Sandra Cavallo

Sandra Cavallo


  • TW20 0EX

Personal profile

Research interests

I have worked on the social and cultural history of early modern Italy and in particular on gender and the family, medicine and the body, and the home and material culture. I have also written on these themes in a wider comparative perspective, editing volumes about Europe and Europe and its colonies.


In the last few years my work has focused on the history of the home. I have been a member of the Getty funded international team of scholars which researched for the exhibition "At Home in Renaissance Italy" (Victoria and Albert Museum 2006-07) and co-edited with Silvia Evangelisti the volume Domestic Institutional Interiors in Early Modern Europe (Ashgate 2009), which considers residential institutions as domestic environment.

From 2009 to 2012 I led the Wellcome Trust Project Grant “Healthy Homes Healthy Bodies in Renaissance and Early Modern Italy” ( Shifting attention from medical treatment to preventive health, the study reveals the forgotten role of ideas about healthy living in shaping domestic routines and the design and material culture of homes. The richly illustrated book resulting from this study (Healthy Living in Late Renaissance Italy,co-authored with Tessa Storey, OUP 2013) offers a vivid account of the efforts made by men and women in late-Renaissance Italy to stay healthy and live a “long life.”  This book was awarded the Roland Bainton Prize for History 2014. A co-edited volume (Conserving Health in Early Modern European Culture: Bodies and Environment in Italy and England), which explores early modern practices of healthy living in a comparative perspective, was published by Manchester University Press in July 2017.

My previous monographs (Charity and Power in Early Modern Italy. Benefactors and their Motives in Turin 1541-1789, CUP 1995 and Artisans of the body in early modern Italy. Identities, Families, Masculinities, MUP 2007) and most of the volumes I co-edited are available in paperback.

I am currently working on three projects: 1) the history and future of the air; 2) gender and space in the early modern Italian palace; 3) vernacular medical texts for the household in 16th- and 17th-century Italy.



Personal profile

I received my PhD from UCL and started my academic career as Wellcome Lecturer in the History of Medicine at the University of Exeter (1991-95). I then moved to Royal Holloway in 1996.  I have been Associate Director of the AHRC Centre for the Study of the Domestic Interior ( and I am currently co-Director of the Centre for the Study of the Body and Material Culture at Royal Holloway. In 2001 I was Maître des Conference at the EHESS (Paris) and in 2012 Fernand Braudel Fellow at the EUI (Florence). From January to March 2018 I held a fellowship at the Max Planch Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality