Giovanni Spani


Department of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Program Coordinator Italian Studies
Coordinator, Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Associate Professor, Italian Studies 
Pedagogical Coordinator
Ph.D., Indiana University


Fields: Medieval & Renaissance Italian Literature

• Professor Giovanni Spani's Website
Selected Articles»
Research Interests»

Office Phone: 508-793-3834
Office: Stein 452
PO Box: 223A
Office Hours:


Giovanni Spani earned his Laurea in political science from the University of Padua (Italy), and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Italian literature from Indiana University, Bloomington. Before coming to Holy Cross in 2009, he taught at Indiana University, Trinity College, Middlebury College and Bowdoin College. 

In 2010 he was elected to a three-year term (2011-2014) as Italian Area Director on the board of the Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA), an organization that serves professionals in the discipline of modern languages. 

In collaboration with Lourdes Pereira (University of the Balearic Islands, Spain) and Dolores Juan Moreno (Clark University), in 2012 he developed and organized an ongoing annual international seminar series entitled “Literature and Sin” that takes place at the Contemporary and Modern Art Museum “Es Baluard” in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.   

At Holy Cross he created and coordinated the Italian radio program Radio Libera Italiana (2009-present), which turned out to be one of the most exhilarating events on and off campus. Radio Libera Italiana broadcasts once a week, usually on Tuesday nights (FM 88.1); students actively participate in the radio show, and while reciting a poem or conversing with others, they practice and improve their Italian language skills and broaden their knowledge of Italian culture. He also created the Pasta Olympics (2010-present), an annual competition in which students have the opportunity to demonstrate their culinary prowess in preparing pasta dishes and to enjoy an entertaining evening of food and fellowship with fellow Italian students and professors. Far more than a simple opportunity to eat good food, the Pasta Olympics is in reality a cultural initiative that emphasizes the importance of dialogical interaction among students who have common interests and share similar intellectual goals.



Donne del Mediterraneo. Saggi Interdisciplinari. (Women of the Mediterranean. Interdisciplinary Essays), (co-edited with Marco Marino), Firenze: Società Editrice Fiorentina, 2017.

Visioni Mediterranee: Itinerari e migrazioni culturali (Mediterranean Visions: Itineraries and Cultural Migrations), (co-edited with Marco Marino), Lanciano: Carabba, 2016. 

La cronachistica toscana del Trecento: trascrivere, compilare e compendiare la storia (The Tuscan Chronicle of Trecento: Transcribing, Compiling and Synthesizing History), Alessandria: Edizioni Dell’Orso, 2014.

New Perspectives on Veneto. Literary and Cultural Itineraries, (co-edited with Simona Wright), NEMLA Italian Studies, Journal of Italian Studies, Volume 35 (2013).

L’Italia letteraria e cinematografica dal secondo Novecento ai giorni nostri (Literary and Cinematographic Italy from the Late 1900s to Our Time), (co-edited with Philip Balma), Cuneo: Nerosubianco, 2012.

Echi Oltremare. Italy, the Mediterranean and Beyond. Conference Proceedings «Echi Oltremare», Rome, 17-18 June 2011, (co-edited with Fulvio Orsitto and Sonia Massari),, 2012. 

Streetwise Italian Dictionary/Thesaurus: The User-Friendly Guide to Italian to Italian Slang and Idioms, (co-edited with Nicholas Albanese, Philip Balma, Ermanno Conti), New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

Albanese Nicholas, Giovanni Spani, Philip Balma, and Ermanno Conti, Streetwise Italian Dictionary / Thesaurus: The User-Friendly Guide to Italian to Italian Slang and Idioms. New York: McGraw-Hill (2005).

     Streetwise Italian Dictionary / Thesaurus provides Italian students with today’s most accurate, accessible, and up-to-date reference to current Italian slang and idiomatic expressions. More than 2,500 terms and expressions are      conveniently arranged into alphabetical topics, and then – unlike most resources of its type – marked for register to prevent the embarrassment of inappropriate usage. Extensive example sentences, together with their English        translations, provide helpful context. Valuable for all, but particularly those planning travel to Italy, this comprehensive reference reveals the true language of Italy.


Selected Articles

“A Case of Sudden-Death in Decameron IV.6: Aortic Dissection or Atrial Mixoma?” in “Circulation Research. Journal of the American Heart Association,” 119 (July 2016), pp. 187-189.

“Il vino di Boccaccio: usi e abusi in alcune novelle del Decameron” (“Boccaccio’s Wine: Use and Misuse in Several Decameron’s Tales”), in Heliotropia 8-9(2011-2012), pp. 79-98. (Reprinted in Heliotropia 700/10. A Boccaccio Anniversary Volume. Ed. M. Papio. Milano: Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto, 2013, pp. 107-121).

“Anita Garibaldi: tra mito e realtà” (“Anita Garibaldi: between Myth and Reality”), in Cinema e Risorgimento: Visioni e Re-Visioni. Da La presa di Roma a Noi credevamo. Ed. F. Orsitto. Roma: Vecchiarelli, 2012, pp. 35-54.

“‘Ohimmé! Sarei io mai Calandrino, chi’io sia sì tosto diventato un altro sanza essermene avveduto?’ Riflessioni sull’altro ne La novella del grasso legnaiuolo e ne La Calandria” (“‘Oh my! Could I be Calandrino, because I became someone else without realizing it?’ Reflections on the Other in the Story of the Fat Woodworker and in The Calandria”), in L’altro e l’altrove nella cultura italiana. Ed. F. Orsitto. Cuneo: Nerosubianco, 2011, pp. 19-29.

“Un ritorno alle immagini dantesche nella seconda metà del Cinquecento: alcune osservazioni sulla inedita stampa del ‘Lucifer’ di Galle” (“A Return to Dantesque Images in the Second Half of the 1500s: Some Observation on the Unpublished Print of ‘Lucifer’ by Galle”), in Studi Italiani 44(2010), pp. 37-51.


Research Interests

Italian literature of the Middle Ages,
Medieval and contemporary Italian history and historiography,
Italian culture and modern Italian literature.