In 43 years he never held the same lesson twice

Giosuè Carducci had an extremely strong sense of duty, and in 43 years of teaching he never repeated a lesson.

Punctually, at three in the afternoon, he would enter the room with his head bowed, preceded by the porter, Monti, who he referred to as "il Monti non Vincenzo". Climbing the steps to the lectern, he removed his hat and looked around him; if there were many people, he would pull at his beard, and that was a bad sign.

He began every course with a historical classification of the subject, then continued with an analytical review of the works following a very simple method: rigorously following the text, a careful study of the documents, constant attention to the possible comparisons, reconstructing the production of all aspects of the works. He didn't rattle off ordered comments following a rigid discipline, but rather he studied a man, a period, a work of art intensely, reconstructing it through his criticism.

Every lesson was a work of research. He prepared his lessons as you would with a book; not with notes, but with materials to bring them alive, melt down and remould. The importance he paid to the constant study of language demonstrated how he intended to fulfil his educational role at the University.

He demanded of his students full attendance at lessons and dedication to their work, and once a year (during his three-year programme) each student had to face the return and correction of their own essay. This was a short paper, a monograph on a subject chosen by the students, in which they had to demonstrate their academic competence, critical orientation and ability to write and reason.

This was how he spent 43 years teaching at the university, always in the same class, which today the University administration has dedicated to the memory of this great poet. Here, where ceremonies and guided tours are held, sat the men that Carducci accompanied through their studies, although his was a school that aimed to produce future literature teachers, rather than men of letters. In his school, students were forbidden from making verse, and he repressed all attempts at improvisation, and any digressions inherited from the latest romanticism. The aim of his teachings was to restore the responsibility and dignity that had marked studies in the past.

His many famous students bear witness to the success of his intent to create the school that Italy needed after Unity: Giovanni Pascoli, Renato Serra, Manara Valgimigli, Guido Mazzoni, Severino Ferrari, Giovanni Federzoni, Giuseppe Albini, Albano Sorbelli, ... and many more.