Italian Time Travel on Women’s Day

On Women’s Day, March 8th 2014, the association Bridging Ages-Venice and the four ladies‘ clubs of Venice; Inner Wheel, Fidapa, Soroptimist, Zonta International in collaboration with the municipality of Venice, organized a Time Travel to 1678 focused on Elena Lucrezia Corner Piscopia, the first graduate woman in the world. She belonged to one of the most important families of the Republic of Venice and became famous for her intelligence and her education.

Since the Time Travel focused on the role played by the Venetian community in Elena‘s education and academic career, well-known professors of Ca’ Foscari University, students, and many friends were pleased to be involved as protagonists in the ceremony of graduation. After a short presentation of the historical context, visitors at Palazzo Mocenigo (the civic Museum of the Fashion and Costumes) were invited to join and to dress up, in order to take part in the Time Travel. The participation of the Venetian community was really remarkable and all of us had a lot of fun.


“Today, Saturday June 25, 1678 in Padua, the examination for the award of a Doctorate of Philosophy to Elena Corner Piscopia takes place. At the last minute, the ceremony is transferred from the University to the Cathedral, in the chapel of the Virgin Mary, in order to accommodate the crowd which has gathered for the event. Such an unusual event arouses so much curiosity and interest, because Elena is a woman...“

For the first time the life of Elena Corner Piscopia was recalled in Venice through a cultural and historical event which gave the participants an opportunity to reflect on education and the right to education for women in the past and in the current society. The history of Venice is also the history of women. The life and achievement of Elena Corner Piscopia is part of the history of European women and the history of women’s higher education.


Has this event changed the status of women? How many other women graduated after Elena Corner? How much are we aware about the role played by the Venetian community in Elena‘s education and academic career? What changed after the fall of the Republic? And today, what is the situation?

Cécile Franchetti, Bridging Ages Venice