vai al contenuto della pagina vai al menu di navigazione

Latin Paleography Summer School

From shelf to byte. A history of writing from the ancient to the contemporary world. Summer School (Bologna, June 27th – July 08th, 2016).

The Summer School “From shelf to byte. A history of writing from the ancient to the contemporary world” is a two-week intensive course dedicated to the history of handwriting and of the book in the West, organized by the RAM (Ricerche e Analisi Manoscritti) Study Centre of the Department of Classics and Italian Studies of the University of Bologna in collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Advancing and Professional Studies of the University of Massachusetts Boston.


Students will learn the basic principles of Latin Paleography, discovering the several threads linking the past to the present of handwriting and examining the conventions of writing that become established over time, from ancient scrolls to medieval manuscripts to blogging platforms. A great part of the course will be devoted to handling and describing the ancient Bolognese manuscripts that contain early examples of writing and page design. In addition to this hands-on work, students will critically analyze the relationship between the physical environments for texts and the content of the texts themselves – from the vast importance of annotation in medieval law books to abbreviations in texts and tweets of today, drawing on the innovative methods of Digital Humanities. This work will help students to identify the rhetorical principles that shape interactions between writers and their audiences over time, and to assess the implications for our understanding of the past, present, and future of text technologies. Finally, through some lessons and practical exercises of Calligraphy, students will see firsthand the value, the potentialities and the beauty of longhand writing.

The course will take place in Bologna from Monday 27th June until Friday 8th July 2016 and are open to students (undergraduate and post-graduate) and non-students alike. Students must be aged 18 or over.


The school offers an intensive two-weeks course scheduled as follows:

  • 44 hours of tuition in classwork;
  • 11 hours of lessons in libraries and archives;
  • 24 hours of cultural activities;
  • one-day trip.

Classes will take place from Monday to Friday in Bologna, at the Aula Gualandi of the Department of History, Cultures and Civilizations (Piazza S. Giovanni in Monte, 2) and will be managed as lectures, with the direct involvement of students and with practical reading exercises and interpretation of ancient manuscripts.

Part of the course will occur at the main cultural institutes of the city, so that students will have a direct contact with handwritten sources and will test first-hand some of the arguments analyzed during the classes.

Cultural activities

The course will include several visits to museums, archives and libraries and to representative artistic and historical sites of Bologna, in order to bring participants closer to Italy and to the Italian University life and culture.

All teaching and activities will be in English.

Please refer to the link on this page for a detailed syllabus.

One day trip to Ferrara

A one day trip to “Ferrara, a small Renaissance capital city”, which includes a tour of the city and visits to: Cathedral, Trento and Trieste square, Museum of the Cathedral, Estes castle, Schifanoia, Palazzina of Marfisa d'Este, walk between Ariostea square and Palazzo dei Diamanti dedicated to the Addizione Erculea.

Tuition Fee

Fee: 1.150,00 EUR

Fee covers: registration, teaching material, cultural activities (tickets and guides to museums, libraries and archives, guided tours, train to Ferrara), UNIBO Students’ policy fee and a final lunch.

Travels, meals and accommodation are not included.

The registration is completed only after the full payment of the tuition fee.

A special 13% discount on the tuition fee will be applied on groups of more than 12 students.

Other requirements

No specific qualification is required for course admission. Previous knowledge of Italian or Latin is preferable, but not required. At the time of the registration, nevertheless, candidates will have to fill in a short preliminary test, so to define the base level of each participant.

The Summer School will take place only if a minimum of 10 participants will apply.

Deadline for application: June 1st, 2016

Final certification

The Summer School Coordinators will deliver a certification of attendance to all the students who attended all the classes.

How to apply

Please download the Call for applications and send all the materials to

Find out more

Consult the official website for more information on “From shelf to byte. A history of writing from ancient to contemporary world” Summer School.


From Shelf to Byte. A history of writing from ancient to contemporary world.


Prof. Maddalena Modesti

Course Coordinator

Department of Classics and Italian studies (Dipartimento di Filologia Classica e Italianistica) Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna Piazza S. Giovanni in Monte 2

40124 - Bologna - Italy

tel: +39 051 2097820