• About SNS

    The Scuola Normale Superiore is a public institute for higher education that in its two centuries of life has earned itself a special place, both in Italy and abroad, a place characterised by merit, talent and scientific rigour.  Two types of course are available: the undergraduate course and the PhD course.The teaching activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, placed in Pisa, and the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, located in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence. 

  • Admission

    The evaluation for entrance to the first year of the undergraduate course does not include the high school leaving certificate, and the bachelor's degree is not taken into consideration in the entrance examination for the fourth year course. For each PhD course, candidates’ level of competence, talent, motivations and aptitudes to scientific research will be assessed on the basis of their qualifications and research project and an interview.

  • Academics

    The Scuola Normale Superiore offers two types of course: the undergraduate course, leading to first and second level university degrees, and the PhD course, the international equivalent of the Italian Dottorato di ricerca.The teaching and research activity is distributed among three academic structures: the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Mathematical and Natural Sciences, and the Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences.The first two academic structures, housed at the Pisa site, organize courses for both the  undergraduate course and the PhD course. The Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, situated in Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, deals only with the PhD course.

  • Research

    A highly qualifying feature of the Normale way is the strong link between teaching and research that is a characteristic of both the undergraduate and the graduate programmes of the Scuola. The research structures of the two Faculties welcome students with a relevant study interest, enabling them to collaborate in a mature way with the activities of the researchers.

  • International

    The Scuola Normale is an institute of a decidedly international nature. Examinations for admission to the undergraduate degree course and for the PhD course are open to all citizens worldwide. A certain number of places on the PhD course are reserved for students from other countries. During the pre laurea and  post lauream teaching courses, study and research programmes are made available at overseas universities and research centres with which the Scuola forms an intense network of collaboration.  The doctorate course in particular is taught in a veritable graduate school in line with the highest international standards. 

Research Fellow
Tel. +39 050 509620
fax +39 050 563513

Palazzo della Carovana

Classe di Scienze Umane
Piazza dei Cavalieri, 7
56126, PISA

Before embarking on her PhD studies, Margherita d’Ayala Valva earned a masters degree from Università di Firenze. In her M.A. dissertation on “The Sforni collection” (published in 2005) her main aim was to read an art collection as a pragmatic form of criticism, in the context of artistic and literary journals of the beginning of the 20th Century in Florence, such as “La Voce” and the Futuristic “Lacerba”. She pursued her studies with a PhD dissertation (published in three volumes in 2005 and 2008) at Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, under the direction of Massimo Ferretti, Gino Ruozzi and Michael Zimmermann. She analyzed there a particular form of artistic literature: artists’ aphorisms, focusing on the painter and writer Ugo Bernasconi (1874-1960), whose archives were donated to the Scuola thanks to her mediation. Parallel to her research activity, she archived and ordered manuscripts and documents from the Bernasconi Archives, and developed for the Scuola’s “Laboratorio delle Arti visive” a database of the painter’s correspondence (now registered in the Michael.org portal).
For the past few years, d’Ayala Valva has conducted research on the history and reception of artistic media. In particular, she examines artists as readers of ancient treatises and writers of their own handbooks of technical recipes. These studies of technical art treatises and artists’ notebooks are intertwined with her research on gastronomic treatises and artists’ gastronomic diaries, including her recent study of Carl Friedrich von Rumohr’s Geist der Kockunst (1822), which studies gastrosophy from the point of view of Winckelmann’s notion of style. Her interest in food studies is focused on the development of Gastrosophical attitudes in Avant-garde and contemporary art and their relation both to material culture and aesthetical taste. She is also co-author of an upcoming edited volume entitled Food, Art and Counterculture, to be published in 2014 by University of Arkansas Press.
After lecturing for years the courses “History of decorative arts” and “Food ant the arts” for the James Madison and Arcadia University Semester Programs in Florence and Rome, she is now again at Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa.
Margherita is a member of the interdisciplinary research group Futurahma. From Futurism to Classicism (1910-1922). Painting Techniques, Art History and Material Analysis, which has been selected and sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Education (MIUR). The group, composed of art historians and conservation scientists, seeks to examine problems related to the conservation of Italian avant-garde paintings from the 1910s and 1920s. To this end, the group is analyzing Italian painting techniques from the first decades of the twentieth century from art historical and scientific viewpoints, with a particular focus on the Futurist and Metaphysical movements and the “ritorno al classico”. D’Ayala Valva plays a key role in the project, as primary archival researcher on printed materials and manuscripts, program manifestos, public speeches and correspondence. She is also responsible for examining the technical manuals that were written and read by the artists, as well as contemporary editions of historical treatises.