Carlo Taviani earned his bachelor’s degree from the University La Sapienza in Rome and received his PhD from the University of Perugia. He has held fellowships at the Istituto Italiano per gli Studi Storici and the Deutsches Historisches Institut in Rome; Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for the Italian Renaissance Studies, where he was also a research associate; the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC; and the Italian-German Historical Institute in Trent. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Chicago and the MacMillan Center at Yale and a visiting lecturer at the University of Cape Town. He taught at the Università degli Studi di Teramo, the Università degli Studi di Trento, the University of Cape Town, and the University of Bologna.
His PhD thesis focused on revolts and political conflicts in Renaissance Genoa. He has also studied political exiles and their cultural entanglements in Renaissance Italy. More recently, he has been working on economic topics such as the history of the Casa di San Giorgio in Genoa—an institution that managed the public debt—as a model for later business corporations such as the Dutch East India Company and the Mississippi Company. His work on this topic has led him to an interest in elaborating a methodology of institutional migration. Thanks to his stay in Cape Town, he has also moved into studying the history of Africa. His current project – which was initially funded by the Max Weber Stiftung and which he now continues in the frame of the SNSF project "Atlantic Italies" – focuses on the African entanglements of the Genoese traders between the fifteenth and early sixteenth century, particularly with regard to their investments in commodity trading and the very early slave trade. Together with Pedro Pinto and Roberto Zaugg, he is preparing an edition of the account book of the Casa da Guiné e Mina (1504-1505), the institution which controlled early Portuguese trade in West Africa.