According to an oft-quoted statement by Ebbinghaus, psychology has a long past and a recent history. Even though psychological topics have been explored by historians, philosophers, theologians, religious and spiritual guides, poets, and novelists from the early stages of Western culture, the scientific investigation of such topics began only in the nineteenth century. A similar comment could be made about the psychological study of creativity in Italy, as well as, presumably, in other countries (see Albert & Runco, 1999). Italian research on creativity has a recent history but a long past. Indeed, even though studies explicitly analyzing, assessing, and promoting creativity only appeared in Italy in the 1960s, issues associated with creativity were pondered earlier, under different labels within more general theoretical topics.
Human creativity represents one of the most important and intriguing aspects of psychological functioning, but it is still in search of a clear and unequivocal definition. If we assume, in general terms, that creativity concerns the possibility that human beings produce, either in a physical–material or in a cultural sense, something that did not exist before and that is appreciated by other people because of its practical, intellectual, or aesthetic value, then we realize that the problem of explaining how humans can succeed in this endeavor was already being addressed by many scholastic thinkers in Italy in the Middle Ages.