The book is based on my PhD thesis, defended at the University of
Florence in April 2011. It is actually the basis on which the MedRoute
project was built and developed. In inquires the way Italian subjects
that were moving into the Mediterranean were depicting cultural
otherness and how they developed a practical tolerance. This toleration
was much more of a kind of capacity to standing the otherness, rather
than an appreciation of cultural diversity. Nevertheless, it was a very
People were used to find strategies of coexistence, eventually
understanding otherness itself. Sailing from Istanbul (Part 1), to Izimr
(Part 2), and finally ending in Valletta (Part 3), the book is a mosaic
of Mediterranean ways of understanding difference and it represent the
first part of our project maritime route. That is: the beginning of our
My question was and is: how do port cities manage they cultural pluralism? Is difference a resource or a problem?
MedRoute attended the 14th Conference of the European Association for Urban History that took place in Rome from August 29th to September 1st , 2018. The project was presented in the panel Standing Out, Getting in, Staying in. Being foreign in Cities, 13th-18th centuries with
the paper “Between Frank Street and the Grand Port. Experiencing Urban
Pluralism in the Port Cities of Izmir and Valletta (17th-18th
Through a comparative analysis of the pluralism-(s) of Izmir and
Valletta, the paper explored how members of the same groups handled
coexistence following different strategies in different urban spaces.
Political factors, and not a “global” Mediterranean attitude, is crucial
for the elaboration and development of cultural pluralism in the two
environments. The new “city users” introduced new cultural elements as
well as new demands into urban discourse, stimulating the responsiveness
of entities entrusted with the organization of geographical and social
spaces. The practice of cultural otherness enhanced spontaneous
toleration as an effect of a relativistic cultural shock.
The interaction of political factors with foreign groups led to the
development of different forms of early modern multiculturalism, ranging
from the creation of a new universal society, as in the case of Malta,
to a different degree of separation/hybridization of diversities, as in
I am very proud to present here the the initiative of my colleague Giulio Vaccaro for the Dantedì, the day dedicated to Dante Alighieri that is actually the 25th of March. This day has been chosen because scholars have identified on that date the beginning of the journey into the afterlife of the Divine Comedy.
The Dantedì 2021 must be celebrated in a special way, precisely in the year of the seven hundredth anniversary of the death of Alighieri. In homage to Dante and the Commedia, Gulio Vaccaro (https://www.isem.cnr.it/team/giulio-vaccaro/), researcher at ISEM and expert of the manuscript tradition of medieval texts, had the idea of a video.
We asked Giulio why this day is so important:
“Dante is the father of the language we speak – he told us- he is one of Italy’s pater patriae. He is an example for everyone and even our President of Republic Mattarella has indicated him as an example of virtue and righteousness. Moreover, he is the only authentically popular poet in Italy and elsewhere, and he is probably one of the very few men of all time to have shaped the vision and imagination of those who came after him. He is a δημιουργός, a creator. Just think, for example, that even today our image of the Afterlife is shaped according to the image that Dante created of it.”
And what about the role of Dante in research?
“Dante is at the very core f researches in every field of study – says Giulio – from philological and literary ones to those of computational and cognitive linguistics, fro medieval history to medicine, geology, geography. In the video we realised for the Dantedì 2021 we have tried precisely to show this plurality of possible approaches, which only in a research institution such as the CNR can find a common home”
Thank you Giulio, and buon Dantedì 2021 to everyone!
Metal water bottles and canvas shoppers with the MedRoute map created by Guizzo (https://www.guizzo.co.uk/) and produced by DELTAGRAF – Studio Grafico (https://www.facebook.com/deltagrafstudiografico)
for helping to solve the problem of the plastic waste in the
Mediterranean. This is our new initiative for a plastic-free sea.
Because history is not only our past, but also our present and future
and to protect environment is to protect history.
If you wish to contribute, you can buy one of our shoppers or plastic
bottles. The proceeds will be donated to Legambiente (an Italian
environmentalist association) that is already involved in the European
ENI CBC MED project COMMON (http://www.enicbcmed.eu/projects/common) for tackling the problem of the plastic waste in the Medierranean.
With a contribution of 8 euros for a canvas shopper and 16 euros for the metal water bottle, you can support MedRoute in promoting a plastic-free sea. For more information, contact us email@example.com.
With this final online workshop that will be held on the 7th and 8th of October 2020, the EU Marie Curie MedRoute project – Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 747030 – MedRoute (http://medroute.eu/) – is willing to create a space of discussion on the main themes that are its core. The MedRoute
project – running from September 2017 to August 2020 – has reached its
end, and we wish this workshop will represent a new start!
final online workshop will discuss diasporas, travels accounts,
methodology, and the interplay in between migration and the political
In order to access the four panels as auditors, those who are interested should write to Antonino Campagna (firstname.lastname@example.org)
specifying the panels they are interested in (please note the keynote
speech by Bernard Heyberger is included in the registration to the
first panel). The time zone of the program is Rome time zone (GMT+2).
Registrations are open until the 4th of October.
For the panels, check our program:
The Visibility of Strangers. Diasporas,
Urban Spaces, and Material Pluralism in the Mediterranean
Marie Curie Online Workshop, 7th & 8th October 2020.
7th October, 10:30Welcoming & Opening Keynote: Bernard Heyberger (EHESS-Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) – Diversity, pluralism and mobility in the Eastern Mediterranean
12:30, Panel 1 – The Foreigner Focus: Material practices and identity negotiation in early
Chair: Elena Baldassarri
(Università degli Studi Roma Tre)
Alexandr Osipian (Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe -GWZO) – Clothing, foodways, and identity negotiation: early modern Istanbul in Polish, Russian, and Armenian travelogues
Songulen Nazlı (European University Institute) – Ottoman woman’s plural identities through the eyes of the female travellers visiting Istanbul (18th century)
Break (1 hour)
15:30, Panel 2 – One, Plural or What Else? How to study pluralism in the early modern period
Chair: Luca Codignola-Bo (Notre Dame University)
Serena Di Nepi (Università di Roma – La Sapienza) – Questioning Otherness. Some preliminary remarks on conversions and
coexistence in early modern cities
Stefano Villani (University of Maryland, College Park)
– Modes of
conversions and acculturation strategies in early modern Italy
Giampaolo Salice (Università di Cagliari) – On methodology
in the study of rural diaspora
8th October, 10:30
Panel 3 – The Plural
City: Channeling identity in daily life
Chair: Filomena Viviana
Tagliaferri (Istituto di Storia dell’Europa Mediterranea – ISEM, CNR)
Cassar (University of Malta) – Fashion, Opulence
and Extravagance: Clothing and sumptuary laws in early modern Malta
Prideaux (University of Edinburgh) – The
role of representatives in negotiations between the authorities and immigrants
in Venice, 1550-1700
Novosel (Croatian Institute of History – Hrvatski Institut za Povijest) – Surpassing language barriers in
Dalmatian urban space – public notaries in the city of Zadar in the mid 17th
Break (1 hour)
14:00, Panel 4 – Identity and Longue
Durée: Ottoman empire’s political destiny,
and its reflection on foreigner identity expressions
Chair: Meropi Anastassiadou
Bouroutis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) – Bridging western culture and eastern traditions
Angelos Dalachanis (Institut d’Histoire Moderne et Contemporaine
– IHMC, CNRS) – The Visibility of Hellenism: Art
collecting and diaspora life in the early 20th-century Alexandria
Kostis Gkotsinas (École Française d’Athènes) – Standing
out/blending in: Consumption practices and the settlement of refugees in
The aim of this workshop was to shed light on daily practices in
multicultural societies, in the early modern Mediterranean and Atlantic
worlds. Entangled Worlds was held at College Park on 8th and 9th April 2019, as part of the events hosted at The Nathan & Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies, at UMD.
Focusing on foodways, multilingual practices, and sexuality the
two-days encounter was intended to generate a discussion on how
identities are created and re-affirmed in areas with an elevated level
of cultural intermingling. It is precisely in these plural spaces:
where one is most likely to encounter a stranger or foreigner […] often originated from afar and […] distinguished by language, physical appearance, dress, beliefs or practices, characteristics covered by the slippery modern terms ‘ethnicity’ of ‘cultural identity’.
Derek Keene, ‘Segregation, Zoning and Assimilation in Medieval Towns’
The workshop created a fruitful space of discussion in which MedRoute received its first feedback, starting from Professor Francesca Trivellato‘s thoughtful one. It was attended by scholars for US and Europe and it was concluded by a wonderful keynote on Maltese language of Professor Michael Cooperson. The opening reception was accompanied by the Mediterranean sounds of Trio Trela.