Walter Kaiser - Director of I Tatti 1988-2002
Francis Lee Higginson Professor of English Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature emeritus at Harvard University, Walter was Director of Villa I Tatti from 1988 till 2002.
Walter first came to Tuscany in 1953 and stayed at Casa al Dono near Vallombrosa, the house where Nicky Mariano and Bernard Berenson stayed in the summer. He remembers Berenson as an intimidating presence who made him quite nervous. But Berenson took an interest in getting to know the young Harvard scholar and offered advice to him about, amongst other matters, the three most important things to see on a first trip to Florence. Years later, when Director of I Tatti, Walter felt Berenson would have been pleased to see the Fellows walking in the gardens and sharing their research and ideas, his ambitions for I Tatti fully realized. Walter oversaw many successful years at I Tatti, a period that included major refurbishments of the interior of the Villa with not an inch of the 'strip lighting' that Berenson so feared would be installed.
A nervous young student comes to meet Mr. Berenson
BB's advice to a young man on what should be seen in Florence
On Berenson's need for conversation
Berenson's many languages; his likes and dislikes...'Icononense!'
Taking tea at the Villa
Nicky: Taking care of everyone and beloved by everyone
Lack of money as Harvard takes over
Role of Nicky Mariano
Strip lighting -BB's fears for I Tatti and how they were confounded
On the common language of I Tatti