Debby Brice

Presentation Date: 

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Villa I Tatti

When Lino asked me to say a few words, he suggested anything between 5 and 10 minutes, but as one of my brothers once reminded me, The Gettysburg Address was only 3 minutes long.

I find it almost a miracle that The Loggiato has finally been built. It’s been 22 years since Walter Kaiser informed Fiesole that as part of I Tatti’s long range plans we wanted to build a new building for Fellows Studies. The architectural plans were submitted in 1998 and it has taken 13 very long years since then to arrive at today and at times I think everyone almost gave up, but we Tattiani are very good at biding our time!

As I’m speaking after everyone else, I know I’ll be repeating what has already been said, but some things are worth hearing more than once. I have been involved with I Tatti since 1984 and in a way this involvement changed my life and definitely for the better. Besides the intellectual rewards, I Tatti has given me some of my dearest and closest friends and in a way provided me with another family where I can run to escape the one I already have! Seriously, I Tatti has given me so much that I am more than happy to give something back. When this building was conceived, none of us had any idea how splendid it would turn out to be. Walter Kaiser’s inspired choice of Charles Brickbauer as the architect has produced a real gem where every tiny detail has been lovingly designed and finished, and even the drain pipes are beautiful! Thank you Walter! Thank you Charlie!

Nelda Ferace did the truly amazing job of coordinating the dozens of workmen from every trade and handling the impossible, keeping the peace and fixing things when they were broken. And after Nelda began to do a little less, Allen Grieco took on part of her job as well as doing the garden buildings and The Pellegrino Gardens which turned out to be so fabulous and integrate the loggiato fully into the Tuscan landscape. Thank you Nelda! Thank you Allen!

To all the people who had to live and work through the noise, dust and confusion that goes with producing such a beautiful building and gardens and also to all the many talented hard working people who made today possible, I salute you all.

I must also thank Joe Connors whose patience and perseverance finally achieved the impossible and secured all the necessary permissions! Thank you Joe!

Finally, I want to say how pleased and happy we are that Lino and Anna are here and continuing the I Tatti tradition of excellent scholarship as well as providing the cosy and personal atmosphere that has always been part of I Tatti’s charm.
I just hope the Fellows, who have been waiting patiently, enjoy what’s left of the year in their new studies and that the incoming Fellows appreciate how much their scholarship will be enhanced by working in such glorious surroundings!