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At the beginning of Biennio (the two school years), each student’s given a small “portion of world” that we call Mantra to study thoroughly. That might be a fairy tale, a sonnet, a film frame, a chamber music score or a painting. What students have to do with whatever “world’s puzzle tile” they’ve been given is first study it by heart and find out as many things about it as possible. The next thing they have to do is to forget about it. Finally, they make their first moves and set off on a journey of detailed in-depth analysis which will take them further and further towards becoming a global expert on that particular fragment of the world.


Here below are some examples of the Mantras that we have assigned recently:


The Jolly Roger flag, Van Gogh’s last unfinished letter to his brother Theo, Snoopy, the working principles of a mechanical clock, Oxford Town by Bob Dylan, the time when Keith Richards first heard Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis, Captain Nemo, The Kiss by Klimt, the sound of a storm, Halloween, the funeral oration for David Foster Wallace by Jonathan Franzen, the incipit of Gone with the Wind, the Titanic, Harold Lloyd hanging from the hands of a clock in Safety at Last, Doctor House, Jack Nicholson’s deranged snigger in The Shining.



Marco Vacchetti

Who is he?

Marco Vacchetti is a painter and a teacher of Italian and Latin at Liceo classico D’Azeglio (a high school focusing on humanities) of Turin.


How did he begin?

Painting. He used to make very small paintings, as big as a postcard, which mostly depicted cows grazing.


Three things he has done

He has worked in advertising. Whoever remembers about the huge blue hippo in the old TV advert of Pampers disposable nappies, should ask him to tell them about some of the anectodes on set. He directed the Master’s programme in storytelling techniques at Scuola Holden from 2000 to 2006 (when it was still called “Master’s programme”). He wrote the essay Storie dell’arte (Stories of art) published in the book series BUR – Biblioteca Universale Rizzoli (Rizzoli universal library) in 2000.


One thing to know about him

His students at Scuola Holden have nicknamed him “Dottor Divago” (Doctor “Tangeant”). Guess why…