«Rinascimento» is the journal of the Istituto Nazionale di Studi sul Rinascimento. Established by a decree of law on July 29, 1937, the Istituto – which assumed its current name in 1942 – has its «task of promoting, co-ordinating and disseminating research and publications» concerning the Italian and European Renaissance. This task for which since the very beginning the journal has played a fundamental role by supporting and integrating the studies and texts which the Istituto promotes and edits.
The journal was originally entitled «La Rinascita» with a trimester periodicity, which became bimestral. From 1938 to 1944 «La Rinascita» was a faithful reflection of diverse and opposing spirits present together in the Istituto under the presidency of Giovanni Papini, who also directed the journal. The rhetoric of the regime and concepts concerning the Renaissance were forcefully ideologized, but alternated by studies of high quality of absolute innovation on the international scene, thus granting space to documented and erudite contributions, philological research (for example, Alessandro Perosa’s Miscellanee di filologia), unpublished texts and, despite the difficulty of those years, ample bibliographic information. The issues of the first year of publication, 1938, hosted Eugenio Garin’s review of the Supplementum Ficinianum of Paul Oskar Kristeller (listed among the collaborators), a contribution by Hans Baron on Lo sfondo storico del Rinascimento fiorentino, a study by Garin on La ‘dignitas hominis’ e la letteratura patristica. During the war years the number of issues published was reduced. In the last issue, number 35 of 1944, Garin’s essay Giovanni Gentile interprete del Rinascimento came out several months following Gentile’s death.
After the interruption of the period following the war years, the Istituto was officially reconstituted in 1949, at the behest of numerous intellectuals, Italian, European and American – with Kristeller in the first rank – to retake the activities of the journal. With its new title «Rinascimento», Mario Salmi, the new president of the Istituto, became director of the journal. Garin became a member of the new board of councillors and chief journal editor. The first series of «Rinascimento» began with a trimestral and, subsequently, bimestral publication schedule which welcomed the research of those scholars who were or had become important in the field of Renaissance studies, such as Cesare Vasoli, Antonio Rotondò, Giuseppe Billanovich, Luigi Firpo, Cecil Grayson, Ugo Procacci, and François Secret.
At the beginning of 1961, concomitant with the Istituto’s new statute, the second series of «Rinascimento» was inaugurated. The structure was rethought following a renewed necessity for rigour desired by Garin, who presided over the board of councillors as vice president, and soon to join Salmi as director of the journal: one volume, appearing annually, organized into sections, aimed at accentuating «the character of a gathering of historical and erudite contributions» (the section «Saggi e testimonianze») and editions of texts and documents, the fruits of original research (the section «Testi e commenti») granting space to all fields of study in which Humanism and the Renaissance are manifested: «from litterature to art, from philosophy to science». It is mainly by means of the offering of this material – whose ease of consultation is aided by the invaluable addition of indexes for names and manuscript sources – that this journal aims at the participation in international debate on the Renaissance, indicating by its own methodological approach of rigour and scholarly research. The scholarly contributions of Robert Klein, Mario Martelli, Carlo Dionisotti, Lech Szezucki, Chritian Bec, Lucia Cesarini Martinelli are offered as pertinent examples.
In the role of president of the Istituto these scholars have directed the journal: Eugenio Garin (from 1978 to 1988), Cesare Vasoli (from 1988-1996) and Michele Ciliberto (from 1997). During the course of these years, new sections have articulated the structure of «Rinascimento»: beginning in 1966 «Note e varietà»; most recently however is the section «Discussion». From time to time, volumes of the journal have been issued dedicated entirely or in part to authors and themes of notable significance to historiographic research concerning Humanism and the Renaissance: volume XII (1972) is dedicated to Leon Battista Alberti; in 2000 vol. XL appeared dedicated to Giordano Bruno on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of his death. Volume XLIII (2003) opens with a section on historiographic tendencies and on the perspective for research on the Renaissance underway in the United States. In 2008 the journal hosted the proceedings of the international conference Filosofie e teologie nella cultura moderna. From 1986 to 1989 the «Bibliografia italiana di studi sull’Umanesimo e il Rinascimento» was published having independent pagination: a census of books and articles (analyzed from 120 journals), issued during the preceeding year, concerning topics relevant to the 14th to the 16th centuries. To respond to the known need to offer updates on the status of studies and critical textual editions a meritorious undertaking like the Bibliografia italiana di studi sull’Umanesimo e il Rinascimento would perhaps seem anacronistic given the existence of print and online repertories expressly dedicated to current information needs. «Rinascimento» has therefore decided to offer bibliographic surveys concerning the important protagonists of the 15th – 16th centuries: the volume for 2014 has hosted a bibliographic survey on Jean Bodin. Moreover, similar works are underway for Leon Battista Alberti, Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, Giordano Bruno and Tommaso Campanella. A final aspect to emphasize is the current intensification of collaboration with the most important American scholars of the Renaissance following a tradition which, however, has always characterized this journal.