Pietro Grilli di Cortona, President of the Società Italiana di Scienza Politica (SISP), passed away during the night between 15 and 16 July 2015 at the age of just 61. Maurizio Cotta summed up his scholarly and human qualities very effectively at the SISP conference held in September 2015 at the University of Calabria. Pietro Grilli was reserved but friendly, sociable and wholeheartedly engaged with his inimitable style and elegance in a host of social, academic and institutional relations. Practically everyone who came into contact with him appreciated his style, elegance, affability and reliability.
When Italian Political Science asked us to edit an issue in his memory, our feelings of honour and emotion were combined with a certain degree of embarrassment at having to choose among many people at least as capable as we are of offering memories that highlight Pietro’s scholarly, human and social characteristics. In the end, we opted for what we believe to be the criterion on which we were ourselves chosen as editors, namely close involvement in his academic activities over the last few years. The subjects addressed − processes of transition from totalitarian regime to democratization, historical legacy, comparative analysis, relations between state and nation, bureaucracy, political parties and the democratic crisis − encapsulate the central points of his studies. Following these paths, we asked Maurizio Cotta, Antonio Agosta, Leonardo Morlino, Luca Lanzalaco, Giampiero Cama, Rosalba Chiarini, Luca Germano, Antonino Castaldo and our Argentinian colleagues María Matilde Ollier, Osvaldo Iazzetta and Hugo Quiroga to contribute a personal and scholarly memory of Pietro.
They all agreed with enthusiasm and conviction, and it is with equally great enthusiasm and gratitude that we thank them while apologising at the same time to all the other friends and colleagues who would have been willing and able to contribute to this initiative.