The article by Dr Davies on Italian universities (THES, April 26) raises some well-taken points, which are being widely discussed in Italy.
However it contains a very serious imprecision, which I would like to correct.
Foreign (including United Kingdom) professors have exactly the same rights as the Italian ones (salary, workload and tenure, etc.). Actually, a foreigner may have a somewhat easier access to full-time positions provided a faculty wants to hire him.
The lettori or, as Dr Davies calls them with a decidedly misleading word, "lecturers" have not the status of university professor.
They are hired on a part-time basis to teach the language, and hence they have to be foreign-born, as a support to official courses in Lingua e Letteratura, which may be imparted by an Italian or by a foreigner.
I am pretty sure that Dr Davies knows the differences very well.
GIOVANNI FEDERICO Universita di Pisa