Allen James Grieco

Allen James Grieco

Associated Senior Scholar
The language of food: natural philosophy and sumptuary laws in Renaissance Italy


Allen J. Grieco (PhD École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) has published extensively on the cultural history of food in Italy from the 14th to the 16th centuries. Currently series editor of “Food Culture, Food History before 1900” published by Amsterdam University Press as well as of the largest available online bibliographic database on the history of food in Europe. He is also coordinating a database project on 16th and 17th century perfume recipes.

Project Summary

Currently working on two new book projects. The first centers on food culture in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and the Renaissance. The second, in collaboration with two specialists of pre-Columbian and early colonial South America, examines the transitioning food systems that characterised the early colonial period (pre 1650). Both of these volumes will deal with how the taxonomic order of nature, first developed by the authors of medieval encyclopedias, informed the way in which natural philosophers and doctors understood food and diets in Italy as well as the response of Colonial consumers to little known foodstuffs in a transatlantic cultural dynamic.


I Tatti Appointments

Fellow: 1988-1989
Research Associate: 1989-2003
Senior Research Associate: 2003-2015
Senior Research Associate Emeritus