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HI3G9-30 Venice in the Renaissance

Undergraduate Level 3
Module leader
Jonathan Davies
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
Warwick in Venice
Introductory description

This module analyses the cultural, economic, political, social, and religious history of Venice and its empire from the late fourteenth to the late sixteenth century. It also sets developments in Venice against those in the princely courts of northern Italy.

Module web page

Module aims

Whilst focusing on Italian states, the module also considers issues with a wider resonance. These issues include gender, charity, disease, violence, ritual, church reform, and cultural and economic change. The module makes use of an extensive range of primary sources. Living in Venice will familiarise students with the city and the module includes numerous site visits. The module draws on insights from neighbouring disciplines such as art history, anthropology, and economics.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

  1. Venice: City, Empire, Myth (I). Site visit: Torcello
  2. Venice: City, Empire, Myth (II). Site visits: The Arsenale and the Scuola di San Giorgio degli Schiavoni
  3. Government. Site visits: The Doge’s Palace and the Museo Correr
  4. The Material World. Site visits: Rialto and the Palladian Villas of Emo and Godi
  5. Society I. Site visit: The Ghetto
  6. Travel/Reading Week – no seminar or site visit
  7. Society II. Site visit: From the Ponte delle Tette to the Ponte dei Pugni
  8. Culture. Site visit: The Accademia
  9. The Princely Courts. Site visits: Mantua (The Ducal Palace and the Palazzo Te)
  10. Religion. Site visit: The Scuola Grande di San Rocco
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a systematic knowledge and understanding of the cultural, economic, political, social, and religious history of Venice and its empire from the late fourteenth to the late sixteenth century.
  • Critically analyse and evaluate a broad range of textual, visual, and material primary sources relating to the history of Venice, including the city of Venice itself and its former territories.
  • Effectively communicate ideas, and make informed, coherent and persuasive arguments, relating to the history of Venice.
  • Critically review and consolidate theoretical, methodological, and historiographical ideas relating to the history of Venice.
Indicative reading list
  • Burke, Ersie C., The Greeks of Venice, 1498-1600: Immigration, Settlement and Integration (Turnhout, 2016)
  • Carboni, Stefano (ed.), Venice and the Islamic World, 828-1797 (New Haven, 2007)
  • Castiglione, Baldesar, The Book of the Courtier, ed. Daniel Javitch, trans. Charles S. Singleton (New York: Norton, 2002)
  • Chambers, D.S., (ed. and trans.), Patrons and Artists in the Italian Renaissance (London, 1970)
  • Chambers, David, and Brian Pullan (eds and trans), Venice: A Documentary History 1450-1630 (1992; rept. Toronto, 2001)
  • Chojnacka, Monica, Working Women of Early Modern Venice (Baltimore, 2001)
  • Chojnacki, Stanley, Women and Men in Renaissance Venice: Twelve Essays on Patrician Society (Baltimore, 2000)
  • Cole, Alison, Art of the Italian Renaissance Courts (New York, 2005)
  • Contarini, Gasparo, The Commonwealth and Government of Venice, trans. Lewis Lewkenor (London, 1599)
  • Davis, Robert C., The War of the Fists: Popular Culture and Public Violence in Late Renaissance Venice (New York, 1994)
  • Dursteler, Eric R. (ed.), A Companion to Venetian History 1400-1797 (Leiden: Brill, 2013)
  • Howard, Deborah, The Architectural History of Venice (New Haven, 2004)
  • Huse, Norbert, and Wolfgang Wolters, The Art of Renaissance Venice: Architecture, Sculpture and Painting, 1460-1590, trans. Edmund Jephcott (Chicago, 1993)
  • King, Margaret L., Venetian Humanism in an Age of Patrician Dominance (Princeton, 1986)
  • Marinella, Lucrezia, The Nobility and Excellence of Women and the Defects and Vices of Men, ed. and trans. Anne Dunhill (Chicago, 1999)
  • Martin, John Jeffries, Venice’s Hidden Enemies: Italian Heretics in a Renaissance City (Berkeley, 1993)
  • Molà, Luca, The Silk Industry of Renaissance Venice (Baltimore, 2000)
  • Ravid, Benjamin, Studies on the Jews of Venice, 1382-1797 (Aldershot, 2003)
  • Rosand, David, Myths of Venice: The Figuration of a State (Chapel Hill, NC, 2001)
  • Salzberg, Rosa, Ephemeral City: Cheap Print and Urban Culture in Renaissance Venice (Manchester, 2014)
  • Sansovino, Francesco, Sansovino's Venice, ed. and trans. Vaughan Hart and Peter Hicks (London, 2017)
  • Sanudo, Marin, Venice, cità excelentissima: Selections from the Renaissance Diaries of Marin Sanudo, ed. and trans. Patricia H. Labalme and Laura Sanguineti White (Baltimore, 2008)
  • Vivo, Filippo de, Information and Communication in Venice: Rethinking Early Modern Politics (Oxford, 2007)

View reading list on Talis Aspire

Subject specific skills

See learning outcomes.

Transferable skills

See learning outcomes.

Study time

Type Required
Seminars 8 sessions of 2 hours (5%)
Tutorials 4 sessions of 1 hour (1%)
External visits 9 sessions of (0%)
Private study 280 hours (93%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

History modules require students to undertake extensive independent research and reading to prepare for seminars and assessments. As a rough guide, students will be expected to read and prepare to comment on three substantial texts (articles or book chapters) for each seminar taking approximately 3 hours. Each assessment requires independent research, reading around 6-10 texts and writing and presenting the outcomes of this preparation in an essay, review, presentation or other related task.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You do not need to pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A3
Weighting Study time
Seminar contribution 10%
1500 word essay 10%
3000 word source based essay 40%
3000 word essay 40%
Feedback on assessment

Written feedback provided via Tabula; optional oral feedback in office hours.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 3 of UHIA-V102 Undergraduate History (Renaissance and Modern History Stream)
  • Year 4 of UHIA-V103 Undergraduate History (Renaissance and Modern History Stream) (with Year Abroad)
  • Year 4 of UHIA-V1V8 Undergraduate History and Philosophy (with Year Abroad and a term in Venice)
  • Year 3 of UHIA-V1V7 Undergraduate History and Philosophy (with a term in Venice)
  • Year 4 of UHIA-VM14 Undergraduate History and Politics (with Year Abroad and a term in Venice)
  • Year 3 of UHIA-VM13 Undergraduate History and Politics (with a term in Venice)
  • Year 4 of UHIA-VL16 Undergraduate History and Sociology (with Year Abroad and a term in Venice)
  • Year 3 of UHIA-VL15 Undergraduate History and Sociology (with a term in Venice)

This module is Core option list A for:

  • UHIA-V100 Undergraduate History
    • Year 3 of V100 History
    • Year 3 of V100 History
  • Year 4 of UHIA-V101 Undergraduate History (with Year Abroad)