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Event Details

Wed, October 25, 2023

18:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Florence, Italy

What was it like to be a child, growing up as a Florentine expatriate in the early 1900s?  Harold Acton was born in 1904, and his brother William in 1906.  With photographs and books from the Villa La Pietra Family Archives, and from local archives and libraries, Professors Perri Klass and Lisa Cesarani, in conversation, will consider the topics of pregnancy, motherhood, early childhood education and child development, as well as the role that art and modern innovations in travel played in the lives of these youngest Florentine expatriates. Moderated by  Francesca Baldry, Collection Manager, Villa La Pietra NYU Florence.

This is the first of a three part series, “Growing Up at the Villa,” with future presentations scheduled for Nov. 6 and Nov. 21, 2023.

Featured Biographies

Perri Klass


Perri Klass is Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University, where she directs the medical humanities minor.  She was Co-Director of NYU Florence from 2018 to 2023. She attended Harvard Medical School and completed her residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital, Boston. Her most recent book, The Best Medicine: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future, is an account of how victories over infant and child mortality have changed the world (originally published as A Good Time to Be Born). She writes regularly about children’s issues for many publications, and for years wrote a weekly pediatric column for the New York Times.  Perri is the National Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, a national program which promotes early literacy through pediatric primary care, with guidance about reading aloud for parents and children’s books provided at routine well child visits. In April 2021 Perri was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Lisa Cesarani


Lisa Cesarani received her PhD in American and British Literature from New York University in 2000. She is a former affiliated faculty member of NYU Global Liberal Studies and the former Assistant Director of Academic Affairs at NYU Florence. During her 22 years at NYU Florence, Lisa taught a variety of courses. These included such topics as travel literature, expository writing, arts and culture in a global context, and experiential learning. Her research focuses on mid 19th to mid 20th century culture and literature with a specific interest in antebellum and gilded age American literature and American and transatlantic children’s literature.