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First Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[20/44]  HISTORY AND SOCIETY [44/00 - Ord. 2016]  PERCORSO COMUNE 12 60


The student will acquire skills in the field of economic history of medieval Italy, perceiving the centuries-old evolution of urban and rural population, agricultural landscapes, forms of management and management of land, attitudes to capital investment, organization of the work in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors. The student will also become aware of what a historical source is, how and why it was produced and, above all, preserved. It will therefore be considered the documentary heritage present in the major Italian archives and their European significance for the continent's economic history.
In the second part of the course the student will acquire skills in the field of the history of commerce and early medieval finance, understanding the distant origin of today's phenomena and practices: from the structure of business companies to banks, from the organization of port activities to that of manufacturing, from the deployment of market logic to the attempts of the nascent states to condition them. At the same time, the student will learn to identify in the behavior, moral and social consideration of the medieval merchant peculiar characteristics that make it similar but also very different from the businessman of the following centuries.


A good knowledge of European medieval history and a quite familiarity in managing historical sources.


In the first part dedicated to the medieval economic history of Italy (V-XV centuries), the course aims to provide a critical and methodologically in-depth knowledge of low-medieval Italian economic history. The salient phenomena will therefore be those linked to the long economic and demographic crisis of the post-imperial Italian society, to the insertion of a part of the Peninsula in the orbit of the so-called Curtense system (while the other places itself on the outskirts of the Byzantine and Islamic worlds) , the centuries-old process of generalized growth (in agriculture, in manufacturing and in the tertiary sector) which has its peak of the decades at the turn of the century, at the so-called late medieval crisis.
In the second part dedicated to Italian merchants in the Middle Ages (XII-XV centuries), the course aims to analyze the activities of commerce, banking and urban manufactures. In particular, we will focus on the figure of the merchant, a businessman operating in large spaces and a myriad of productive activities, as it is affirming first in the port cities (Venice, Genoa and Pisa), then in the cities of the interior ( Siena, Florence, Milan, etc.). To do this we will proceed on a double track: on the one hand the punctual and contextualized analysis of the documentation apt to study the phenomenon, on the other the scrutiny of Italian and international historiography that since the early twentieth century has been interested in the history of Italian businessman between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries.

Teaching Methods

The teaching will be delivered primarily in presence, integrated and "augmented" with online strategies, in order to ensure its use in an innovative and inclusive way.

Verification of learning

- methods of examination
oral exam (with at least 3 questions on general topics), with possible written test for attending students

- criteria for assigning the final grade

in the oral test the following elements will be taken into account:
• ability to frame the topic especially in a chronological and geographical sense,
• ability to distinguish a fundamental notion from a complementary one,
• expressive mastery and use of appropriate terminology,
• Critical processing of concepts

in the written test the following elements will be taken into account:
• ability to write and argue synthetically, without going off topic
• grammatically and syntactically correct writing using an appropriate terminology,
• ability to delineate a clear conducting logic and critical elaboration of concepts


Part A

1) Storia del lavoro in Italia. Il Medioevo, a cura di F. FRANCESCHI, Roma, Castelvecchi, 2017.

2) A. CORTONESI – L. PALERMO, La prima espansione economica europea, Roma, Carocci, 2009 and subsequent editions.

3A) For attending scholars: historical documents read and commented at lesson.

3B) For NON attending scholars: La crescita economica dell’Occidente medievale. Un tema storico non ancora esaurito, Roma, Viella, 2017, only pp. 1-46, 93-136, 161-174, 221-254, 383-407, 423-445.

Part B

1) M. TANGHERONI, Commercio e navigazione nel Medioevo, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1996.

2) P. SPUFFORD, Il mercante nel Medioevo. Potere e profitto, Roma, Libreria dello Stato - Istituto poligrafico e Zecca dello Stato, 2005.

3A) For attending scholars: historical documents read and commented at lesson.

3B) For NON attending scholars: L. TRAVAINI, Monete e storia nell'Italia medievale, Roma, Libreria dello stato - istituto poligrafico e zecca dello stato, 2007.

Foreign students (Erasmus, non-European Mobility) can ask for a Bibliography in other languages, if their language skills are not good enough to carry out their studies in Italian. For specific information they should address an e-mail to

More Information

The reception will be held at office 110, third floor central body Sa Duchessa. Professor Tognetti will communicate the reception times on his internet page every month. You can always write to and arrange an online reception.

Questionnaire and social

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