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Elena Cornaro Piscopia – About the Difficulties to Receive a PhD in a Male Dominated Academia

Elena Cornaro Piscopia – About the Difficulties to Receive a PhD in a Male Dominated Academia

On June 25, 1678, Venetian philosopher of noble descent Elena Cornaro Piscopia, was the first woman to receive a Doctor of Philosophy degree. An extraordinary Child Elena Cornaro Piscopia was the fifth of seven children of the procurator of San Marco (Sestiere di Venezia), Gianbattista Corner, and his later wife Zanetta Boni. Her intellectual ability was noticed early, wherefore the local priest encouraged her family to enable Piscopia a formal education. She was then…
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Lucrezia Borgia – Femme Fatale or Political Tool?

Lucrezia Borgia – Femme Fatale or Political Tool?

On June 24, 1519, Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of Pope Alexander VI, and Vannozza dei Cattanei, passed away. Lucrezia’s family later came to epitomize the ruthless Machiavellian politics and sexual corruption alleged to be characteristic of the Renaissance Papacy. Lucrezia was cast as a femme fatale, a role she has been portrayed as in many artworks, novels, and films. The extent of her complicity in the political machinations of her family is…
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Giacomo Casanova and his Underestimated Literary Legacy

Giacomo Casanova and his Underestimated Literary Legacy

On June 4, 1798, Italian adventurer and author Giacomo Girolamo Casanova passed away. Although being famous or almost notorious because of his frequent and elaborate love affairs, he also is considered to be a brilliant author. His autobiography ‘Histoire de ma vie‘ (The Story of my Life), is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century. Being associated with European…
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Pico della Mirandola and the 900 Theses

Pico della Mirandola and the 900 Theses

On February 24, 1463, Italian Renaissance philosopher Count Giovanni Pico della Mirandola was born. He is famous for, when at the age of 23, he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy and magic against all comers, for which he wrote the famous Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been called the “Manifesto of the Renaissance“, and a key text of Renaissance humanism and of what has…
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The Galileo Affair

The Galileo Affair

On February 13, 1633, Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome and was brought before the inquisitor Vincenzo Maculani to be charged for his defence of the Copernican theory in his writings. In the course of the trial, Galilei was found guilty and sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life. All in all, Galileo is a frequent guest in our blog. Besides his life, we have already reported about his astronomical…
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Giovanni Palestrina and the Beauty of Polyphony

Giovanni Palestrina and the Beauty of Polyphony

On February 2, 1594, Italian Renaissance composer of sacred music Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina passed away. He is the best-known 16th-century representative of the Roman School of musical composition and has had a lasting influence on the development of church music. His work has often been seen as the culmination of Renaissance polyphony. The Origins of Polyphony The origins of polyphony are assumed in the European vocal music of the late Medieval Era.…
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Federico Fellini – Realist of the Fantastic

Federico Fellini – Realist of the Fantastic

On January 20, 1920, Italian film director and screenwriter Federico Fellini was born. Known for his distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images with earthiness, he is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. “All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” — Federico Fellini, in The Atlantic (December 1965) Early Years Federico Fellini was the first of three children to be born…
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Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

Umberto Eco and The Name of the Rose

On January 5, 1932, Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, literary critic, and successful novelist Umberto Eco was born. He is best known for his groundbreaking historical mystery novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose), an intellectual mystery combining semiotics in fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies and literary theory. I have read ‘The Name of the Rose‘, when I was just 20 years of age, and ever since I am a…
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Giuseppe Piazzi and the Discovery of Dwarf Planet Ceres

Giuseppe Piazzi and the Discovery of Dwarf Planet Ceres

On January 1, 1801, Italian Catholic priest of the Theatine order, mathematician, and astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi discovered Ceres, today known as the largest member of the asteroid belt. We already had several articles on almost all the planets of the Solar System, including the dwarf planets. [14] As you might know, our Solar System does not only comprise the Sun and the planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. Besides…
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Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Master Architect and Sculptor of the Italian Baroque

Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Master Architect and Sculptor of the Italian Baroque

On December 7, 1598, Italian architect and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini was born. He is considered to be the leading sculptor of the baroque age. In addition he designed buildings, painted, wrote plays, and designed metalwork and stage sets. Whenever you are be in Rome, for sure you will find yourself somewhere in the neighborhood of Bernini’s artwork. Family Background and Early Years Actually, not much was publicly known about the life of Gian…
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