Current exhibition: "Women at Ca' Foscari "
1 - Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Student Series, Student Files, Elvira Padovano.
Elvira Padovano: Born in San Giovanni Rotondo (Foggia) on 2 February 1913. She qualified as a teacher in Foggia in 1937 and enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Teaching – Foreign Languages and Literature in 1938, specialising in French. Her family was large and therefore benefited from reduced university fees. According to her family record, Elvira was the third of nine children, two of whom had died; her mother Matilde D'Errico, a housewife, was legally separated from her husband and was the head of the family.
2 - Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Student Series, Student Files, Giuliana Foscolo
Giuliana Foscolo: Born in Venice on 13 March 1913. She attended Ca' Foscari's Faculty of Arts and Teaching – Foreign Languages and Literature from 1930 to 1935, graduating in English Language and Literature in November 1935, with a dissertation entitled “Mary Webb”. Upon getting married, she changed her last name from Foscolo to Sonino. Known as “Pierina” as a partisan, she and her brothers Giuseppe and Daulo were key figures in Veneto's resistance movement: indeed, during the German occupation, Giuliana and her two children were abandoned by her Jewish husband – who had fled to Switzerland – and forced to move from Venice to the 16th-century Piloni-Foscolo villa at Castel d'Ardo, in the Belluno area. The villa had been chosen as a transit residence by the SS, but was also the site of various British and American transit missions as well as an important bulwark for the entire Belluno resistance.
3 - Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Student Series, Student Files, Ursula Hirschmann
Ursula Hirschmann: Born in Berlin on 6 September 1913 into a middle-class Jewish family. She graduated in Berlin, where she attended the first two semesters of the Faculty of Humanities. She approached communist resistance groups and in 1933; as the Nazi repression intensified, she fled to Paris, where she continued her studies in literature. In Paris, she met the young anti-fascist philosopher Eugenio Colorni.
The two fell in love and got married in Milan in 1936. That same year, the couple moved to Trieste, and Ursula enrolled in the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature in Venice, where she graduated on 30 October 1939 with top marks. During the same period, she joined the Italian anti-fascist movement together with her husband. When Eugenio Colorni was sent into exile, Ursula followed him to the island of Ventotene, where she met other anti-fascist intellectuals, notably Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi. From this meeting of ideas, the Ventotene Manifesto “for a free and united Europe” was born in 1941, which was secretly written on cigarette papers. When Ursula escaped from Ventotene, she managed to take the text of the manifesto with her. Considered by many to be the starting point of European federalism, it was widely circulated among members of the Italian resistance. Upon arriving in Milan in 1943 together with Altiero Spinelli, Ursula founded the European Federalist Movement. As a result of Eugenio Colorni being shot in Rome in 1944, Ursula married Altiero Spinelli in Switzerland. Together, the two contributed to the organisation of the first international federalist congress, which was held in Paris in 1945. In the 1960s, Ursula decided to take part in a competition for a teaching qualification, so she contacted the University of Venice to have her degree certificate corrected, in which she appeared as “Ursula Colorni”. Two years later, the University issued her with a corrected degree certificate featuring the surname “Hirschmann”. Ursula's political commitment did not end with the war: in 1975, she founded the association Femmes pour l'Europe in Brussels, which still promotes gender equality. Ursula Hirschmann died in 1991 at the age of 77.
4 - Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Student Series, Student Files, Vera Degli Alberti.
Vera Degli Alberti: Born in Pula on 6 July 1914 to an Italian family permanently living in Split. In 1937, she enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Teaching – Foreign Languages and Literature, choosing to specialise in German. In 1943, she was a resident in Venice – San Marco. She was forced to postpone her dissertation discussion, scheduled for the autumn session of the 1941-1942 academic year, until March 1943, due to health problems. On 31 March 1943, she obtained her degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, as supervised by Prof. Adriano Belli.
5 - Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Student Series, Student Files, Enrichetta Di Biase.
Enrichetta Di Biase: Born in Padua on 17 May 1920. She obtained her teaching diploma at the Royal Institute “E. Fuà Fusinato” in Padua on 15 June 1940. In the same year, she enrolled in the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature at the University of Venice, majoring in German. She lived in Via Teobaldo Ciconi 4, Padua, and died with her whole family following an air raid on 8 February 1944. A few days later, her fellow students told the rector of Ca' Foscari the news.
6 – Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Student Series, Student Files, Natalia Todesco.
Natalia Todesco: Born in Villadelconte, in the province of Padua, on 4 March 1921. Her father Pietro was a municipal doctor; when she enrolled in the Faculty of Arts and Teaching – Foreign Languages and Literatures in 1939, choosing to specialise in German, she was already an elementary school teacher. She asked for exemption from university fees by virtue of belonging to a large family.
7 - Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Rectorate series, photo No. 115.
Photograph extracted from the Rector's Series and taken in Venice, Ca' Foscari: University Institute of Economics and Commerce, during the examination session of November 1937. The photograph depicts the ten professors forming part of the degree commission; in the centre, Rector Agostino Lanzillo can be seen examining a young woman, who turns to look at the camera. Three women sit in the audience with their backs turned to the camera. The percentage of women enrolled in this academic year was 26%1.
1 De Rossi, R. et al. (2005), Le donne di Ca' Foscari, percorsi di emancipazione. Studentesse ed insegnanti tra 19 e 21 secolo, Venice, Ca' Foscari University, 2005, p. 85.
8 -Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Rectorate series, photo No. 69.
Photograph extracted from the Rectorate Series and taken in Venice, Ca' Foscari: Aula Magna or Aula degli Atti Accademici, now Aula Baratto. The grandstand is packed with young men in uniform wearing bicorn hats for the inauguration of the 1939-1940 Academic Year of the University Institute of Economics and Commerce. In those years, the percentage of women enrolled at Ca' Foscari was 36% 2
2lvi, p. 77.
9 - Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Rectorate series, photo No. 53.
Photograph extracted from the Rectorate Series and taken at Ca' Dolfin, Aula Magna. Shot showing part of the audience: young students, some of whom are wearing bicorn hats, attend a ceremony – most likely the inauguration of an academic year at the University Institute of Economics and Commerce and Foreign Languages and Literature (now Ca' Foscari University of Venice) officiated by Rector Italo Siciliano. The photograph is not dated; it was probably taken between 1961 and 1971, respectively the year when the Aula Magna of Ca' Dolfin began to be used for the inauguration of the academic year, which was also the last year of Professor Italo Siciliano as Rector. The percentage of women enrolled at Ca' Foscari in the years 1961-1971 was between 31% and 43% 3 .
10 - Ca' Foscari Historical Archive, Fradeletto Album, p. 20 and p. 40.
The Fradeletto Album is a collection of photographs with dedications and cards of appreciation received on the occasion of the celebrations for Antonio Fradeletto's 40th year of teaching in 1920, organised by the Associazione Antichi Studenti (Association of Former Students). Antonio Fradeletto was a professor of Literature at Ca' Foscari and the first Secretary General of the Venice Biennale.
The album contains several portraits and photographs of women who formed part of Fradeletto and Ca' Foscari's circle. The displayed page includes photographs of Elena Luxardo and Nuccia Data. The former was a French language student who graduated in 1906; the latter, Nuccia Data, graduated in Accountancy in 1909, a course of study with an even lower percentage of female students than that in Languages. The promotional volume that the Royal School presented at the Turin Exhibition in 1911 reads that “Ms. Nuccia Data” used to teach Business Mathematics at the Royal Technical School in Pisa.
On page 40 of the Fradeletto Album is a photograph of Vittoria Agazzi, the first woman student to enrol at the Higher School of Commerce in Venice, thirty-two years after its foundation in 1868. Vittoria Agazzi was admitted in April 1901, with registration number 1007, to the 1900/1901 academic year. Of Venetian origin, she was born on 3 November 1882, was home-schooled and entered directly in the third year of the Languages faculty in order to specialise in English, as well as in the first year of the Italian literature course. In July 1905, she was awarded a licence from the Languages Section, and a qualification to teach English in November of the same year. Vittoria Agazzi was also the first woman to be admitted to the Association of Former Students of the Royal Higher School of Commerce in Venice, becoming a member on 11 July 1905.
11 - Ca' Foscari Historical Fund – BG P U 54711, Bollettino Antichi Studenti No. 72.
Association of Former Students of the Royal Higher School of Commerce in Venice, Bulletin No. 72: group photograph showing the School's teaching staff and employees in 1919/1923. Olga Blumenthal is in the second row, between Professors Orsi and Zanzucchi. Olga Blumenthal was a lecturer in German at the Royal Institute of Economics and Commerce. On 30 October 1944, she was arrested and deported to the Nazi concentration camp in Ravensbruck, where she died on 24 February 1945.
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May 2021 - January 2022
|Women at Ca'Foscari|
February 2020 - May 2021
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June 2019 - April 2020
|Two Antique Portolan Charts|
|Statistics at Ca’ Foscari: Debate, Research and Teaching|
May 2018 - December 2018
|Ca’ Foscari’s Centenary: 1868 - 1968|
August 2017 - April 2018
|Feliciano Benvenuti for the centenary of his birth|
October 2016 - July 2017
April - November 2016
|Ca' Foscari Illustrious guests|
November 2015-March 2016
|Birth of the Royal School of Commerce|