In 1966, with a Masters in Economics from the Bocconi University of Milan, I won a two-year Harkness fellowship that had several appealing features (it was prestigious and hard to get, it required foreign students to make a three months trip all around the U.S., and let winners choose where to study). I chose Berkeley because it had an impressive sociological faculty, an active student movement, and I wished to discuss with Smelser my translation and my introduction to the Italian edition of Parsons'-Smelser's Economy and Society. I had planned to spend the second year at Harvard, but I was so happy in Berkeley that I spent all the time there.
I finished my introduction to Economy and Society, I took a Masters Degree in Sociology and the Ph.D.orals and started working for my Ph.D. dissertation on Structural Contradictions and Organizational Response in American Higher Education. I did many other things, such as getting to know the complexities of American society, participating in antiwar marches, making several good friends among Berkeley students and professors, writing the first essay on Gramsci's thought ever to appear in a U.S. sociological journal -- the Berkeley Journal of Sociology, etc.
I came back to Berkeley, San Francisco and the Bay Area with my wife and son in 1972, 1973, 1974, 1981,1990 for a few months each year -- as visiting scholar at the Institute of International studies -- and a few other times on shorter trips. Berkeley's intellectual style left an imprint on my way of teaching and the way I conduct research and on my continuous effort to combine scholarly rigor and social responsibility.
My committment to international scientific cooperation in the International Sociological Association, my research interests, the academic path I took (Professor of Sociology and Political Science, and Dean of the School of Political and Social Sciences at the University of Milan), have all been in various degrees influenced by my experience at Berkeley.