La lente del nunzio
Superstizione e occulto a Venezia nella prima metà del Seicento
In the seventeenth century, the Nunciature in Venice represented for the papacy not only an important observatory on the political and religious life of the Republic, but also a social and cultural barometer in a phase of important transformations. Dismissing the ambassador's clothes, in Venice the nuncio in fact wore those of a judge, presiding over the tribunal of the Holy Office, where he often came into direct contact with those who nourished the patchwork of superstitious beliefs that challenged the monopoly of the otherworldly that he was called upon to represent and defend. The trials of the Venetian Holy Office in the first half of the seventeenth century, largely for magic and superstition, make it possible today to observe and examine curious syncretisms, not only through interrogations - sources of notoriously dubious information - but also from the direct examination of texts that were confiscated from the defendants and attached to the dossiers. These include both well-known books of higher tenor and hand-copied notebooks and booklets of unknown origin. Moving from the more general Venetian context of the first half of the 17th century to the particulars of certain cases, this essay looks at the direct and indirect involvement of the clergy in the spread of superstition and the occult in Venice. Not only low ranking clergymen, but also prominent figures such as the nuncio Francesco Vitelli, a cultured man with highly ambiguous interests.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Marco Albertoni
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