The project entitled “The dream of freedom. Writing in confinement in Early Modern Italy (15th-19th centuries)” aims to extend the study of graffiti from the Middle Ages (historical period on which the ERC project is focused) to the centuries of the early modern age, choosing a particular kind of graffiti as an object of research: those made by individuals confined in prisons, both secular and ecclesiastical, and asylums.
Through the identification and study of prison graffiti preserved in Italy and dating back to early modern times, some already known but many others partially or totally unpublished, the project has a number of objectives: to identify new forms of text and language, highlighting the linguistic skills of the writers (including their ability, in many cases, to express themselves in verse), as well as their geographical origin; to examine in depth, through the study of prison graffiti, the evolution of devotional practices in use in Italy in the early modern age; to understand graffiti as elements that have helped to shape the socio-cultural identity of a place and of the people who lived there, as well as drawing on the field of investigation known as the “history of emotions”; to conduct a comparison, on a historical and linguistic level, between prison graffiti and another source of study of popular writing in Italy in the early modern age, the so-called “cartelli infamanti” (infamous posters); but also between prison graffiti and those preserved in other peculiar detention facilities, the asylums.
From the methodological point of view, the research will not only be based on the identification and analysis of prison graffiti and on the study of a bibliography on the subject that has so far focused only on some cases to the detriment of others, but also on an accurate research in State Archives, municipal, diocesan and inquisitorial archives, in order to collect information that integrates that which can be obtained from the graffiti.

Principal Investigator

Carlo Tedeschi

Senior staff 

Giuseppe Mrozek Eliszezynski

Giuseppe Mrozek Eliszezynski is Assistant Professor of Early Modern History at the Department of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences of the University ‘G. D’Annunzio’ of Chieti-Pescara. He obtained his PhD in “History: Politics, Society, Cultures, Territory” at the University of Roma Tre (2012). Subsequently, he had post-doc contracts at the University of Teramo (July 2012-May 2014) as part of the European project ENBaCH (European Network for Baroque Cultural Heritage); at the Società Napoletana di Storia Patria (academic year 2015/2016), with a project focusing on the figure of Cardinal Archbishop Ascanio Filomarino; at the University ‘G. D’Annunzio’ of Chieti-Pescara (2017-2019) and then at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa (2020-2022). He deals with political and cultural history in the specific context of the Habsburg monarchy of Spain (16th-17th centuries), with particular attention to the government of the Iberian ministers-favourites and the relations between the court of Madrid and the Italian territories, especially the kingdom of Naples. On these topics he published four monographs, in addition to various articles in international journals and several essays in volumes. He is currently working on a new research project focusing on the political evolution of so-called ‘Spanish Italy’ in the second half of the 17th century, a period often neglected by historiography. He is part of various research groups at international level, such as the Instituto Universitario La Corte en Europa (IULCE) of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and Red Columnaria, nodo “Representaciones y autorrepresentaciones del poder en las sociedades y los territorios de frontera”.

Giovanni Pizzorusso

Giovanni Pizzorusso, DL (Pisa), Ph.D. (Genova), is associate professor of early modern history at Università G. d’Annunzio (Chieti-Pescara). He has been visiting professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (Paris), the Max-Planck Institut (Frankfurt am Main), and Université Paris 7-Denis Diderot. His main research interests are the history of the Catholic missionary institutions in the age of early globalization and the role of the missionaries in the circulation of knowledge in a global perspective. He recently published Propaganda Fide I. La Congregazione pontificia e la giurisdizione sulle missioni, Roma, Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura, 2022.

Research Staff Team

Marco Albertoni

Marco Albertoni is an historian specialized in the early modern age, currently working as a post-doctoral fellow at the University ‘G. D’Annunzio’ of Chieti-Pescara. He got a Master’s degree cum laude in Political Science at the Sapienza University of Rome (2010), a PhD in ‘History of Europe’ (Sapienza, 2014) and a second Master’s degree cum laude in History and Documentary Sciences at the University of Tor Vergata (2020). In the following years he has been research fellow at the Department of History, Cultures, Civilisations of the University of Bologna (2020/21-2022/23), joining the international projects and research groups “INQUIRE” and “SacriFiles”. In 2021 he served as a contract lecturer at the University of Urbino; from 2017 to 2019 he was a contract assistant at the LUISS “Guido Carli” University of Rome. In 2022 he spent a trimester as a visiting fellow at the Department of History of the Goethe Universität in Frankfurt am Main. In previous years he was a research assistant, contract researcher and fellow in several research institutes: Istituto Storico Italiano per l’Età Moderna e Contemporanea; Deutsches Historisches Institut in Rom; Istituto di Studi Politici “San Pio V”; Centro Alti Studi “Euaristos” in Forlì. As a research assistant, he was a member of the Advisory Board that set up M9, the “Museo del ’900” in Venice. He is the author of two monographs, an extensive bibliography, and an edited book, as well as essays in journals and volumes, many of which can be consulted at the following link:

SCRENIM – The dream of freedom. Writing in confinement in Early Modern Italy (15th-19th centuries) – PI. Prof. Carlo Tedeschi
Ministero della ricerca – Procedura per l’attuazione dell’intervento FARE Ricerca in Italia – Framework per l’attrazione e il rafforzamento delle eccellenze per la ricerca – Codice progetto R209BKEKNA
HI. Università degli Studi G. D’Annunzio di Chieti-Pescara
Via dei Vestini, 31 – 66100 Chieti, Italy – C. F. 93002750698 – P. I. 01335970693 – CUP D53C22003120005