Common Children and the Common Good: Locating Foundlings in the Early Modern World (Dai bambini “comuni” al bene comune: i trovatelli nella prima età moderna)


Monday, December 9, 2019 (All day) to Tuesday, December 10, 2019 (All day)


I Tatti / Istituto degli Innocenti


The 600th anniversary of the inauguration of the Ospedale degli Innocenti in Florence provides an opportunity to re-examine the contexts for foundling care both within and beyond this pioneering institution.  This conference will examine the spaces and artworks of the institution itself, literary and legal fashioning of illegitimacy by humanists and magistrates, the care taken with the formation of youths in the broadest sense, and the ways in which other Europeans learned from the example of Florence as they aimed to address the challenge of foundling care in their own urban, national, and imperial settings.

Just as the Innocenti itself was a place of innovation, our conference also innovates by including five presentations by scholars of the digital humanities.  Gathered in a collaborative group under the title of Florentia Illustrata, these digital humanists from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States demonstrate how digital tools allow us unprecedented views of both the physical fabric of the Innocenti, and the social and urbanistic networks that sustained it.

With a few exceptions, talks will be in English. 

Monday, 9 December (Istituto degli Innocenti)

Tuesday, 10 December (I Tatti)

program to follow

Organizer: Nicholas Terpstra (University of Toronto)


  • Niall Atkinson (University of Chicago)
  • Amadeo Belluzzi (University of Florence)
  • George Bent (Washington and Lee University)
  • Mario Bevilacqua (University of Florence)
  • Emanuela Ferretti (University of Florence)
  • Phil Gavitt (Saint Louis University)
  • Isabel dos Guimãres Sá (Universidade do Minho) 
  • Joel Harrington (Vanderbilt University)
  • Thomas Kuehn (Clemson University)
  • Anne Leader (University of Virginia)
  • Martin McLaughlin (Oxford University)
  • Sanne Muurling (Leiden University)
  • Fabrizio Nevola (University of Exeter)
  • Caspar Pearson (University of Essex)
  • Diana Bullen Presciutti (University of Essex)
  • Colin Rose (Brock University)
  • Ann Twinam (University of Texas)
  • Spirit Waite (University of Toronto)


This conference is free and open to the public. No registration required.