Rustic figurines of a resigned-looking Virgin clutching her child may have no obvious literary or artistic merit to us today. But understanding what they meant to the spiritual lives of their owners can offer a glimpse of the human hopes and fears that people have, for centuries, invested in inanimate objects.
Hailed as “one of the most important artists in any medium”, the award-winning and Oscar-nominated Italian documentary filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi is coming to Cambridge this month as filmmaker-in-residence at Cambridge University’s Centre for Film and Screen.
The trappings of violence were embedded into the culture of 16th century Europe. Victoria Bartels, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of History, has conducted research in a Florentine archive to show how, even at a time when the bearing of arms was prohibited, men negotiated ways to sport their daggers and swords in public.
With the autumn 2014 fashion shows in full swing, all eyes are on the top designers. In 16th-century Italy, the latest looks didn't always go down well with the authorities. Historian Giulia Galastro is researching the sumptuary laws regulating the level of opulence that could be paraded in public – and how the dandies of the day neatly side-stepped the rules.
Some of the world’s oldest engravings of the human form – prehistoric rock art from the Italian Alps – have been brought to life by the latest digital technology at Cambridge University's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
A Butler Day at St John’s College tomorrow (12 January) celebrates the many trips to Italy undertaken by the polymath Samuel Butler, author of Erewhon. The event comprises an exhibition and talks which are open to the public and free of charge.
As the birthplace of Fascism – and both ally and victim of Nazi Germany – Italy presents a particularly complex case study of how countries came to terms with the catastrophic events of the Holocaust after the war. Robert Gordon’s new book charts the cultural fault lines that emerged as it slowly learned to acknowledge its part in the tragedy.
An ancient Italian town whose remains are buried beneath the earth has been mapped by a team of researchers, revealing evidence of a bustling social and economic settlement 1,500 years ago.
Sunshine equals ice cream. Food historians have long portrayed ice cream as a luxury product confined to the elite until freezing technology brought it to the masses. Now research by Cambridge University historian Dr Melissa Calaresu suggests that in Italy iced products were enjoyed by rich and poor alike as long as 300 years ago.