What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests?
I am from Padua and studied history in Venice. At Ca' Foscari I taught Economic History in the former Faculty of Economics and I am currently Professor of Modern History at the Department of Humanities. Besides Modern History, I teach courses in Economic and Social History, Global History, History of Military Institutions and History of Venice.
My research is partly related to the subjects I teach, as I am working on economic history between the late Middle Ages and the modern age (especially the history of finance, commercial institutions), military history (soldiers, their recruitment, organisation and morale). The period I am interested in goes from the Middle Ages to the Great War, and I am currently setting up a comparative study of conflicts that were fought in Korea, Northern Europe and Hungary at the end of the 16th century. The history of Venice is another major field of research, which I have been pursuing since my dissertation.
What are you most passionate about in your research?
Historical research is fascinating because it forces us to paint a realistic picture of the past with very few colours. It is a continuous challenge with the evidence that has come down to us (written documents of all kinds, images, physical remains, environmental structures...) which constantly questions the results we have obtained and which we believe to be final. This is true of any discipline, but history forces us to attack the problem from several angles, trying to rebuild the past in its entirety (even though we know that this is not possible). The various tools that historians use are thus also extremely useful to analyse, as far as possible, our present, because they let us grasp its extraordinary complexity.
What do teaching and researching mean to you?
Research and teaching are inseparable. Combining specific interests and key topics in lectures is not always easy, but different approaches and different points of view can converge to raise new questions, propose doubts and put forward hypotheses. After all, presenting students with some aspects of your own research requires you to clarify - first and foremost to yourself - issues and speculations. But the most important point is the transmission of knowledge, which is achieved through teaching, but is subject to continuous testing. A history class must mainly raise doubts, challenging students to question what they are told. If they leave the classroom puzzled and doubtful - hopefully not because of my teaching inability - then the goal has been achieved.