is the soul of religion.-Émile Durkheim   Experiencing Florence includes far more than a discovery of its artistic treasures: it is also a discovery of self and others. This