Emeritus Professor Polizzotto was born in Palermo, Italy, and later emigrated with his family to Melbourne. He attended the University of Melbourne and, later, Westfield College at the University of London. He became the foremost scholar of the followers of the millenarian preacher Girolamo Savonarola. He returned to Australia and took up a post in the Italian Department at the University of Western Australia, where he spent the majority of his academic career. He was Head of the Italian Section of the Department of European Languages and Studies at the University and member of the Renaissance Society of America, Society for Renaissance Studies and the Society for Confraternity Studies.
He was renowned for his meticulous attention to archival research and detail. His first monograph, The Elect Nation: The Savonarolan Movement in Florence 1494-1545 (Clarendon Press, 1996), was closely followed by a number of journal articles. In 2004, he published Children of the Promise: The Confraternity of the Purification and the Socialization of Youths in Florence, 1427-1785 (Oxford University Press) and, with Catherine Kovesi in 2007, Memorie Di Casa Valori (Nerbini).
Emeritus Professor Polizzotto died on 22 July 2022. We extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Carolyn, his surviving son, the wider Polizzotto family, and his friends and colleagues.