Italian Literature: an Introduction I

Italian Literature I (first term)

The course aims to provide an introduction and a broad overview of the Italian literature and culture, specifically focusing on authors – ranging from the Middle Ages to the XVIII century–who had a huge influence on Western literature, e.g. Dante, Petrarca, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Ariosto, Galileo, Goldoni. A selection of texts will be analyzed (in translation) using the key concepts of literary analysis.


No prerequisites are required for this course.

Teaching methods

Historical cultural background lessons will alternate with special focuses on main authors and text analysis.


Italian Literature I (first term)

  1. General introduction : from Latin to Italian (2 lessons)
  2. Palermo : Sicilian School (1 lesson)
  3. Venice : Marco Polo’s Il Milione (1 lesson)
  4. Florence1 : dolce stil novo and introduction to Dante (1 lesson)
  5. Florence2 : Dante (2 lessons)
  6. Florence3 : Boccaccio (2 lessons)
  7. A new European intellectual and his influence : Petrarca (1 lesson)
  8. Back to Florence : Machiavelli (2 lessons)
  9. Renaissance Ferrara1 : Ariosto (1 lesson)
  10. Renaissance Ferrara2 : from Ariosto to Tasso (1 lesson)
  11. Pisa : Galileo (2 lessons)
  12. Back to Venice : Goldoni’s theatre (1 lesson)


  • Peter Brand, Lino Pertile, The Cambridge History of the Italian Literature, Cambridge, CUP, 1999 [Revised edition]
  • Students will be provided with a selection of literary texts (in English, with the corresponding Italian text), and with other further materials such as critical readings and maps. All these materials will be available on MOODLE (e-learning Unipi).

Assessment methods

Italian Literature I (first term)

Final paper (5000 words with footnotes, excluding the bibliography).