Dr Giacomo Savani

Dr Giacomo Savani

Visiting Scholar

Researcher profile




At the heart of my teaching is an interest in archaeology and ancient history and the influence of Antiquity on early modern Europe. I have a humanistic approach to education, aiming to promote the personal improvement of my students by creating connections between ancient ideas and modern-day issues such as gender and racial inequality.
I am committed to disseminating my research beyond Academia, as demonstrated by my long-standing collaboration with the Archaeology and Classics in the Community Project (School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester).

Research areas

I am a Royal Society of Edinburgh Saltire Early Career Fellow. I work mainly on Roman social and cultural history, ancient environments, and the reception of Antiquity in Early Modern Europe. I am particularly interested in ancient baths and balneology, focusing on their reception in Renaissance Italy and eighteenth-century England.

My first contact with ancient baths dates back to 2009 when as an MA student, I collaborated with the Vesuviana Project of the University of Bologna. My team recorded the rooms of the Casa del Centenario in Pompeii, and I was assigned to the beautiful private baths of this complex. My PhD project at the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of Leicester (2012-17) looked at the social function of rural baths in Roman Britain. I am currently transforming my thesis into a book for Routledge, Rural Baths in Roman Britain: A Colonisation of the Senses, forthcoming in 2023. Building on Yannis Hamilakis’ concept of ‘sensorial assemblage’, the book addresses the role of memories, feelings, and sensory experiences associated with rural baths in the process of cultural change promoted by Rome in Britain.

After completing my PhD, I got interested in the rediscovery of Roman baths by antiquarians and architects from the fifteenth to the nineteenth centuries. This was the topic of my Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship at the School of Classics, University College Dublin (2019-2022): The Reception of Roman Baths in Early Modern Europe. Building on this study, my current RSE project, Women and the Baths in Ancient Medicine, explores the role of balneology in ancient gynaecological texts and their influence on Renaissance treatises.

I am a visual artist and I recently collaborated with novelist Victoria Thompson to explore the impact that imagination and art can have on archaeological research. I also wrote the narrative and designed the illustrations of the book for young adults Life in the Roman World, Roman Leicester (2018), co-authored with Sarah Scott and Mathew Morris. The book is the main outcome of the Archaeology and Classics in the Community Project at the University of Leicester, which develops sustainable school and community engagement programmes based on academic research.

Selected publications


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