The welfare of migrants: institutions, families and belongings in Italy (sixteenth to nineteenth centuries). (WELMIG project)

The welfare of migrants: institutions, families and belongings in Italy (sixteenth to nineteenth centuries).
(WELMIG project)

Postdoctoral project supervised by Andrea Caracausi (Dec 2022 - Dec 2025)

Beatrice Zucca Micheletto

WELMIG investigates the relationship between mobility and the welfare system in early modern and modern pre-unitarian Italy, spanning from the middle of the sixteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century. WELMIG focuses on a range of welfare institutions (charity institutions, hospitals, workhouses, welfare agencies) and exploits their historical archives across the Italian peninsula. It will collect information on the socio-economic profile of individuals and families who received assistance and/or were committed in the ordinary activities of the welfare institutions. It will adopt an intersectional approach, paying attention to gender, age, class, religion and ethnicity of recipients and of the people who revolved around these institutions. At the same time it will analyze how the hosting societies of the past organised and managed the access to local resources for newcomers and migrants, the implementation of norms and laws and the coherence (or not) between norms and practices.

WELMIG links the history of the welfare institutions to the mobility turn in social science and dialogues with a range of historiographical approaches – gender history, social history, labour history, family history. It will promote debate and exchange of ideas on the topic for academic and non-academic public with the support of the MobiLab, and with the collaboration of the University of Cambridge (Campop) and the international network WeMove (CA19112).

From Venice and Rome to Mainz: Italian Books from Humanism to Counter-Reformation in the Library of Baron Johann Christian von Boineburg

From Venice and Rome to Mainz: Italian Books from Humanism to Counter-Reformation in the Library of Baron Johann Christian von Boineburg

Postdoctoral project supervised by Paola Molino


(June 2021 - May 2022), within the PRIN project 'Books in Motion'

Gábor Gángó

The “Maecenas Germaniae,” the Baron Johann Christian von Boineburg (1622-1672) was a book collector, patron of the arts, Lord Marshal at the court of the Mainz Elector Johann Philipp von Schönborn, and not least friend and supporter of the young Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Boineburg’s private library as an encyclopaedic, with an abundant number of hand-written cross-references interconnected “database” and his extended scholarly correspondence provides the source basis for the mapping of the international network of politically, denominationally, and scholarly engaged intellectuals after the Peace of Westphalia.

Gábor Gángó’s project aims at the reconstruction of Boineburg’s role in the knowledge transfer between Germany and Italy. This research would encompass details of the acquisition, circulation, and reviewing of Italian books within his network as well as the determination of the place which science and theology that were produced in Italy occupied in Boineburg’s ever-broadening system of knowledge.

Besides, the project will focus on the issue of confessionality in Boineburg, which crystallised in a special way in his conversion. Boineburg, who received a Lutheran education in Jena and Helmstedt, was converted at the Imperial Diet of Regensburg in 1653. In the literature, his better career prospects at the court of the Mainz Elector are given as possible reasons. Here Gábor Gángó wants to overcome the previous state of research and also reveal the intellectual motives for the conversion. To this end, he will also examine the collective thought processes in Boineburg’s correspondence with other scholars. This collective communication and thought process has a lot to do with Italy and cannot be understood without the Italian context. As it will be shown on the collected source materials, impulses of the Counter-Reformation in the 17th century in general and also particularly in Boineburg’s case came from Rome.

As a result, one would be in a better position to understand, through the case study of an important German Catholic convert, the mid-17th-century reconciliation attempts between the authority of the Catholic Church and the aspirations of modern science and philosophy for the possession of true knowledge.

Marriage and Mobility in Early Modern Venice

Marriage and Mobility in Early Modern Venice (late 16th-18th Centuries) – Processetti

Postdoctoral project supervised by Jean-François Chauvard (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and Walter Panciera (Sept 2020-Aug 2022)

Teresa Bernardi

The research project explores the role played by social ties within processes of migrant identification during the early modern period. The historical and geographical background of this study are the cosmopolitan city of Venice and its domains during the seventeenth century. The research is primarily based on a specific archival source: the so called processetti matrimoniali. This documentation consists in pre-matrimonial enquiries aimed at attesting the marital status, or widowhood, of foreigners and other ‘mobile people’ who wanted to get married in Venice. The project’s hypothesis is that relying on gender as a lens of analysis, along with focusing deeply on women’s mobility, may challenge some historiographical assumptions about the very phenomena of mobility and identification: respectively, the presumed clear-cut between short and long-distance mobility; and the assumed replacement of orality – in terms of reputation and social networks –  by written documents.

This research is part of a bigger international programme funded by the French National Research Agency (ANR) and supervised by Prof. Jean-François Chauvard. The research group’s overall objective is to explore the relation between marriage and human mobility both from a qualitative and a quantitative perspective. It does so by comparing the city of Venice, the Greek World under the Venetian dominion and other cities of the Italian peninsula. Moreover, this programme will pursue the digitalization of a vast portion of the processetti in the context of the virtual research environment Geovistory ( In addition to the digital humanities, this project’s research interests thus span various fields of social, legal, and cultural history.

Forced mobility before the sovereign state. Convict flows, composite polities and the business of galley warfare in the Mediterranean (1528-1715)

Forced mobility before the sovereign state. Convict flows, composite polities and the business of galley warfare in the Mediterranean (1528-1715)

Postdoctoral project supervised by Andrea Caracausi (Jan 2020-Dec 2021)

Benoît Maréchaux

The project explores the emergence of forced convict mobility in the early modern Mediterranean. It analyzes the flows of prisoners that Genoese galley contractors working for the Spanish empire brought from different areas (such as Lombardy, Catalonia, Lucca, Naples, or Lunigiana) by collaborating with a multiplicity of stakeholders (kingdoms, cities, bishops, feudal lords, the Inquisition, military tribunals, etc.). While the literature on the history of penal transportation has often analyzed the problem from a nation-state point of view and, more specifically, as a colonial phenomenon, this research explores how a constellation of non-state actors and polities organized the transnational flows of convicts in the Mediterranean through different types of agreements, contracts and markets. By developing a new database on prisoners transported to the Genoese galleys, it also aims to reveal the social and demographic impact of forced labor mobility.  By so doing, the project discusses how forced mobility shaped Spanish polycentric empire-building, the business interests of Italian merchant-bankers and shipowners, and dramatic changes in the lives of people forced to move and to commodify their labor power as oarsmen.

BO2022: The European space. Transnational and translocal mobility

BO2022: The European space. Transnational and translocal mobility

Postdoctoral project supervised by Maria Cristina La Rocca (Jan 2019-Dec 2020)

Giulia Zornetta

Since its foundation around 1222, the University of Padua has been one of the most important stages of the peregrinatio academica. During the Middle Ages and the early modern period, wandering from one university to another was a common practice among European students, especially among the ultramontani (i.e. those coming from the other side of the Alps). Consequently, many students from both the Italian peninsula and the wider European area spent one or more years in the city to study Law, Arts and Medicine, or Theology.

This research project is part of the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the University of Padua and aims at identifying the main mobility flows of the students during the late medieval period. It takes into account both the push and pull factors and the political choices and contingencies. The project is linked to a research team currently engaged in building a database to map the academic population from the late Middle Ages to the modern period.

The space of libertas. Religious, political and intellectual freedom

The space of libertas. Religious, political and intellectual freedom

Postdoctoral project supervised by Andrea Caracausi (Jan 2019-Dec 2020)

Dennj Solera

The project aims to analyse the theme of libertas patavina, intended as an incentive to the mobility of people, knowledge and ideas towards the University of Padua, in particular between the second half of the 16th and the early 17th century, at the sunset of the University’s “Golden Age”, in the years of Galileo Galilei and Cesare Cremonini. The study focuses both on social life and on the confessional and political climate, to understand how these mobilities have contributed to create a more or less favourable context for the development of knowledge and research in the early modern age. The main goal is to understand the impact that political and institutional choices had in expanding or contracting the movement of the academic and student population and in the development of networks of knowledge useful for scientific debate. For this reason, I am implementing the database (Padua 2022) containing all the profiles of Paduan students for the 16th-18th century period, when the Counter-Reformation and the confessional divisions risked blocking the Paduan Studium.