My principal interests lie in the field of Italian history from the late eighteenth century to Fascism. I have two principal areas of research at present, both growing out of my earlier work on nineteenth-century Venice and its mainland (Venice and Venetia under the Habsburgs, 1815-1835, Oxford University Press, 2002) : on the one hand, I am completing a general history of Italy from 1700 to unification, which emphasises both local perspectives transnational contexts for publication in 2012; I am also writing (with Elsa Damien) under the auspices of an AHRC research grant a study of Venetian identity as imagined and narrated by historians of the defunct Venetian Republic in the years between the fall of Napoleon and the Fascist seizure of power. Venice remembered focuses on the difficulties of dealing with multiple identities (municipal, regional, national, imperial, religious) when writing the history of a city-based, transnational, republican empire during a period when Italy was being unified and facing the task of 'making Italians'. The research deals not only with Venetian historians such as Romanin and Molmenti, but also with non-Italians ranging from Daru and Sismondi to Ranke and Rawdon Brown.
I have recently published an article in the new on-line journal MDCCC on the legacy of Byron and Daru for Anglophone understanding of Venice.
My previous research has focused on Venice in the nineteenth century, and especially under the so-called dominazione austriaca when it fell under Habsburg rule. As well as my Oxford University Press monograph, I have published extensively on such aspects as the administration and policing of the Venetian provinces, the Venetian economy and the university of Padua, as well as more general pieces on Venice after unification with the rest of Italy in 1866. I have also published on British attitudes to Napoleonic and Risorgimento Italy, on questions of Italian national identity, nineteenth-century historiography of the twelfth-century Lega Lombarda, and on the thought of Machiavelli.
I am currently planning two strands of research. One will focus on the sometime curious politics of the great twentieth-century Italian novelist and journalist Curzio Malaparte, using him as a window to explore the ambivalent and contradictory nature of Italian political life in the period between the Great War and the 1950s. The other will address attitudes to Italian masculinity and soldiering in the longue durée from Machiavelli to the Fascist era.