Italian: Italian State Exam Topics 2016

Italian: Italian State Exam Topics 2016

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Higher Secondary Education - For all addresses: sorting and experimental

Carry out the test, choosing one of the four types proposed here.



Umberto Eco, On some aspects of literature, in On literature, Bompiani Pocket Edition IV, Milan 2016.

“We are surrounded by immaterial powers, which are not limited to what we call spiritual values, like a religious doctrine. […] And among these powers I would also include that of the literary tradition, that is to say the complex of texts that humanity has produced and produces not for practical purposes (such as keeping records, writing down laws and scientific formulas, recording sessions or providing train timetables ) but rather gratia on, for the sake of themselves - and which are read for pleasure, spiritual elevation, widening of knowledge, perhaps for pure pastime, without anyone obliging us to do it (if we ignore school obligations). [...]

What is the use of this intangible good which is literature? [...]

Literature primarily maintains the language as a collective heritage. The language, by definition, goes where it wants, no decree from above, neither by politics, nor by the academy, can stop its path and make it deviate towards situations that claim to be optimal. [...]

The language goes where it wants but is sensitive to the suggestions of the literature. Without Dante there would have been no unified Italian. [...]

And if someone today complains about the triumph of an average Italian spread through television, let's not forget that the appeal to an average Italian, in its most noble form, passed through the flat and acceptable prose of Manzoni and then Svevo or Moravia .

By helping to shape the language, literature creates identity and community. I spoke before of Dante, but let's think about what Greek civilization would have been without Homer, the German identity without Luther's translation of the Bible, the Russian language without Pushkin [...].

Reading literary works requires us to exercise loyalty and respect in the freedom of interpretation. There is a dangerous critical heresy, typical of our day, for which you can do what you want of a literary work, reading what our most uncontrollable impulses suggest to us. It's not true. Literary works invite us to freedom of interpretation, because they offer us a speech with many reading plans and confront us with ambiguities and language and life. But to be able to proceed in this game, whereby each generation reads literary works differently, it is necessary to be moved by a profound respect for what I have elsewhere called the intention of the text. "

Onliteratureis a collection of essays by Umberto Eco (Alessandria 1932-Milan 2016) published in 2002. The texts were written between 1990 and 2002 (on the occasion of conferences, meetings, prefaces to other publications), with the exception of The filthiness of form, originally written in 1954, and de The American myth of three anti-American generations, from 1980.

1. Understanding of text

Briefly summarize the content of the text.

2. Analysis of the text

    2.1 Analyze the stylistic, lexical and syntactic aspect of the text.

    2.2 «And if someone today complains about the triumph of an average Italian, spread through television, let's not forget that the appeal to an average Italian, in its most noble form, passed through the flat and acceptable prose of Manzoni and then Svevo or Moravia». Explain the meaning and significance of this statement by the author in the text.

    2.3 Focus on the meaning of "immaterial power" attributed by Eco to literature.

    2.4 What relationship emerges from the proposed passage between free interpretation of the text and fidelity to it?

    2.5 «By helping to shape the language, literature creates identity and community»Explains and comments on the meaning of this statement.

3. Overall interpretation and insights

    On the basis of the analysis conducted, propose an overall interpretation of the passage and deepen it with appropriate links to other texts and authors of the twentieth century known to you. You can also refer to your personal experience and perception of the function of literature in contemporary reality.


Drafting of a SHORT essay or newspaper article

(can choose one of the topics related to the four proposed areas)


It develops the chosen topic either in the form of a "short essay" or a "newspaper article", interpreting and comparing the documents and data provided.
If you choose the form of the "short essay", discuss your treatment, also with appropriate references to your knowledge and study experience.
Press on the essay for a coherent title and, if you want, divide it into paragraphs.
If you choose the form of the "newspaper article", indicate the title of the article and the type of newspaper you think the article should be published on.
For both forms of writing do not exceed five columns of half of the protocol sheet.


TOPIC: The father-son relationship in the arts and literature of the twentieth century.


My father was for me "the killer"

My father was "the killer" for me, until I was twenty years old. Then I saw that he was a child, and that I received the gift from him.

My face was blue, a smile, in misery, sweet and cunning.

He always went to the pilgrim world; more than one woman loved and fed him.

He was gay and light; my mother all felt the burdens of life.

His hand escaped him like a balloon.

"Don't look like - he warned - your father". And I later understood it in myself:

were two races in ancient tenzone.

Umberto Saba, The songbook section Autobiography, Einaudi, Turin 1978

Giorgio de Chirico, The prodigal son, 1922 Milan - Museo del Novecento

«I remember only one episode well in the early years. Maybe you remember it too. One night I whimpered incessantly to have water, certainly not because of thirst, but in part probably to annoy, in part to have fun. Since some heavy threats were not served, you lifted me out of bed, took me to the balcony and left me there for a while alone, in front of the closed door, in a shirt. I don't want to say that it wasn't fair, maybe that time there was really no other way to restore night peace, I just want to describe your educational methods and the effect they had on me. That punishment made me return obedient, but I suffered internal damage. The absurd insistence on asking for water, which I found so obvious, and the immense fear of being closed out, I never managed to put them in the right relationship. Even after years I was afraid of the tormenting fantasy that the gigantic man, my father, the last resort, could arrive in the night without reason and take me from the bed on the balcony, and that therefore I was a total nullity for him. "

Franz KAFKA, Letter to the father, translation by C. GROFF, Feltrinelli, Milan 2013

"Pietro, frail and often ill, had always made Domenico a sense of aversion: now he considered him, thin and pale, useless to interests; like any idiot! He touched his slender neck, with a finger over the too visible and smooth veins; and Pietro lowered his eyes, believing that he should ask her for forgiveness as a fault. But this docility, which escaped his violence, irritated Domenico more. And he wanted to mock him. [...] Peter was silent and resigned; but he did not obey him. He stayed as little as possible in the house; and, when he needed money for school, he waited for some of the more noteworthy patrons to be there; before which Domenico did not say no. He had found a way to resist, undergoing everything without saying a word. And the school then seemed to him more of an excuse to stay away from the restaurant. Finding an ironic hostility in his father's eyes, he tried to ask him a little affection. But how could he have escaped him? A less frightened look was enough to make him punch his face, a punch capable of lifting a barrel. And since sometimes Pietro smiled trembling and said: - But I will be as strong as you! - Domenico shouted at him in a voice, which no one else had: - You? - Pietro, bowing his head, slowly pushed that fist away, with disgust and admiration."

Federigo TOZZI, With closed eyes, BUR Bibl. Univ., Rizzoli, Milan 1986


TOPIC: Growth, development and social progress. Is GDP a measure of everything?


Gross domestic product - Production as wealth

The gross domestic product is the value of everything a country produces and represents a very important quantity for assessing the health of an economy, although it does not include some fundamental elements for assessing the level of well-being. [...] GDP is undoubtedly a coarse measure of a country's economic well-being. However, many of the well-being factors that are not included in the calculation of GDP, such as the quality of the environment, the protection of health, the guarantee of access to education, ultimately also depend on the wealth of a country and therefore on its GDP.

Children's Encyclopedia -2006- Treccani online by Giulia Nunziante (

«With too much insistence and too long, it seems that we have renounced personal excellence and community values ​​in favor of the mere accumulation of earthly goods. Our GDP has exceeded 800 billion dollars a year, but that GDP - if we judge the USA on the basis of it - also includes air pollution, advertising for cigarettes and ambulances to clear our highways from the carnage weekends. The GDP puts into account the special locks for our home doors and prisons for those who try to force them. It includes Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and television programs that enhance violence in order to sell toys to our children. It grows with the production of napalm, missiles and nuclear warheads and only increases when popular slums are rebuilt on their ashes. Includes armored police cars to deal with urban riots. The GDP does not take into account the health of our families, the quality of their education or the joy of their moments of leisure. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, the solidity of family values ​​or the intelligence of our debate. The GDP measures neither our wit, nor our courage, nor our wisdom, nor our knowledge, nor our compassion, nor devotion to our country. Measure everything, in a nutshell, except what makes life truly worth living. It can tell us all about America but not if we can be proud of being American. "

From the speech by Robert KENNEDY, former US senator, held on March 18, 1968; reported on "Il Sole 24 Ore" by Vito LOPS of 13 March 2013; (Http://


TOPIC: The value of the landscape.


"[...] the Italian landscape is not just nature. It has been shaped over the centuries by a strong human presence. It is a landscape steeped in history and represented by Italian and foreign writers and painters and, in turn, has been modeled over time on poems, paintings and frescoes. In Italy, a different and complementary sensitivity was therefore immediately added to the naturalist inspiration. It assimilated the landscape to the works of art by exploiting the conceptual and descriptive categories of the "view" which can be applied as much to a picture or a corner of the landscape as it can be observed from a window (in the direction of the countryside) or from a hill (towards the city). [...] Article 9 of the Italian Constitution (1) is the synthesis of a secular process that has two main characteristics: the priority of the public interest over private property and the close link between the protection of cultural heritage and the protection of the landscape. »

Salvatore SETTIS, Because Italians have become enemies of art, in "The Art Journal", n. 324/2012

(1) (Art. 9 Italian Constitution) - The Republic promotes the development of culture and scientific and technical research. It protects the landscape and the historical and artistic heritage of the nation.

«In landscape contexts everything is, instead, solid and stable, the result of the tireless overlapping of human actions, innumerable as unrecognizable, infinite retouching to the same picture, of which the main iconography is preserved, so everything changes in infinitesimal and time the same little changes in the broad ensemble, and it is the endurance of this shell of ours that tells about our quality as a people, in a supreme synthesis of visible memory, neatly arranged. Yes, landscapes are not shapeless clusters or sums of entities, but complex, generally involuntary, spontaneous and self-regulated orders, where millions of activities have merged into a harmonious whole. This little-known, anthropological and historical type of harmony and beauty is more than merely aesthetic or merely scientific, to which we have not been adequately educated. […] We understand then why the Constitutions that dealt with these issues, from that of Weimar to ours, distinguished between natural, historical and artistic monuments, […] and the landscape […], where nature, history and art make up permanently [...]. What if in this rediscovery of Italy, on our part and on the globe, there was an important possibility of cultural, civil and economic development of our country in this time of crisis? ".

From the speech of the FAI President Andrea CARANDINI to the XVII National Conference FAI-Trieste Delegates 12 April 2013; (Http://

"The Italian landscape represents Italy as a whole, in its complexity and beauty and allows the interweaving of great nature and great history to emerge, a heritage to be defended and still, to a large extent, to be enhanced. The sacredness of the value of the landscape […] is a normative, ethical, social and political cornerstone to be defended and protected before and above any development formula which, if removed from these principles, can be invasive, risking to compromise not only beauty. , but also present and future functionality. Tourism included. "

From the speech by Vittorio SGARBI to the event for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy in Palermo-12 May 2010- reported on "La Sicilia" by Giorgio PETTA of 13 May 2010

«Everyone, it is true, we are pleased to be in a clean, beautiful, serene environment, surrounded by the satisfactions that derive in substance from a correct exercise of culture. Seeing a beautiful painting, wandering in an orderly and clearly understandable archaeological area, traveling through the wonderful landscapes of our Italy, keeping away the horrors of peripheral urbanizations, building speculations, the criminal unconsciousness of those who pollute, massacre, offend, oppress the natural and urban environment. »

Claudio STRINATI- The rhetoric that poisons the History (and historians) of art- from the Huffington Post of 06.01.2014 ( history-and-the-historical-dellarte_b_4545578.html)


TOPIC: Man and the adventure of space.


"The water that flows on Mars is the first major confirmation after years of intense research, which have seen the multiplication of the" eyes "on the Red Planet, among sensors, radar and cameras on board satellites and rovers. But the beauty is probably still to come because the next challenge is to be able to find life forms, microorganisms that have lived in the past or are perhaps still active and able to survive in such an extreme environment.

It is in this spirit that in 2016 the first phase of a new 1.2 billion euro mission is preparing to reach Martian orbit. It's called ExoMars, it is organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) and Italy is in the front row with the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and its industry. "Certainly Mars will continue to give us surprises," said ASI president Roberto Battiston. The one announced yesterday by NASA "is the latest in a long series and basically tells us that Mars is a place where there is water, even if in different ways than we are used to on Earth."

Enrica BATTIFOGLIA, More and more "eyes" on Mars, new mission in 2016, "La Repubblica", 29 September 2015

«With a special instrument of the Hubble Space Telescope (the Wide Field Camera), astronomers were able to measure the presence of water on five of these worlds thanks to the spectroscopic analysis of their atmosphere while they were passing in front to their star. During the transit, the starlight passes through the atmosphere that envelops the planet, collecting the "signature" of the gaseous compounds it encounters on its way.

The planets with traces of water identified so far are all gas giants unsuitable for life. The result, however, is equally important because it shows that the discovery of water on alien planets is possible with the means already available today.

The challenge now is to find terrestrial planets, i.e. rocky celestial bodies ranging in size from half to twice the size of the Earth, in particular those found in orbit in the habitable zone of their star, where state water may exist liquid and maybe life. "

Umberto GUIDONI, Traveling beyond the sky, BUR, Rizzoli, Milan 2014

"First, Samantha spoke about the scientific importance of the Futura mission. The results of the many experiments carried out on the International Space Station, whose data are now in the hands of scientists, will be seen only in a short time, because as the astronaut has pointed out, they require months of work to be analyzed correctly.

Carrying out research in space, Sam reminded, is fundamental in many fields, however, such as the science of materials, because it allows you to isolate certain phenomena that you want to study, eliminating an omnipresent variable on Earth: gravity.

Even more important perhaps is to study the behavior of life forms in a space environment, because it will allow us to prepare ourselves to spend longer and longer periods away from the planet (fundamental for example to reach distant destinations such as Mars), but it also has direct repercussions for health here on Earth, because discovering the mechanisms that control this adaptation (like genes) helps to deepen the knowledge we have on the functioning of living organisms, and in the final analysis, to understand the functioning of the body at the cell level. These are experiments in which astronauts are experimenters and guinea pigs at the same time, because their organisms are constantly monitored during the mission, and the tests continue also on Earth, since pre and post mission data are needed. »

Simone VALESINI, Samantha Cristoforetti talks about returning from space, Wired (



Seventy years ago, in March 1946 on the occasion of the administrative elections and on June 2, 1946 on the occasion of the referendum between the monarchy and the republic, women in Italy voted for the first time. After the tragedy of the Second World War, perfect universal suffrage brought to fruition a battle that began in Italy in the aftermath of Unity, which passed through the petitions of the first feminists in the early twentieth century and corroborated by the participation of women in the Resistance war. The testimony of two writers, shown below, captures the conscience and emotion for the project of democratic and participatory society that was emerging, in which women would continue to struggle to affirm the equality of their rights in every field of private and public life, from economics to politics and culture.

1946 in the memories of:

Alba De Céspedesp (1911-1997).

«Nor can I spend in silence the day that ended a long and difficult adventure, namely the day of the elections. That was an adventure that began many years ago, before the armistice, on July 25, the day - I was in my early twenties - when they came to pick me up to take me to prison. I was accused of having freely said what I thought. From then on it was as if another person lived in me, secret, silent, hidden, who was not even allowed to breathe. It was yes, a humiliating and painful adventure. But with that cross mark on the card it seemed to me that I had drawn one of those friezes that replace the word end. I went out, then, free and young, as when I feel the hair well-rounded on my forehead. "

Anna Banti (1895-1985).

«As for '46 [...] and what is" important "for me, I saw and heard us, where ever to recognize it if not in that June 2 that, in the voting booth, I had a heart in my throat and I was afraid to be wrong between the sign of the republic and that of the monarchy? Maybe only women can understand me and the illiterate. "

Patrizia GABRIELLI, "June 2, 1946: a memorable day”Essay contained in the quarterly

History and contemporary problems, N. 41, year XIX Jan / Apr 2006; CUEB



«The border indicates a common limit, a separation between contiguous spaces; it is also a way of peacefully establishing everyone's right of ownership in a disputed territory. The frontier, on the other hand, represents the end of the earth, the ultimate limit beyond which venturing meant going beyond superstition against the will of the gods, beyond the just and the permitted, towards the unknowable that would have triggered envy. Crossing the border means moving into a territory made of harsh, hard, difficult lands, inhabited by dangerous monsters to fight against. It means leaving a familiar, known, reassuring space, and entering into that of uncertainty. This passage, crossing the border, also changes the character of an individual: beyond it one becomes a foreigner, an emigrant, different not only for others but sometimes also for themselves. »

Piero ZANINI, Meanings of the border - The natural, historical and mental limits - Mondadori school editions, Milan 1997

Starting from the quotation, which opens up broad considerations on the etymological-historical-symbolic meaning of the term "border", the candidate reflects, on the basis of his studies and knowledge and reading, on the concept of border: natural borders, "walls" and lattices, the construction of borders in recent history, the crossing of borders, wars for borders and wars on borders, borders that have been overcome and borders reaffirmed.

Maximum duration of the test: 6 hours.
Only the use of the Italian dictionary is allowed.
The use of the bilingual dictionary (Italian-language of the country of origin) for non-Italian native speakers is allowed.
It is not allowed to leave the Institute before 3 hours have elapsed from the dictation of the topic.

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