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Professor of Modern Italian History, University of Bristol

I studied PPE at Oriel College, Oxford (1983-1986) and studied for Phd at Kings College, Cambridge (1991). My supervisor in Cambridge was Paul Ginsborg, and I worked on the cultural and social history of World War One in Milan and Lombardy, and the period after the conflict known as the 'two red years'. I looked into the alliances (or lack of them) between socialists and catholics, workers and peasants and the working class and the middle classes over this time of revolution and defeat. This material was published as a series of articles in the 1990s.

From 1992-1995 I was Junior Research Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge. I began to work on the period of the 'economic miracle' in the city of Milan, and this research eventually led to a book called Milan since the Miracle which appeared in English and Italian in 2001 and 2003.

In 2002 I was commissioned by the town of Pero to write a history of immigration to the city in the 1950s and 1960s. This led to a book in 2004.

I also wrote a new textbook called Modern Italy (2003). A new edition of this book will appear in 2014.

In this period I was working on a major research project based in UCL with a number of other colleagues. This led to the documentary film, Ringhiera: Story of a House (2004), which was shown at a number of film festivals and conferences.

In 2004 I began to look at the history of Italian football for a major book-length project. Calcio was published in Italian and English in 2006-7, around the time of the calciopoli scandals and Italy's world cup triumphs. Numerous other editions of this book have appeared since, the latest in 2012 in Italian. The book was runner-up in the Premio Bancarella Sports Book prize in 2008.

My next project was to examine the concept of divided memory through a detailed study of debates over the past in contemporary Italy. This work came out of an interest in the events and post-memory of the Piazza Fontana bomb in 1969 in Milan and the death of Giuseppe Pinelli. This work eventually led to a monograph in Italian and English (2009 and 2011) - Fratture d'Italia and Italy's Divided Memory.

My interest in the history of Italian sport led to research into Italian cycling and the Giro d'Italia, which was published as Pedalare! Pedalare! in English and Italian in 2011 and 2012.

In 2011 I was awarded a Wellcome Trust grant to carry out research into the history and memory of the radical psychiatry movement in Italy which eventually closed down the asylums. This work had a particular focus on the life and times of the psychiatrist Franco Basaglia (1924-1980). It will be published in Italian and English in 2014, the 90th anniversary of Basaglia's birth.

Once the Basaglia project is finished, I will be working on a new, popular history of post-war Italy (to be published in Italy and the Uk by Laterza and Bloomsbury respectively). I am also interested in carrying out further research into the closure of the psychiatric hospitals in Italy after 1978.

I am currently co-editor of the journal Modern Italy, published by Taylor and Francis (with Phil Cooke). I was appointed co-editor in 2010. This refereed journal appears 4 times a year and is linked to the Association for the Study of Modern Italy.

Outside academia I am interested in football (Arsenal, Plymouth Argyle and Inter), Cricket (Middlesex CCC), mountains (Trentino), cycling, wine, twitter (@footymac), detective novels and books in general, films.

I write for The Guardian and review books regularly for the TLS and History Today. I have also written for the LRB and the Independent. I write a regular blog for Internazionale magazine in Italian


  • –present
    Professor of Modern Italian History, University of Bristol