Founded in March 2007, the Institute of Italian Studies (ISI) is directed by Carlo Ossola. Established in the only Italian-speaking university outside of Italy, ISI has the aim of strengthening the university’s commitment to the Italian language, literature, and culture. The study of the Italian language and literature develops through a constant dialogue with arts and history. The Institute has launched a Master , a PhD and, in the academic year 2012-2013, a Bachelor program in Italian Literature and Culture, inviting lecturers from Switzerland, Italy and wider Europe, who themselves embody, throughout their research path, the parable of a "language sweet and flavoursome, built with the sounds of solidarity" (O. Mandelštam, 1933). In collaboration with ISA (Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture, Academy of Architecture USI), ISI coordinates the "Scuola dottorale confederale in Civiltà italiana". This joint graduate school has been founded in 2013 and integrates the courses for PhD students proposed by the Institute.
ISI promotes Italian studies also by organizing cycles of lectures (Lectura Dantis, Qui e Ora), theater performances (Per voce sola), cinema shows (Storie e confini) and book presentations.