The Oxford Italian Association was created by Professor John Woodhouse and Dorothy Rowe in June 1990 in order to celebrate the generous endowment by the Agnelli Foundation, which re-established the Chair of Italian. The Association was also meant to fill a need, never previously met in Oxford, for a local cultural association of people interested in all aspects of Italian life. A knowledge of Italian is not necessary, and members are typically people who are fond of Italian language and literature, art and music, Italian food and wine; people who like visiting the country, or speaking and learning Italian; people of Italian nationality, and students living in the area.

TOIA meetings and events are usually conducted in English. One of our aims is social contact, and we almost always serve wine and soft drinks at our meetings to encourage members to get to know each other.