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Luca Cottini, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Luca Cottini, PhD

Associate Professor of Italian Studies | Villanova University


Luca Cottini, PhD, is a scholar of 20th-century Italian design and literature and the creator of the YouTube channel "Italian Innovators."




Luca Cottini, PhD Publication Luca Cottini, PhD Publication Luca Cottini, PhD Publication




The Italian Way. What Makes Italian Design Unique? | #lecture Il fabbricante di cioccolato. Nel mondo di Michele Ferrero | Presentazione libro L. Cottini (Piemme) What's the Value of Literature in the Internet Age? Italo Calvino & Digital Communication | #lecture



Areas of Expertise (6)

Italian Design

Italian Industry & Advertising

Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Design Thinking

Italian Literature

Americanism & Americanization


Luca Cottini is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at Villanova University and the host and creator of the YouTube show "Italian Innovators." He holds a doctorate from Harvard University, a master's from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor's from the University of Milan.

He was trained as a classical philologist in Italy and a cultural historian in the U.S. His interests touch on Italian literature, visual arts and intellectual history throughout the 19th and 20th centuries—and on the birth of Italian industrial culture, adverting and design.

His books include a monograph on Calvino ("I passaggi obbligati di Italo Calvino"), a cultural history of the origins of Italian design ("The Art of Objects. The Birth of Italian Industrial Culture, 1878-1928") and a biography of chocolate tycoon Michele Ferrero ("Il fabbricante di cioccolato. Nel mondo di Michele Ferrero"). His YouTube channel "Italian Innovators" explores the Italian model of entrepreneurship and innovation through cultural profiles, interviews and lessons across different disciplines (fashion, food, technology, sports, music, engineering, etc.).

Education (3)

Harvard University: PhD, Romance Languages and Literatures (Italian) 2012

University of Notre Dame: MA, Italian Studies 2007

Università degli Studi di Milano: BA, Classics 2003

Select Accomplishments (3)

AAIS 2018 Book Prize, American Association of Italian Studies (professional)


VERITAS Research Award, Villanova University (professional)


ISSNAF Award for the Humanities, Italian Scholars and Scientists in North America Foundation (professional)


Select Media Appearances (2)

Luca Cottini (Creator of "Italian Innovators")

We the Italians  online


"What interests me about this meeting between Italy and the United States is to make it intelligible by placing myself halfway between the two worlds and acting as a translator," said Luca Cottini, PhD, creator of "Italian Innovators." "Translating means carrying here and there, like someone carrying water from one side to the other... And while you do it you realize that what you are doing is not bringing notions from one side to the other but observing how the two sides, in their interaction, create an original and new culture, which in one episode we defined as a truly transatlantic culture."

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Luca Cottini: At the Origins of Made in Italy



"What I trace in 'The Art of Objects' is the origin of a certain behavioral way of producing objects, of producing things with attitude," said Luca Cottini, PhD. "This behavioral way affects the creation of the most iconic Italian products, that we all know and are familiar with, throughout the 20th century and the 21st."

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