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Daily Life in Renaissance and Baroque Italian Cities


Value half unit


Prof Sandra Cavallo


Taught through weekly lectures and weekly follow-up seminars


2-hour exam (60%), best one of two coursework essays (30%), oral presentation (10%)

The Italian Renaissance is conventionally portrayed as a period characterized by an extraordinary cultural and artistic renewal, an unprecedented economic prosperity and the experimentation of republican forms of government unique in Europe. This course will verify the validity of this picture by focusing on the experience of town-dwellers in the city-states of Northern and Central Italy between 1350 and 1650. It will explore the extent to which women, workers and religious minorities participated in these developments, and ask whether the ideals of equality and self-government promoted by the city-state really widened political participation and reduced social divisions. The course will also assess the impact that prolonged warfare, the formation of regional states and the policy of the Counter-Reformation had on various spheres of people’s lives, namely on: crime and violence, artistic expression, marriage, prostitution and concubinage, female convents, the employment of slaves, the use of magic.


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