Giovannella Cresci
Roman History

What do you teach at Ca’ Foscari? What are your main research interests?
I was born in Pisa, graduated in Genoa, live in Turin and work in Venice. I teach Roman History and Latin Epigraphy. I have studied and will keep studying the transition from the republic to the principate in ancient Rome because I like to investigate transitional phases in history, where political ideas meet and compete (and conflict) according to patterns that open up to change and the future. My true love, however, is Latin epigraphy, through which I come into direct contact with micro-histories of the past.

What led you to pursue a research career?
I graduated in Genoa in Literature and then in History (at the time it was a new degree programme and the PhD did not exist yet); I taught in Turin in secondary schools and high schools (from rundown schools in the suburbs to elite schools in the city centre) and it was a very important life and educational experience for me. I was a scholarship holder of the National Research Council of Italy for three years, a researcher in Ancient History at the University of Turin for ten years, and then I arrived as associate professor at Ca’ Foscari where I have been teaching for almost 35 years, and for 20 years as a full professor.

What has given you the greatest satisfaction in your career?
Students' appreciation (when I manage to earn it); the success of the textbook I wrote with two of my students and where I put years and years of teaching experience; the scientific cooperation (and friendship) with some colleagues, partners in work and life; the passion for studying the ancient world (when I manage to pass it on to my audience).

Have you always known that this was going to be your path?
No. After finishing high school, I applied to join the police, but they didn't recruit women at that time and I was told no. I enrolled in Literature because it was a programme that I could follow while working (I started working when my parents died, when I was 15). I fell in love with Ancient History because I met lecturers who ignited the spark of passion in me.

What do teaching and researching mean to you?
It means enjoying the privilege of having a wonderful job that combines the joy of scientific discovery with the opportunity (and duty) to share the results.

Can you offer any advice to researchers in the early stages of their career?
Have fun, be passionate, don't show off, learn from others, try to be useful to those you work with, think for yourself.

Last update: 20/07/2023