The Design of the Euro and the Issue of a Common European Culture

Event Date: 
08 Mar 2017

Research Seminars (2016-2017) at UCL Italian (SELCS) 

Dr Alessandro Scafi (Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Cultural History at the Warburg Institute, University of London)


The event will take place on 8 March 6pm in the UCL Italian Seminar Room, Room 351, Third Floor, Foster Court, Malet Place, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT .


Contacts: Dr Carlotta Ferrara degli Uberti (; Dr Oscar Schiavone (



The images forming the design of the European single currency are hugely familiar to anybody living or traveling in the Euro zone. What do they tell us, however, about the past, the present, and the future of the European Union?


It is well known that money is used as an economic tool to regulate exchange but also serves as a symbolic sign of cultural identity. Analysis of the Euro’s design sheds light on the political and cultural potential of the EU and on its position between promoting purely economic goals and seeking to achieve a tighter political coalition. The complex symbolism adopted for the Euro may also be seen as an indication of the ongoing process of transformation and redefinition of the meaning of the state in a modern, globalized world, and of the relationships both among states and between states and citizens.


Alessandro Scafi is Lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Cultural history at the Warburg Institute, University of London. He is the author of Mapping Paradise: A History of Heaven on Earth (London: British Library; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006; Italian transl. Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2007) and Maps of Paradise (London: British Library; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013; German transl. Darmstadt: WBG, 2015). With Veronica della Dora, Avril Maddrell and Heather Walton, Dr Scafi has published Christian Pilgrimage, Landscape and Heritage: Journeying to the Sacred (New York and London: Routledge, 2014). He is the editor of The Cosmography of Paradise: The Other World from Ancient Mesopotamia to Medieval Europe (London: The Warburg Institute, 2016). In addition to essays on the history of cartography and pilgrimage, Alessandro Scafi has published several articles on Aby Warburg, the relationship between the Italian and Hungarian Renaissances and on Italian art and literature, in particular on Dante and Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini. He produced an Italian translation of Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini’s Dialogus de somnio quodam (Turin: Aragno, 2004). He has also authored Eurodesign: Immagini, avventure e misteri della moneta europea (Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2009), and Alla scoperta del paradiso: Un Atlante del cielo sulla terra (Palermo: Sellerio, 2011).