The Vergilian Society was founded in 1937 with the following objectives: “In order . . . to celebrate the ties of culture between Italy and America, a Society has been formed in Italy and named after Vergil.” The purpose of this Society is to promote the study of Vergil by means of lectures, conferences, publications, and reports of excavation that have a bearing upon Vergil’s works. Membership is open to any person who is interested in the study of Vergil.
Amadeo Maiuri, director of the National Museum at Naples and superintendent of Campanian archaeology, was the first President. This archaeologist was renowned for his excavations of Cumae, home of the Vergilian Sibyl, and the place where the Greeks first colonized Italy. The cultural ties developed into study tours of the Cumae area, and there are now two honorary Presidents in Italy.
In 1952, the Vergilian Society took the major step of leasing from the Italian Government a magnificent Villa, the Harry Wilks Study Center at the Villa Vergiliana, situated at the northwestern corner of the Bay of Naples. In its huge grounds lies an amphitheater yet to be fully excavated. The annual Classical Summer School study programs, now in their 46th year, form an important activity of the Vergilian Society. The Cumae sessions use the Harry Wilks Study Center at the Villa Vergiliana for accommodation; the Villa is also available to visiting scholars or groups upon application to the Secretary.