Dr Sandra Toffolo

BA (Radboud University Nijmegen), MA (Radboud University Nijmegen), MRes (European University Institute), PhD (European University Institute)


Contact Details
E-mail: st218@st-andrews.ac.uk

I am a postdoctoral research assistant for the Universal Short Title Catalogue. Within the project ‘Preserving the World’s Rarest Books’, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, I am responsible for the Italian and French printing domain.

My research focuses on the history of Italy in the Renaissance, with particular emphasis on Venice and the Venetian state. I am currently completing a monograph, based on my PhD thesis, on geographical descriptions of Venice and the Venetian mainland state in the fifteenth century. My next project focuses on the circulation of foreign pilgrims in early modern Venice. I am also involved in the projects ‘Prosopography in Network’ (Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance), ‘Editef – L’édition italienne dans l’espace francophone à la première modernité’ (funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche), and ‘European History Primary Sources’ (European University Institute).

I obtained a BA in history (2005) and an MA in medieval history (2007) at the Radboud University Nijmegen (the Netherlands). After that, I obtained an MRes (2009) and a PhD (2013) in early modern history at the European University Institute in Florence (Italy). Since then, I have held positions as project manager and researcher for the project ‘European History Primary Sources’ (European University Institute, 2013-2015) and as postdoctoral research associate at the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours (France) (2015-2016), where I am currently chercheur associé. I have also been a lecturer in Italian Renaissance history at the Istituto Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence (2015) and a fellow at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome (2014).



  • ‘Cities dominated by lions. The fifteenth-century Venetian mainland state depicted by inhabitants of the subject cities,’ Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies 46, no.1 (2015): 305-325.
  • ‘Beschrijvingen van Rome in de middeleeuwen: De Mirabilia urbis Romae,’ Roma Aeterna, special issue ‘Reizen naar Rome’ 3, no.1-2 (2015): 72-81. [‘Descriptions of Rome in the Middle Ages: The Mirabilia urbis Romae’]
  • ‘Constructing a mainland state in literature: Perceptions of Venice and its Terraferma in Marin Sanudo’s geographical descriptions,’ Renaissance and Reformation / Renaissance et Réforme 37, no.1 (2014): 5-30.
  • ‘Eten naar stand. De invloed van sociale stratificatie op leefregels in de late middeleeuwen,’ Geschiedenis der Geneeskunde 11, no.4 (2006): 57-64. [‘Eating according to status. The influence of social stratification on regimina in the Late Middle Ages’]


Review of A short history of the Italian Renaissance, by Kenneth R. Bartlett, European Review of History / Revue européenne d’histoire 23, no.1-2 (2016): 242-244.

Selected presentations

  • 2017, June: ‘From Troy to Venice: Appropriation of a legendary past in early modern literature on the city of Venice.’ The relationship with the more recent past in early modern Europe: between rejection and acknowledgement, Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours (France).
  • 2016, August: ‘Connecting networks of people in the Renaissance: Methodological reflections from a project on cultural networks in early modern France and Europe.’ Sixteenth Century Society Conference 2016, Bruges (Belgium).
  • 2016, March: ‘The heterogeneity of pilgrims and pilgrims’ accounts in the long fifteenth century.’ Expert meeting COST Action IS 1301: New communities of interpretation. Contexts, strategies and processes of religious transformation in late medieval and early modern Europe, Amsterdam (The Netherlands).
  • 2015, June: ‘Venice and its Terraferma: Perceptions of the newly formed state by the Terraferma’s inhabitants.’ Eroberung und Inbesitznahme: Die Eroberung des Aargaus 1415 im europäischen Vergleich / Conquest and occupation: The 1415 seizure of the Aargau in European perspective, University of Bern (Switzerland).
  • 2015, March: ‘“The whole of Friuli has been made our servant”: Fifteenth-century representations of the Venetian conquest of Friuli.’ Renaissance Society of America 61st Annual Meeting, Berlin (Germany).
  • 2014, July: ‘Justifications of Venice’s mainland expansionism in fifteenth-century literary sources. Between benevolent rule and blunt affirmation of violence.’ Society for Renaissance Studies 6th Biennial Conference, University of Southampton (United Kingdom).
  • 2013, September: ‘Cities dominated by lions. The fifteenth-century Venetian mainland state described by inhabitants of the subject cities.’ Visibile e invisibile: percepire la città tra descrizioni e omissioni. VI congresso Associazione Italiana di Storia Urbana, Catania (Italy).
  • 2011, March: ‘Describing the city, describing the state: Marin Sanudo’s perception of Venice and its terraferma.’ Renaissance Society of America 57th Annual Meeting, Montreal (Canada).


Main Publications