Gianni Cicali


Associate Professor


Department of Italian
General profile


+1 202-687-7178




Gianni Cicali (Florence, Italy) is a specialist in History of Italian Theater. He holds an Italian “laurea,” (B.A.) and doctoral degrees from both Italy (Università di Firenze) and Canada (University of Toronto).

His interests focus on Italian theater from the 15th to the 20th century; Italian Opera and librettists; history of Italian actors, actresses and singers; theater through archive documents; politics and Italian drama; the relations between the performing and the fine arts; the commedia dell’Arte; 18th-century Neapolitan theater; Pietro Trinchera (Naples 1702-1755); 15th and 18th-century religious theater; cinema.

He is author of a book on the Italian “Opera buffa” based on textual and archive research (Attori e ruoli nell'opera buffa italiana del Settecento, Florence: Le Lettere, 2005). He is also author of a book on Renaissance Florentine theater on the Inventio crucis (L'Inventio crucis nel teatro rinascimentale fiorentino. Una leggenda tra spettacolo, propaganda e antisemitismo. Florence: SEF, 2012)

He has published several articles on Italian Renaissance theater, and on 18th-century theater, arts and literature.

He regularly presents research papers at international conferences, and organizes and has organized sessions on Italian theater for the Renaissance Society of America (RSA), the American Association for Italian Studies (AAIS), the Canadian Association for Italian Studies (CSIS).

Gianni Cicali created and offered at Georgetown several new courses in Italian. He explores, with his students, fundamental topics of Italian theater and Italian culture and society, such as the relations between theater, politics, arts and religion; or the Italian ‘invention’ and international success of the Opera and the multifaceted economic, performing and artistic aspects of that important phenomenon. He also designed and teaches courses on sexuality, politics and madness in Italian literature, theater and cinema, and he regularly gives courses on Advanced Italian language and culture.

He offers an Italian Theater Workshop to stage Italian texts with his students. The Italian Theater workshop combines historical and political contents of Italian theater, language, and culture with performing aspects. Two productions have already been performed successfully in the Davies Center for the Performing Arts of Georgetown: Gl’Innamorati (The Lovers) by Carlo Goldoni, in 2007, and, in 2009, the adaptation of a rare Renaissance Florentine sacred play which merged Buddhism and Christianity by telling the life of a young prince (Barlaam e Josafat, circa 1474, by Bernardo Pulci).

Gianni Cicali is Editor of Quaderni d’Italianistica (journal of the Canadian Society for Italian Studies - CSIS), and member of the Advisory Board of Letteratura teatrale italiana (Italy). He is also member of and he reviews for the academic e-journal of the Department of Art, Music and Theater of the University of Florence (Italy), published online by Florence University Press.


  • Ph.D. (2009) University of Toronto, Dept. of Italian Studies, Renaissance Theater
  • Dottorato di Ricerca (2004) Università di Firenze, Italy, Dept. of Art, Music, Theater, 18th-century theater


  • French (speak, read)
  • Italian (speak, read, write)
  • Latin (read)