The Centro di studi per la storia del pensiero giuridico moderno (Study Centre for the history of modern legal thought) has been operative within the University of Florence for over fifty years. It was set up in 1971, through the initiative of Paolo Grossi, with a view to a wide-ranging activity, above all at the interdisciplinary level. In 1980 the Centro was recognised as a "specialised scientific organ connected with the Faculty of Law of the University of Florence", and in 2003 as a "Centro di ricerca, trasferimento e alta formazione dell'Università degli Studi di Firenze". On 21 October 2022, the Centro was entitled after Paolo Grossi. Its historic premise is in Villa Ruspoli, Piazza Indipendenza 9.
The Centro is, first and foremost, an important centre of historical and legal research (the Biblioteca for the history of modern legal thought promoted and edited by the Centro, has topped the target of 100 published volumes). It is also, and primarily, a communal workbench focused on bringing forth the fundamental unity of legal science through the identification of historic roots both ancient and recent.
The Centro's calling for dialogue is demonstrated - besides by its board of directors including experts of positive law, alongside legal historians - by all of its initiatives being open to historians and jurists interested in the cultural dimension of law. Lately this has been the case of the recent international conference on History and law: comparing experiences (Florence, October 2012). The chosen topic and the titles of individual sessions - the first devoted to the state of the art of national legal history in Europe and beyond, the second to the relationship between legal history and legal science, the third to the spaces and boundaries of legal history beyond national histories -, the contributions by scholars from different countries of the world, have confirmed the Centro's ability to act as a transnational meeting place.
The preferred topics of the journal Quaderni fiorentini per la storia del pensiero giuridico moderno confirm this interdisciplinary and transnational character. The journal has consistently privileged dimensions whose interest is not confined to the Italian experience and naturally belongs to the supranational space, such as ownership and the legal personality. The same is true of the study seminars on Second Scholastics and the formation of modern European law, Social history and the legal dimension, Codes and codification at the end of the second millennium, and of the dialogue with legal historians from the Hispano-Portuguese and Scandinavian areas (the proceedings can be accessed from the page Atti dei convegni). Also noteworthy in this connection is the research about the "culture" of Italian legal journals, which has been a widely imitated model of a cultural project, in line with the methodological approach proposed by the Centro.
Significant examples of this wide-ranging activity are the latest monographic issues of the Quaderni, featuring contributions by Italian and international scholars of legal history, positive law, political philosophy, political science, sociology. Volume 31 (2002) discusses, on the keynote of diachronic comparison, the establishment of the European legal order and the relations of continuity and discontinuity which connect it with different national traditions. Volume 33/34 (2004/05) is devoted to Europe and the "Others". Colonial law between the nineteenth and the twentieth century. Volumes 36 (2007) and 38 (2009) deal respectively with the Rule of law and criminal law and Enemies' rights. The latest monographic issues of the Quaderni have the same dimension of interdisciplinary openness and dialogue: Giudici e giuristi. Il problema del diritto giurisprudenziale fra Otto e Novecento (40/2011); Autonomia. Unità e pluralità nel sapere giuridico fra Otto e Novecento (43/2014); Giuristi e Stato sociale (46/2017); Il pluralismo giuridico: paradigmi ed esperienze (50/2021). All volumes can be accessed online (Indexes).