He got his degree (cum laude) at the Istituto Universitario Orientale of Naples, with a thesis about Toshusai Sharaku, and his Ph.d (cum laude) at the University of Florence, with a thesis about the collection of Chinese and Japanese lacquerwares in the Stibbert Museum.
Francesco Morena has published many books. Notable writings: Dalle Indie Orientali alla Corte di Toscana. Collezioni di arte cinese e giapponese a Palazzo Pitti, Florence 2005 (the complete catalogue of the historical collection of Chinese and Japanese art in Palazzo Pitti, Florence); La collezione Scalabrino. Porcellane orientali e maioliche europee, Livorno 2006 (catalogue of a private collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain); Ukiyo-e. Utamaro, Hokusai, Hiroshige, Florence 2007 (French edition: Ukiyo-e ou l’estampe japonaise. Sōtatsu, Andō, Utamaro, Hokusai et Hiroshige, Paris 2008); Chinoiserie. The Evolution of the Oriental style in Italy from the 14th to the 19th century, Florence 2009 (the only available book on the influences that Oriental Art had on European culture).
He curated some important exhibitions: Netsuke. Sculture in palmo di mano. La raccolta Lanfranchi e opere da prestigiose collezioni internazionali, Milan, Poldi Pezzoli Museum 2008 (the only exhibition in Italy about netsuke); Line and Color. Japanese Arts and the European Connection, Livorno 2012 (held in Palazzo Pitti with numerous Japanese Art renowed masterpieces from 14th to 19th century); Giapponismo. Suggestioni dell’Estremo Oriente dai Macchiaioli agli Anni Trenta, Livorno 2012 (the first exhibition on Italian Japonisme). He was also member of the scientific commitee of many exhibitions all over the world, author of catalogue entries and essays on renowed specialistic magazines on Oriental Art.
Among the many conferences he held, the most remarkable are that at the Royal Academy of London (invited by the Oriental Ceramic Society, 2006), and that at the Nezu Museum of Tokyo (2011).
Francesco Morena has taught for three years at the Istituto Universitario Orientale in Naples (2008-2011) and is currently Ispector for the Italian Ministry of Cultural Goods.
He actively collaborates with the most important museums of Oriental art in the world, some of them he frequented thanks to fellowships. Furthermore, he collaborates as expert with some auction houses, choosing and studying objects sold at very important prices.