Introduction to Gender in Renaissance Italy

Internal virtues, including gender characteristics, were believed to be communicated through outward appearance. Ideal Representative of Masculinity and Femininity In a pair of portraits painted by the Venetian artist Titian (see above), the Duke and Duchess of Urbino are presented as ideal representatives of their sexes. Duke Francesco Maria della Rovere, the great mercenary captain,[…]

Prehistoric Italian Rock Drawings of Valcamonica

The first appearance of these drawings can be dated back to the age of Epipaleolithic (20000-1000 BP). Introduction The rock drawings of Valcamonica are prehistoric petroglyphs carved in the glacier-polished, grey-purple Permian sandstone of the Camonica valley that extends for 90 km in the Italian provinces of Brescia and Bergamo in Lombardy. The name of[…]

Guelphs vs. Ghibellines: Medieval Division between Papal and Imperial Support

The division between the Guelphs and Ghibellines in Italy, fueled by the imperial Great Interregnum, persisted until the 15th century. Introduction The Guelphs and Ghibellines were factions supporting the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, respectively, in the Italian city-states of central and northern Italy. During the 12th and 13th centuries, rivalry between these two[…]

Why the Axis Powers Were Called the Axis Powers

Italian dictator Benito Mussolini declared an axis between Berlin and Rome, coining a term that would be used by both sides in WWII. By Jason Daley In 1936, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini gave a speech in Milan celebrating a new treaty of friendship with Germany and a political realignment of Italy. “This Berlin-Rome protocol is[…]

The Language of the Ancient Etruscans

Etruscan was a relatively isolated language not connected with the Indo-European languages of Italy. By Mark CartwrightHistorian Introduction The language of the Etruscans, like the people themselves, has remained somewhat mysterious and has yet to be fully understood. The alphabet used a western Greek script, but the language has presented difficulties to scholars because it[…]

Fascismo: Italian Fascism under Benito Mussolini, 1922-1943

Fascism in Italy was strongly identified with the cult of Mussolini and with the idea, even with the idolization, of the “state.” Introduction Italian Fascism (in Italian, fascismo) was the authoritarian political movement which ruled Italy from 1922 to 1943 under the leadership of Benito Mussolini. German Nazism, under Adolf Hitler, was inspired by Italian[…]

A History of the Republic of Venice from the Early Middle Ages

According to tradition, the original population consisted of refugees from nearby Roman cities. Introduction The Republic of Venice (Venetian: Repùblica Vèneta; Italian: Repubblica di Venezia), traditionally known as the Most Serene Republic of Venice (Venetian: Serenìsima Repùblica Vèneta; Italian: Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia), was a sovereign state and maritime republic in northeastern Italy, which existed[…]

Torcello: Tracing the First Settlers of the Venetian Lagoon

Examining who they were and why they started settling in this (at first sight) illogical location. Introduction Venice was one of the most powerful empires in maritime history. It is now a leading tourist attraction and a must-visit for anyone interested in history and cross-cultural influence. People are drawn to this picturesque city to see the canals, ride gondolas, taste[…]

The Emergence of Anarchist Violence in Late-19th Century Italy

Italian nationalists carried out a string of attentats as assassination entered the anarchists’ toolkit. By Eric Laursen After an anarchist and former steel worker named Leon Czolgosz assassinated President William McKinley in September 1901, McKinley’s successor, Theodore Roosevelt, in his first message to Congress, offered his own characterization of “the anarchist.” It ought to sound[…]

Titian’s ‘Pastoral Concert’: A New Genre in Renaissance Italy

This genre became one of the most important artistic contributions of Renaissance Venice. Farewell, peoples and cities. The countryside will offer delightful displays for my eyes. Jacopo Sannazaro, Elegies, Book 1, Poem II, line 24 I know that then my verses will appear/ unpolished and dark, but I hope that even so/ they will be[…]

Italy’s Erotic Revolution in Renaissance Art Joined the Lusty to the Divine

There was a split between the pure ideal and base reality, between sacred and profane love. In the Sistine Chapel, you look up at Michelangelo’s Last Judgment and see muscular angels hurtling through space, nude or with just a scrap of cloth tight across their buttocks (Figure 1, above). Then after leaving the Vatican, you[…]

Remembering the Allied Liberation of Rome in 1944

Amid the anniversary of the D-Day invasion, it is important to note, too, the anniversary of an event that unfolded just two days earlier: the Allied liberation of Rome. By Gregory Sumner Amid the justifiable hoopla this week surrounding the launch of the D-Day invasion, it is important to note, too, the anniversary of an event[…]

The Sicilian Mafia during the Mussolini Regime

In June 1924, Mussolini instructed Cesare Mori to eradicate the Mafia from Sicily. The Sicilian Mafia was less active during the era of Fascist Italy and it was fought by Benito Mussolini’s government. In June 1924, Mussolini instructed Cesare Mori to eradicate the Mafia from Sicily and on October 25, 1925, appointed Mori prefect of the Sicilian capital, Palermo. In 1924, Mussolini initiated a campaign to destroy[…]

Benito Mussolini’s Rise to Power in Fascist Italy

The ideological basis for fascism came from a number of sources. Formation of the National Fascist Party By the time he returned from service in the Allied forces of World War I, very little remained of Mussolini the socialist. Indeed, he was now convinced that socialism as a doctrine had largely been a failure. In 1917 Mussolini[…]

The Fall of Mussolini

By Dr. Christopher DugganHistorian The announcement on the radio later that evening that the ‘Duce’ had fallen brought crowds pouring into the streets and piazzas. Joy was mixed with anger. Photographs of Mussolini were tossed from windows; symbols of the fascist party were hacked off buildings; and pavements everywhere were littered with party insignia torn[…]

The Politics of Aesthetics: Mussolini and Fascist Italy

Power has forever been entwined with a symbolic apparatus in charge of representing it. Power has forever been entwined with a symbolic apparatus in charge of representing it.  From Louis the XIV in France to Queen Victoria in England, images and rituals have served to strengthen people’s connections to governing institutions; symbols and rites make[…]

Government and Social Structure in Medieval Italian City-States

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, urban settlements in Italy generally enjoyed a greater continuity than in the rest of western Europe. Introduction The Italian city-states were a political phenomenon of small independent states mostly in the central and northern Italian Peninsula between the 9th and the 15th centuries. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, urban[…]

After 100 Years, Mussolini’s Fascist Party Is a Reminder of Freedom’s Fragility

It was 100 years ago this month that Benito Mussolini created the fascist party in Italy. Today, his life offers cautionary lessons for contemporary politics. One hundred years ago, in March 1919, Benito Mussolini created the fascist party in Italy. For more than two decades, when he came to be known as “Il Duce,” or “the leader,”[…]

A History of Italian Citizenship Laws during the Era of the Monarchy (1861-1946)

The evolution of Italian citizenship from political unification to the end of the Second World War. By Dr. Luca BussottiInternational Studies Centre, ISCTE/IUL, Lisbon Abstract This article aims to present the evolution of Italian citizenship from political unification to the end of the Second World War, which in Italy corresponds with the end of the[…]

From Migrant Food to Lifestyle Cooking: The Career of Italian Cuisine in Europe

Examining the reception of Italian cuisine in Europe with the early modern and modern movement of migrants and tourists. Abstract In recent decades, Italian cuisine has had a greater impact upon the development of eating habits than any other national cuisine. Spaghetti, pizza, tiramisù und espresso are ubiquitous in Europe and North America. This article[…]

Emigration Across the Atlantic: Irish, Italians and Swedes Compared, 1800–1950

Examining scale of emigration, the reasons behind emigrants’ departure, the various origins and destinations, and the attitudes in sender and receiver states. Abstract Emigration across the Atlantic by Europeans during the 19th and 20th centuries, and especially during the so-called age of mass European migration from 1850 to 1914, forms a key part of Europe’s recent[…]

The Italian Renaissance: A Classical Rebirth

Introduction Art, literature, and architecture are forms of expression. These forms of expression often communicate what is happening during certain periods in time. Have you ever heard the word Renaissance? The word Renaissance means“rebirth” and comes from both the French and Latin languages. This word Renaissance describes a cultural movement that began in what is[…]