Luca Zenobi

Accepting PhD Students

Personal profile


I am a historian of Italy, Europe and the Mediterranean world between 1300 and 1600. Having read history and trained as an archivist in Milan, I moved to Oxford for my PhD and then to Cambridge, where I was a research fellow at Trinity College and an affiliated lecturer at the Faculty of History. I joined the University of Edinburgh in 2023.

My research in a nutshell

I like to think of my work as a geography of the past. I am interested in how people articulated their presence in the landscape, moved and communicated across distances, and ultimately inscribed their experiences in both texts and objects. 

I have written articles and book chapters on the process of community- and territory-formation, the spatial organisation of factions and family militias, and the experience of migration, exile and displacement.

Recent projects include a volume on early modern disinformation, which was developed in collaboration with literary scholars, as well as essays on topics such as medieval marriage networks and the comparative history of rivers and waterways.

Research Interests

I am in the final stages of preparing my first single-authored monograph for publication. It should appear in the summer of 2023 with the title Borders and the Politics of Space in Late Medieval Italy.

This book explores how borders were understood, made and encountered at the end of the Middle Ages, and what they can tell us about the spatial fabric of society at the threshold of modernity.

It shows that pre-modern borders were nothing like the fuzzy lines they are typically made out to be, that border-making was rarely a top-down process and should instead be studied as an interactive endeavour, and that space was shaped by communities far more than states in this period.

Research Interests

My next project is funded by British Academy and titled The Mobile Renaissance: Italian Travellers and the Connected History of Europe.

Building on a growing interest in the history of mobility and communication, this project focuses on the activities of the group of diplomats and informants that between 1450 and 1535 corresponded with the duke of Milan. Together, these highly mobile individuals formed the most extensive information system of its time, connecting an Italian court to every corner of Europe.

Combining methods drawn from global history with approaches developed by social scientists as well as new digital tools, the project will open up a whole new window onto the kinetic and communicative processes that shaped our world.

Research students

I am always happy to hear from students interested in the history of late medieval and early modern Italy, as well as in themes such as space, mobility, communication and the environment in pre-modern Europe.

Education/Academic qualification

History, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Oxford


Historical Sciences, Master of Arts, Università degli Studi di Milano


History, Università degli Studi di Milano


External positions

Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of History, University of Cambridge

1 Sept 20211 Sept 2023

Research Fellow, Trinity College, University of Cambridge

1 Apr 20191 Apr 2023


  • D111 Medieval History
  • D204 Modern History
  • D901 Europe (General)
  • DG Italy
  • CD921 Archives
  • Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography
  • ZA4450 Databases
  • H Social Sciences (General)
  • JA Political science (General)
  • PN0441 Literary History
  • AZ History of Scholarship The Humanities

College Research Themes

  • Cultural Heritage
  • Data & Digital
  • Energy & Sustainability


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