Gaetano Cozzi

Last updated
Gaetano Cozzi
Born September 15, 1922
Zero Branco
Died March 15, 2001
Nationality Italian

Gaetano Cozzi (Zero Branco, September 15, 1922 - Venice, 15 March 2001) is an Italian historian, professor at Padua University, and researcher with the Giorgio Cini Foundation and Fondazione Benetton Studi e Ricerche. He is a specialist in Venetian history, with special attention to the institutions, the relationship between law and society and the cultural environment. [1]

Zero Branco Comune in Veneto, Italy

Zero Branco is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Treviso in the Italian region Veneto, located about 20 kilometres (12 mi) northwest of Venice and about 10 kilometres (6 mi) southwest of Treviso.

Venice Comune in Veneto, Italy

Venice is a city in northeastern Italy and the capital of the Veneto region. It is situated on a group of 118 small islands that are separated by canals and linked by over 400 bridges. The islands are located in the shallow Venetian Lagoon, an enclosed bay that lies between the mouths of the Po and the Piave rivers. In 2018, 260,897 people resided in the Comune di Venezia, of whom around 55,000 live in the historical city of Venice. Together with Padua and Treviso, the city is included in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area (PATREVE), which is considered a statistical metropolitan area, with a total population of 2.6 million.



Education and period in Milan

He was born in Zero Branco (Province of Treviso, Italy) on 15 September 1922 of Elsa Olivetti and Giovanni Cozzi. [2]

Province of Treviso Province of Italy

The Province of Treviso is a province in the Veneto region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Treviso. The province is surrounded by Belluno in the north, Vicenza in the west, Padua in southwest, Venice in the southeast and Friuli-Venezia Giulia in the east. The river Piave passes through the province while the rivers Sile and Cagnan pass through the capital. The province's nickname is La Marca Trevigiana. It has a prosperous economy and is an important producer of wine. It encompasses an area of 750 square miles.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

He spent his childhood and adolescence in Legnano (near Milano). [3] He started high school in Milan, then, in 1938, he entered in the military school. In 1939 he entered the Military Academy of Modena. [4] In 1942a and three years later, in March 1942, he left it as a Lieutenant of the “Alpini”. A month later, he was affected with paralysis as a consequence of a former fall from his horse. [5] Despite the limitations caused by his illness, Cozzi took part in the Resistance with propaganda activities. [6]

Legnano Comune in Lombardy, Italy

Legnano is an Italian town and comune with 60,282 inhabitants in the north-westernmost part of the Metropolitan City of Milan, about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from central Milan. It is crossed by the Olona river, and it is the 13th most populous town in Lombardy.

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,372,810 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,245,308. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

Military Academy of Modena

The Military Academy of Modena is a military university in Modena, northern Italy. Located in the Palazzo Ducale in the historic center of the city, it was the first such military institution to be created in the world.

Meanwhile, he prepared his university exams as an external candidate; in 1949 he graduated in history of Italian Law at the University of Milan. His thesis was about Paolo Sarpi and relationship between Church and State. He was most influenced by the writers Benedetto Croce and Adolfo Omodeo.

University of Milan university in Milan, Italy

The University of Milan, known colloquially as UniMi or Statale, is a higher education institution in Milan, Italy. It is one of the largest universities in Europe, with about 60,000 students, a permanent teaching and research staff of about 2,000.

Paolo Sarpi Venetian patriot, scholar, scientist and church reformer

Paolo Sarpi was an Italian historian, prelate, scientist, canon lawyer, and statesman active on behalf of the Venetian Republic during the period of its successful defiance of the papal interdict (1605–1607) and its war (1615–1617) with Austria over the Uskok pirates. His writings, frankly polemical and highly critical of the Catholic Church and its Scholastic tradition, "inspired both Hobbes and Edward Gibbon in their own historical debunkings of priestcraft." Sarpi's major work, the History of the Council of Trent (1619), was published in London in 1619; other works: a History of Ecclesiastical Benefices, History of the Interdict and his Supplement to the History of the Uskoks, appeared posthumously. Organized around single topics, they are early examples of the genre of the historical monograph.

Benedetto Croce Italian writer, philosopher, politician

Benedetto Croce was an Italian idealist philosopher, historian and politician, who wrote on numerous topics, including philosophy, history, historiography and aesthetics. In most regards, Croce was a liberal, although he opposed laissez-faire free trade and had considerable influence on other Italian intellectuals, including both Marxist Antonio Gramsci and fascist Giovanni Gentile. Croce was President of PEN International, the worldwide writers' association, from 1949 until 1952. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature sixteen times.

Venice and beginning of his historical activity

After the war, he moved to Venice. Soon after, he interrupted his studies on Sarpi and devoted himself to the study of an ancient Venetian Magistracy, the Esecutori contro la Bestemmia, that prosecuted not only political and religious offences, but also any behaviour in conflict with official values. [4]

In this period, he formed afriendship Fernand Braudel, one of the fathers of the “Annales”, who met Cozzi just in Venice,(even if later he will prefer Lucien Febre’s historical method). [7] In 1955 when the Institute of History of the Giorgio Cini Foundation was created, he became secretary. In 1958,laid up in bed because of his illness, he wrote his first book about Nicolò Contarini, that he dictated to his mother Elsa.”. [8]

Fernand Braudel was a French historian and a leader of the Annales School. His scholarship focused on three main projects: The Mediterranean, Civilization and Capitalism (1955–79), and the unfinished Identity of France (1970–85). His reputation stems in part from his writings, but even more from his success in making the Annales School the most important engine of historical research in France and much of the world after 1950. As the dominant leader of the Annales School of historiography in the 1950s and 1960s, he exerted enormous influence on historical writing in France and other countries. He was a student of Henri Hauser (1866-1946).

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Nicolò Contarini, was the 97th Doge of Venice, reigning from his election on 18 January 1630 until his death 15 months later. Contarini was the Doge who presided over Venice during the Italian plague of 1629–1631, which killed one third of Venice's population.

University teaching

In 1960 he started teaching at the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature in Venice. In 1962 he married Luisa Zille., [9] an expert in philology. They collaborated to the publishing in 1969 of the complete works of Paolo Sarpi, edited by Ricciardi.

In 1966, he taught medieval and modern history at Faculty of Political Science of Padua University, In 1970 he returned to Ca' Foscari in Venice. [10]

In the late '70s, he promoted among his collaborators and students, a series of researches about State and Justice in the Republic of Venice in the modern age. That year, Cozzi received the prestigious Chabod award for historiography from the Accademia dei Lincei. [1]

In 1986 the first volume of the history of the Republic of Venice, edited by Cozzi and Michael Knapton, was published by UTET, as part of a History of Italy, directed by Giuseppe Galasso. The aim of the book is to demonstrate the symbiosis between Venice and its mainland, and the hegemonic ambitions of Venice(competing with the Roman Church), in Italy and in the Mediterranean Sea.

Latest years

Cozzi became Director of the Institute of History of the Cini Foundation, a member of the Accademia dei Lincei, and, in 1987, director of the newly formed administrator FBSR, (Fondazione Benetton Studi e Ricerche). In this institution, initiated a series of researches on his favorite themes: the landscape, the countryside, the emigration and games.

In 1998 his teaching activity ended with a ceremony in his honor at the Ca' Foscari University of Venice where he was given the title of Emeritus Professor.

On 15 March 2001, at the age of 78, he died in Venice. He was buried in the cemetery of Zero Branco, next to the companion of his life, Luisa.

An eloquent and touching commemoration of Gaetano Cozzi was given by Professor Gino Benzoni, a lifelong friend, at the “Istituto veneto di Scienze, Lettere e Arti”, on 23 March 2002. [11]


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  1. 1 2 Michele Gottardi, "Il sapere di un gentiluomo", “La Tribuna di Treviso”, March 17, 2001, p. 49
  2. See, "Anagrafe", Municipality of Zero Branco
  3. G. Cozzi, "La storia come esperienza umana: Gaetano Cozzi: sei conversazioni, una lezione inedita, la bibliografia", by Marco Folin e Andrea Zannini, Treviso, Fondazione Benetton Studi Ricerche-Canova, 2006, pp. 116-117
  4. 1 2 "Ibidem", p. 30
  5. "Ibidem", p. 22
  6. "Ibidem", p. 57
  7. "Ibidem", p. 35
  8. "Ibidem", p. 52
  9. "Ibidem", p. 127
  10. "Ibidem", p. 62
  11. [ dead link ]