History

Fondazione Cesare Pavese was established in 2004 to oversee the celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth (1908-2008). The Foundation – governed by the Municipality of Santo Stefano Belbo, the Province of Cuneo, the Piedmont Region and Pavese’s family – picks up the baton of the “Cesare Pavese” Research Centre.

The “Cesare Pavese” Research Centre 

The “Cesare Pavese” Research Centre was officially established by the Municipality of Santo Stefano Belbo in 1973 to keep the memory of the writer alive and encourage research about him.  

Since its very beginning, it had worked in collaboration with the Piedmont Region and the academic world. Its actual activity started in 1977 with a large biobibliographical exhibition presenting the writer’s papers, manuscripts, letters and personal books, for the first time after his death. Such exhibition was brought to Bucharest, Romania, in 1980, for an exposition that remains the only one displaying the original manuscripts – now stored at the University of Turin – organized outside Italy ever since. 

Since then, the Research Centre has been promoting a wide range of initiatives, in Italy and abroad. Throughout the years, it has organized many conferences and seminars, not only on Pavese’s work, but also on the popular traditions and rural culture of the Langhe. The Centre has also produced a large amount of materials, including papers, brochures, videos and guides to the Pavesian locations. Particularly relevant were the visits abroad, on the occasion of exhibitions, conferences and other events in various European cities. Its wide network of national and international connections with universities, public and private institutions, Italian Institutes of Culture abroad, have made the Centre a privileged reference for Pavesian studies worldwide. 

In parallel with its activity in Italy and abroad, the Centre has always made its facilities, archives, exhibitions and any other bibliographical materials available, providing scientific support on papers and documents. Dissemination was another key aspect of its work: hundreds of schools have visited it and some of them joined lectures, seminars and research on the field to discover the Pavesian locations and characters. Similarly, the Centre has always been a reference point for cultural tourism, as well. 

The great flood and the new venue

In November 1994 its activities were temporarily stopped by the flood that seriously damaged the Centre with its books and archives. In that tragic circumstance, the “Cesare Pavese” Research Centre became the symbol of the recovery, drawing, thanks to its international prestige, the world’s attention and solidarity to such a heavily affected land. 

This huge mobilisation led to the idea of moving the Centre to a more adequate venue. This was identified in the complex including the deconsecrated Church of Saints James

and Christopher with the adjacent building in the historical centre of Santo Stefano Belbo, the old town among “a handful of roofs” described by Pavese in the short story “The Langa”. The new venue of the Research Centre was inaugurated on 1 July 2000. 

Today, the building next to the Church hosts the offices and the archives of the Foundation with its library, whereas the Church serves as an auditorium for conferences, theatre plays, concerts and exhibitions. Such a choice allowed to revive, through an overall renovation, an important and meaningful part of the old town, closely related to Pavese’s work. It also allowed the safekeeping of the archive and documentary collections. 

Since 2019, Fondazione Cesare Pavese oversees the entire cultural offer of the Municipality of Santo Stefano Belbo, including the Open Air Museum in Camo. The activities taken over include the Pavese Festival, the Pavese Prize, the touristic offer, the library and the communication services. The Foundation thus acts as a driver for the local socio-economic growth through culture