The Accademia della Crusca (“Academy of the Bran”) holds language and its different uses in the highest consideration. Words indeed are so powerful that we might feed on them – but it’s important to choose the right ones, just as it’s important to nourish ourselves with good, healthy food. Bran must be separated from wheat, and corrupt and stereotyped words must be strained out of our language.
This was the aim of the Accademia’s founders, erudite Florentines who in the final years of the 1500s spent together some playful time, lightly debating about grammar and literature. They called each other ‘Crusconi’, and chose a sieve as their emblem.
By the end of the 16th century, the jovial circle that was the ‘brigata dei Crusconi’ had transformed into a serious academy, which undertook the philological and linguistic research that would eventually yield five editions of the “Vocabolario degli Accademici della Crusca” – the first modern dictionary, and the main means of classification of the Italian language. Today the Accademia continues to study, foster and promote Italian, even through the most advanced technological instruments.
The Crusca, based in the Medicean Villa of Castello since 1972, is the most ancient linguistic academy in Europe.
And it still puts nourishing words on our table, every day.