Obituary / In Memoriam Professor Beniamino Caravita di Toritto

Beniamino Caravita, who died at 67 on November 25th, 2021, was a Professor of Public Law at the University of Rome – La Sapienza, Director of the peer review Journal federalismi.it, Vice-President of the Italian Association of Constitutional Lawyers (AIC).

He graduated in Comparative Law in 1977, taught at the University of Perugia from the late 80ies until 1997, when he moved to La Sapienza University – Department of Political Sciences. Next to his academic profile, also his institutional activity was remarkable, above all related to the constitutional reform on regionalism and decentralisation in Italy and, lastly, on the status of Rome as capital city and the “differentiated” regionalism.

Beniamino Caravita served as Vice-President of the International Association of Centres for Federal Studies (IACFS). He was very proud to be part of such “family” and international network of federal scholars. Several times he stressed how much he learnt from being part of the Association. In fact, the network and intellectual exchanges within the Association influenced his reading of the Italian regionalism. Moreover, he was a strenuous supporter of EU integration, which he considered a unique federal model.

He was extremely passionate about federal studies and encouraged young scholars to deepen the analysis of federal processes, also by involving them in institutional and research activities from the early stages of their career. He was admired and a source of inspiration in pursuing multiple research projects and, until the last days, his passion for academic activity was still fully brightening. He was capable to understand the path of each young scholar and his suggestions were clear, short, and straight to the point.

I was one of his last young scholars and want to remember and to thank him for introducing me in the Association and for having taught me a lot, since he forced me to work on my weaknesses through his “everyday lesson”.

During my PhD, he understood what I was looking for and honestly preceded my thoughts. When I was defining the topic for my thesis, he said: “you should go to South Africa to complete your thesis, this will be important for you”. When the opportunity to go to Fribourg opened up, he said: “I cannot go, but you have to pack and go”. I did, I enjoyed, I was proud (and scared of course) and, when I came back, I brought him a book on federalism in German, his “beloved” language; it was just to say: “thanks Prof., it is what I was looking for”.

The legacy of Beniamino will be within the Association and will live with those he trained, a group of scholars who will continue to study federalism, decentralisation, regionalism, and local autonomy. May we have the strength to walk in the footsteps of his intellectual legacy.

-Adriano Dirri


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