Luca Zenobi

Junior Research Fellow
Dr Samuel Zeitlin
I was recently awarded my doctorate (DPhil) from the University of Oxford. At New College, I held the Hugh Trevor-Roper Graduate Scholarship, which fully funded my studies for four years. Previously, I studied History (BA) and Historical Sciences (MA) at the University of Milan, and qualified as archivist and palaeographer following the two-year course of the Italian state archives. In April 2019, I took up a four-year research fellowship at Trinity College, Cambridge.
I am a historian of late medieval and Renaissance Europe. Situated primarily in Italy, my work investigates the spatial dimension of political and social life. I am particularly interested in how political cultures (ideas, discourses) and social structures (institutions, networks) shaped and were shaped by space, and how this influenced the lives of groups and individuals.

For my doctorate, I investigated the world of borders in fifteenth-century northern Italy: how they were drawn, crossed and imagined; and what they can tell us about the spatial fabric of political and social life in the later middle ages. While revising my thesis for publication, I am now developing a new research project: inspired by my doctoral work on borders as sites of movement and control, the project will explore the role played by mobility in shaping power and social relations in Renaissance Europe.

I have written articles and book chapters on a range of topics: the process of community- and territory-making, the spatial organisation of factions and family militias, and – more recently – the experience of exile and migration. I am also the co-editor of two forthcoming special issues: 'Movement and Urban Space in Early Modern Europe' (The Journal of Early Modern History) and 'Fiction and Disinformation in the Early Modern World' (Past & Present).

Other interests of mine include: environmental history, and especially the long history of rivers and mountain ranges; the cultural history of cartography and record-keeping; the application of digital methods (GIS, SNA) and new relational approaches (entangled history, histoire croisée) to the study of the past; and the interdisciplinary connections between history and the social sciences (notably political geography and social theory).
I regularly supervise Part I undergraduate students, notably Paper 14 (European History, ca. 900 – 1450) and Paper 16 (European History, ca. 1450 – 1760). Occasionally, I also hold HAP classes and contribute to the Faculty's lecture programme.
I welcome inquiries from students interested in the history of late medieval and Renaissance Italy, or indeed in any of the topics mentioned above.

Key publications

‘Beyond the State: Community and Territory-Making in Late Medieval Italy’, in Imagining a Territory. The Construction and Representation of Territory in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. by M. Damen e K. Overlaet, Amsterdam 2021, forthcoming

‘Mobility and Urban Space in Early Modern Europe: An Introduction', The Journal of Early Modern History, 25/1-2 (2021), forthcoming

‘Venice's Terraferma Expansion and the Negotiation of Territories in Late Medieval Italy’, Ateneo Veneto, 19/2 (2020), forthcoming

‘Itinerari di mobilità geografica e sociale nelle e dalle valli bergamasche a seguito dell’espansione veneziana’, in La mobilità sociale nel Medioevo italiano (vol. II: Stati e istituzioni, secoli XIV-XV), ed. by A. Gamberini, Roma 2017, pp. 377-393

‘Guerra, stato e poteri locali sul medio corso dell’Adda alla metà del Quattrocento. Organizzazione militare e difesa dei confini’, Società e storia, 149/3 (2015), pp. 469-491

'Nascita di un territorio. La vicenda del Monte di Brianza tra Trecento e Quattrocento', Quaderni storici, 144/3 (2013), pp. 813-55

Other publications


‘Visconti, Valentina [queen of Cyprus, 1357-1393]’, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (vol. XCVII), Roma 2019, forthcoming

‘Visconti, Valentina [duchess of Orléans, 1371-1408]’, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (vol. XCIX), Roma 2020, forthcoming

‘Visconti, Lucia [countess of Kent, 1372-1424], in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (vol. XCIX), Roma 2020, forthcoming


M. Ruthven (ed.), Carving up the Globe. An Atlas of Diplomacy (Cambridge, MA 2018), in Diplomatica – A Journal of Diplomacy and Society, 3/2 (2020), forthcoming

M. Cassioli, Frontiera e transito. La val Nervia tra Liguria e Provenza (Bologna 2018), Nuova Rivista Storica, 105/2 (2020), forthcoming

Occhi (eds.), Carteggi tra basso medioevo ed età moderna. Pratiche di redazione, trasmissione e conservazione (Bologna 2018), ARO – Annali.Reviews.Online, 3/1 (2020)

E.C. Burke, The Greeks of Venice, 1498-1600: Immigration, Settlement, and Integration (Turnhout 2016), Mediterranean Studies, 27/2 (2019), pp. 236-238

G. Chittolini, L’Italia delle civitates. Grandi e piccoli centri fra Medioevo e Rinascimento, (Roma 2015), in The English Historical Review, 132/6 (2017), pp. 1559-1561

L. Tanzini and S. Tognetti (eds.), La mobilità sociale nel medioevo italiano. Competenze, conoscenze e saperi tra professioni e ruoli sociali, sec. XII-XV (Roma 2016), in Renaissance Quarterly, 70/3 (2017), pp. 1095-1097

T. Frank and D. Rando (eds.), Ernst Kantorowicz (1895-1963). Political History as Cultural Inquiry (Pavia 2015), in Sehepunkte – Rezensionsjournal für die Geschichtswissenschaften, 16/9 (2016)

P. Mainoni (ed.), Lecco viscontea. Gli atti dei notai di Lecco e del suo territorio (Oggiono 2013), in Nuova Rivista Storica, 98/1 (2014), pp. 431-36