What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests?
I graduated in Roman History in 1992 at Ca' Foscari; although I studied at an excellent grammar school, I discovered Roman history at university, thanks to the engaging classes of my teacher, Giovannella Cresci. Political history was my first research interest, which I approached with my dissertation and then with my PhD at La Sapienza University of Rome. Over time I have approached different moments of Roman politics, with a particular focus on late republic and the high empire, an important moment of institutional transition: dissent in the Augustan age; political communication in its various forms, including especially leaders' speeches; the new protagonists of politics: the 'new men' without illustrious ancestors but endowed with skills, especially military, and matrons. At the same time, I have also developed research interests in the ways in which historical memory evolves in historiography. My lectures at Ca' Foscari reflect the structure of my research: Roman History for the Bachelor's Degree Programmes; Roman Historiography and History of Women in the Roman World for Master's Degree Programmes.
What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
I have a job that I have always wanted to do, which is very demanding but also gives me great satisfaction. Some of it is linked to recurring episodes in my teaching activity: my undergraduates, when they produce original results and make a contribution to the progress of research; my students in the first three-year Roman History course, who approach the subject for the first time and are sometimes forced by the syllabus, and then discover an unexpected interest and choose to include the advanced course in their studies; my students in the master's courses, when their research gives rise to real scientific discussions in the classroom; the appreciation of my students, which translated into the Teaching Award I won in 2014. But I also remember specific moments: the different stages of my career; being invited to international conferences where I could discuss with colleagues that I consider masters in my discipline; the reviews of some of my books, as for my last monograph Le custodi del potere (“The Holders of Power”), in newspapers and magazines, a sign that a wide audience is interested in my research. To conclude, I would like to mention a position at my university, the orientation delegation given to me by Rector Bugliesi and now reconfirmed by Rector Lippiello, a position that matches my interest in students and which I see as a token of appreciation for my work and trust.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
I think that teaching at university and researching are, and must be, two closely related activities. Teaching at the university, especially in Master's Degree courses, brings the results of research into the classroom, providing in-depth and up-to-date education for students, towards whom, as tomorrow's citizens, the university has an important responsibility. Research is the tool to learn and understand: I work in Roman history and my main focus is on that, but understanding the ancient world is a way to decode many of the situations and processes of the present, which is the legacy of that world.