Sandra Toffolo

Sandra Toffolo

Deborah Loeb Brice Fellow
Pilgrims in Renaissance Venice and their Local, National, and Transnational Networks
Portrait photo of Sandra Toffolo


Sandra Toffolo received her PhD from the European University Institute in Florence. She has worked in projects at the Centre d’Études Supérieures de la Renaissance in Tours and the European University Institute, and has received a grant from the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome. Most recently (2017-2020) she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of St Andrews, where she was a member of the Universal Short Title Catalogue. Her research focuses on mobility, space, and the transmission of people, objects, and ideas in the Renaissance, with particular emphasis on Venice. She is the author of Describing the City, Describing the State: Representations of Venice and the Venetian Terraferma in the Renaissance (Leiden: Brill, 2020).


Project Summary

In the fifteenth and sixteenth century, hundreds of pilgrims from all over Europe passed through Venice each year on their way to Jerusalem. They often needed to stay in the city for several weeks while they waited for the departure of their galley. During this period they were at the center of various local, national, and transnational networks. While the governmental regulation of the pilgrims’ stay in Venice has received ample scholarly attention, this project shifts the focus to the pilgrims’ networks while they were in the city. These travelers interacted in different ways and to different degrees with various people, including such diverse groups as innkeepers, tolomazi, salesmen, Venetian magistrates, merchants from all over the world, and other pilgrims. Their interactions played a significant role in the circulation of objects and ideas. Detailed analysis of the pilgrims and their local, national, and transnational networks during their stay in Venice can therefore provide important insights into the functioning of mobility in Renaissance Italy and Europe.