Event—Center for Renaissance Studies

Summer Institute in Italian Paleography

This two-week residential course offers an intensive introduction to reading and transcription of handwritten Italian vernacular texts from the late medieval through the early modern periods. The course is taught in Italian. The application deadline is March 15, 2022.

While the emphasis is on building paleographical skills, the course also offers an overview of materials and techniques, and considers the history of scripts within the larger historical, literary, intellectual, and social contexts of Italy. Participants practice on a wide range of documents, including literary, personal, legal, notarial, official, and ecclesiastical works. The course provides insight into the systems of Italian archives and allows participants to work with inventories, letters, diaries, and other primary source materials from the Newberry Library.

Maddalena Signorini, associate professor of Latin paleography at the Università degli Studi di Roma “Tor Vergata,” is an experienced teacher of Latin and Italian vernacular paleography and has directed several previous summer institutes. A widely published and distinguished scholar, Professor Signorini’s research interests are in Italian vernacular texts and the context of transcription in the late medieval and early Renaissance periods. She has written extensively on Petrarch, the culture of literacy, copyists, and the early moment of the printed book. Signorini is also the lead paleographer and an editor of the Newberry’s Italian Paleography website.


The institute enrolls 15 participants by competitive application. We welcome applications from advanced graduate students and junior faculty from universities, from professional staff of libraries and museums, and from qualified independent scholars. This graduate-level course is taught in Italian and requires advanced language skills. First consideration will be given to advanced graduate students and junior faculty in the Center for Renaissance Studies Consortium universities.


Nonlocal participants may receive reimbursement for travel and housing. There are no fees associated with the institute.