He is internationally recognized as one of the most influential students of aphasia of all times. As fully appropriate for someone who would make of language his primary, lifelong interest, Luigi’s early background was multilingual. He came from a Genoese family, but was born in French-speaking MEK inhibitor Montecarlo, and was educated in Italy, in the United States and in Brazil. He graduated in Medicine in 1959 with a thesis on aphasia at the University of Milan, under the supervision of Ennio De Renzi, and went on to study neurology there. From then on Milan remained his home, with some intermissions in Paris,
where he worked with Francois Lhermitte at the Centre du Langage of La Salpetriere, and in Boston, where he started a lifelong collaboration and friendship with Norman Geschwind and Deepak Pandya. He was one of the first oversea members of the Academy of Aphasia, and one of the original driving forces behind the International Neuropsychological Symposium. In the
eighties he became Director of the Neurological Department of the University of Brescia Medical School, a position he held until his retirement. If one has to choose among Luigi’s scientific achievements, the first mention is Lumacaftor research buy probably deserved by the Token test. The principles of the test and some early findings were communicated in the first post-war joint meeting of the British and Italian neurological societies, and were then published with Ennio de Renzi in a paper in Brain (1962), which has been cited more than 1200 times.
Additional, fundamental contributions are the language rehabilitation studies, the fruits of a long standing collaboration with Anna Basso and Erminio Capitani, and the anatomical papers reporting his work in Deepak Pandya’s Lab in Boston. Luigi was very amused by the introduction of the eponym Vignolo’s syndrome by one of his mentors, Arthur Benton, to designate the presence of two Gerstmann’s syndrome deficits (agraphia and acalculia) in combination with anomia and constructional apraxia (1992). Luigi has been a great mentor, even if he did not approve the academic use of Coproporphyrinogen III oxidase the term (too “ancien régime” for his taste). He trained many students during his long career, and to many of them he transmitted his passionate interest for language and its disorders. The trademark comment about him, both from old friends and occasional acquaintances, was always “a true gentleman” (“un vero signore” in Italian). He enjoyed art, in particular music, was deeply involved in contemporary affairs and in politics, and was a citizen of the world. His wisdom and knowledge, his humour and kindness will be badly missed by many. Luigi Vignolo (centre) pictured with friends and colleagues at his retirement party in Lerici, Italy, in September 2005.