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 (Renaissance, Baroque and 18th-century). 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, and culture from the 15th to the 20th century; theater through archive documents; politics and Italian culture; Renaissance and Baroque literature; the relations between theatre and the fine arts; the commedia dell’Arte; 17th- and 18th-century Neapolitan theater; Pietro Trinchera (Naples 1702-1755); Renaissance and Baroque religious theater; Beltramo Poggi (16th-century Florence); theatre and spectacles for the Medici; Machiavelli, Dovizzi da Bibbiena, Grazzini.

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 edited a book in 2015 "Teatro italiano fra testo performance e scena", special issue of Quaderni d'Italianistica.

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

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

He was invited by De Paul University, Bryn Mawr College, Università di Firenze, Università di Bergamo, Università Federico II of Naples, Università di Bari, and other institutions fro lectures on theatre and arts, and 17th- and 18th- century Italian theatre and culture.

Gianni Cicali created and offered at Georgetown several new courses. 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; Machiavelli; the Italian ‘invention’ and international success of the Opera and the multifaceted economic, performing and artistic aspects of that important phenomenon.

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. Three 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 sacred play which merged Buddhism and Christianity by telling the life of a young prince (Barlaam e Josafat, circa 1474, by Bernardo Pulci). He also staged with his student a Jesuit play "Attore e martire" based on Baroque Italian and French texts on the life and deeds of St Genest, the patron saint of actors (Spring 2014).

Gianni Cicali has been Editor of Quaderni d’italianistica (journal of the Canadian Society for Italian Studies - CSIS) from 2011 to 2015, and he is a member of the Advisory Board of Letteratura teatrale italiana (Italy), Quaderni d'italianistica (Canada), and Gentes (Italy).


  • 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)