28489 - History of Cities (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

The student at the end of this module acquires knowledge of the main issues related to the history of Italian and European cities from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern Period. Will acquire general skills and tools for specific analysis. Will be able to organize , collect and communicate complex information in a coherent form. The student acquires specific and in-depth knowledge of historical development and spacial organisation of urban civilization. He/she will be able to identify the specific contribution of History in addressing issues and problems of interest to the community. He/she can communicate effectively and produce contributions of general interest.

Course contents

During lessons we will discuss the following topics:

-Cities modifications during the transition from Late Ancient Times and High Middle Age

-Bologna from crisis to recovery and "selenite" walls

-City life rules according to urban laws in Low Middle Age and First Modern Age

-Saint Patrons


-Franciscan friars and cities

-Jews' cities: ghettos

-Going back to the past: neomedievalism between Nineteen and Twentieth century


Attending students:

during lessons we will compose, together with students, a textbook using the presented lectures and studies in correspondance to the considered topics. The set will be made available during the course in online form.


Non attending students:

non-attending students are required to study this text book (avaiable on line), and also to deepen one of the topics by reading one of the following books:

F. Franceschi, E saremo tutti ricchi. Mobilità sociale e conflitti nelle città dell'Italia medievale, Pisa 2012

M.G. Muzzarelli, Pescatori di uomini. Predicatori e piazze alla fine del medioevo, Bologna 2005

C. Frugoni, Una lontana città. Sentimenti e immagini nel Medioevo, Torino 1983

G.Todeschini, Gli ebrei nell'Italia medievale, Roma, Carocci 2018

A. Toaff, Il vino e la carne. Una comunità ebraica nel medioevo, Bologna 2007

D. Balestracci, Medioevo e risorgimento. L'invenzione dell'identità italiana nell'Ottocento, Bologna, il Mulino 2015


Teaching methods

During lessons we will introduce each topic and the most recent historiography interpretations, in addition  to significative sources, both documentary and documentary. At the end of the lesson we will visit some significative places in Bologna to deepen the kowledge of lessons topics.


Assessment methods

Oral exam. It will be required the knowledge of two topics (one for the high and one for the middle ages) among those proposed and discussed during the lessons with commentary on the sources.

The final exam will be an oral one, with questions aimed to verify the student's knowledge of the themes discussing during frontal lectures (only for attending students) as well as those treated in the program's texts.

Non-attending students will have to take an oral final exam about the themes treated in the program's texts.

The assessment will concentrate particularly on the skill displayed by the student in handling the sources and material in the exam bibliography and his ability to find and use information and examples to illustrate and correlate the various themes and problems addressed in the course.

The assessment will thus examine the student's:

- factual knowledge of the subject;

- ability to summarise and analyse themes and concepts;

- familiarity with the terminology associated with the subject and his ability to use it effectively.

Top marks will be awarded to a student displaying an overall understanding of the topics discussed during the lectures, combined with a critical approach to the material and a confident and effective use of the appropriate terminology.

Average marks will be awarded to a student who has memorized the main points of the material and is able to summarise them satisfactorily and provide an effective critical commentary, while failing to display a complete command of the appropriate terminology.

A student will be deemed to have failed the exam if he displays significant errors in his understanding and failure to grasp the overall outlines of the subject, together with a poor command of the appropriate terminology.

The present course (6CFU) is a part of the integrated course "Regional history and urban civilization" C.I (1) LM. If the student has the integrated course (12 CFU) in the study plan, the final examen will be the arithmetic average of the marks obtained in the two components ("History of the cities 1" and "History of Emilia-Romagna in the Middle Ages 2")

Teaching tools

During lessons we will present written and iconographic sources.

Office hours

See the website of Maria Giuseppina Muzzarelli