Email: tommaso.zerbi@ed.ac.uk

Programme: Architectural History - PhD/MPhil

Start date: 2016

Mode of study: Full time

Research title: 'The Tricolour, Shield, and Cross of Savoy: "Sabaudian Medievalism," the Risorgimento, and Neo-Medieval Architecture in Italy, c.1814–1864.'

Tommaso is an historian of Modern Italian architecture, Medievalism, and Risorgimento Studies. Graduated with honours at the Politecnico di Milano, he widely lectures internationally and teaches at the University of Edinburgh, where he also led the Prokalò Research Seminar series and was Convenor of the Edinburgh College of Art. His work, which draws on a mixed training in the Italian and Anglophone spheres, explores the pervasive reworking of the Middle Ages in post-Medieval architectural constructs and the interplay between architecture, medievalist cultures, and political dynamics in Risorgimento Italy. 

His Ph.D. research, awarded among the others the Barrie Wilson Award and a scholarship from Il Circolo Associazione Culturale London, considers the deployment of Neo-Medieval architecture as a political tool in the construction of Modern Italy. Unearthing the historicist and political narratives embedded in the strategically orchestrated reworking of the identities of crown and nation, it argues that, during the Risorgimento, the revival of Italy’s various Middle Ages acted as a calibrated legitimation device for the royal house of Savoy and contributed to a sense of a unified – and monarchical – national past for the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and for what in 1861 became the Kingdom of Italy.