Carlo Ginzburg, son of Leone and Natalia Ginzburg, grew up in Turin. In 1961 he received his university degree at the University of Pisa, received shortly after a call to the University of Bologna, where he taught until 1988. Then he went to the United States to UCLA, where he taught modern history. Recently he became a professor at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa.
Ginzburg field extends from the Italian Renaissance to the early modern Europe. He is also a leading proponent of micro-history and the new cultural history.
His 1980 published book The Cheese and the Worms - The world of a miller in 1600, which is about the Italian farmers Menocchio and its world view, made him famous; it has been translated into 15 languages and won him several awards. In his work on the witch hunts of the early modern period, for example, coven, he is pursuing the idea of a European shamanism.
Ginzburg is equally interested in the process of scientific knowledge acquisition: In forensic he compares the methods of work of Sigmund Freud and Sherlock Holmes with those of the art historian Giovanni Morelli, the heranzog first minor details for the attribution of paintings. Against the backdrop of the 19th century Ginzburg describes each epoch- typical forms of trace evidence.
He took part in the discussion about Adriano Sofri and has presented his case in a book in 1991.
Since 2006, he teaches in Pisa. At the Center for Literary and Cultural Research in Berlin, he conducted research on the analogy of biological reproduction, and duplication of things in the Middle Ages.
Ginzburg's works were mainly issued in co-founded by his father Einaudi publishing house. German editions appeared among others in the syndicate and Wagenbach Verlag.
- The Cheese and the Worms: The world of a miller in 1600, trans. v. Charles F. Hauber. Syndicate, Frankfurt am Main 1979, ISBN 3-8108-0118-6.
- The Benandanti: Field cults and witchcraft in the 16th and 17th centuries, trans. v. Charles F. Hauber. Syndicate, Frankfurt am Main 1980, ISBN 3-8108-0160-7.
- Explorations about Piero: Piero della Francesca, a painter of the early Renaissance, trans. v. Charles F. Hauber. Wagenbach, Berlin 1981, ISBN 3-8031-3500-1.
- Track fuses: about hidden history, art and social memory, trans. v. Charles F. Hauber. Wagenbach, Berlin 1983, ISBN 3-8031-3514-1.
- Witches' Sabbath: Deciphering a nighttime story, trans. v. Martina Kempter. Wagenbach, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-8031-3549-4.
- The Judge and the Historian: Reflections on the case Sofri, trans. v. Walter Koegler. Wagenbach, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-8031-2189-2.
- The Venus of Giorgione, trans. v. Catharina Berents. Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-05-003217-0.
- Wooden Eyes: about proximity and distance, trans. v. Renate Heimbucher. Wagenbach, Berlin 1999, ISBN 3-8031-3599-0.
- The Sword and the light bulb: a new reading of Picasso's Guernica, trans. v. Reinhard Kaiser. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1999, ISBN 3-518-12103-0.
- The truth of the story: rhetoric and evidence, trans. v. Wolfgang Kaiser. Wagenbach, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-8031-5165-1.