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History of Freemasonry in Italy

History of Freemasonry in Italy.

Freemasonry is a philosophical and philanthropic society that has had a long and influential history in Italy. Its roots in the country go back to the 18th century, and it has been a significant part of Italian social and political life ever since.

This article will provide an in-depth history of Freemasonry in Italy, from its origins to the present day.

Origins of Freemasonry in Italy:

The origins of Freemasonry in Italy can be traced back to the early 18th century, when the first lodges were established in the northern regions of the country.

The first documented lodge in Italy was established in Florence in 1733, and by the mid-18th century, there were lodges in Milan, Turin, and Venice.

At this time, Freemasonry was primarily a social and cultural organization, with members drawn from the Italian aristocracy and upper middle class. It was also an important center of Enlightenment thought, promoting rationalism, scientific inquiry, and individual freedom.

In the late 18th century, Freemasonry became increasingly politicized, and Italian Freemasons played a significant role in the revolutionary movements that swept across Europe.

Italian Freemasons were particularly active in the struggle for Italian unification, which culminated in the Risorgimento movement of the mid-19th century.

The Risorgimento and Freemasonry:

The Risorgimento was a complex political and social movement that aimed to unify the Italian peninsula and create a modern, unified Italian state.

Freemasonry played a significant role in this process, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and a network of like-minded individuals.

Many of the leading figures of the Risorgimento were Freemasons, including Giuseppe Mazzini, the founder of the revolutionary organization Young Italy, and Giuseppe Garibaldi, the leader of the Redshirts who played a crucial role in the unification of Italy.

Freemasonry was also influential in the development of Italian nationalism, promoting the idea of Italy as a unified, independent nation-state.

The Italian national anthem, "Il Canto degli Italiani," was composed by Freemason Goffredo Mameli, and its lyrics express the ideals of freedom, unity, and brotherhood that were central to the Risorgimento movement.

The Catholic Church and Freemasonry:

Throughout its history, Freemasonry has had a complicated relationship with the Catholic Church.

The Church has frequently condemned Freemasonry, viewing it as a dangerous and subversive organization that promotes anti-Christian and anti-religious ideas.

In Italy, this tension was particularly acute, as the Catholic Church wielded significant political and cultural power.

In 1738, Pope Clement XII issued a papal bull, "In Eminenti," which declared Freemasonry to be a heretical and anti-Christian organization.

This position was reiterated by subsequent popes, and Catholic opposition to Freemasonry remained strong throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

This opposition came to a head in the early 20th century, when the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini banned Freemasonry in Italy.

The Fascists viewed Freemasonry as a symbol of liberal democracy and individualism, and its ideals were seen as incompatible with the totalitarian state that Mussolini sought to create.

Freemasonry in the 20th century:

Despite the persecution and repression it faced in the early 20th century, Freemasonry continued to play a significant role in Italian society.

In the post-World War II period, Freemasonry became an important force in the development of democratic institutions and civil society in Italy.

Many of the leading figures of the Italian left, including Palmiro Togliatti and Antonio Gramsci, were Freemasons, and the organization played a crucial role in the development of the Italian Communist Party. At the same time, Freemasonry remained.


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