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Home > Catholic Encyclopedia > P > Periodical Literature — Italy

Periodical Literature (Italy)

Without going back to the Acta Diurna, Acta Senatus, or Acta publica, existing in Rome in Cæsar's time, the modern newspaper had its birth in Venice. From the first years of the sixteenth century we learn of journals issued in that city every two or three days, sometimes even daily, under the surveillance of the Government. These sheets, called Avvisi, for the most part in manuscript, were distributed among the governors of provinces and the ambassadors to foreign courts; they were later read in public, and sold after the reading for a gazzetta (14.6 gazzettas = 1 lira), hence the name "gazette". At first these journals had an official character; but in 1538, during the Turkish War, their publication was entrusted to private enterprise, though they continued to be supervised by the Government. Under these new auspices journalism was carried on without serious competition up to the first decades of the eighteenth century.

It was natural that the example of Venice should be imitated elsewhere, but in Italy its functions were mainly confined to pandering to a scandal-loving public. In Rome this was carried to such a degree that in 1578 Greogry XIII issued a Bull of excommunication against the journalists who propagated the true and false scandals of society and the court. After Venice came Florence, where they printed Notizie or Gazzetta. In Rome the first permanent journal was "Il Diario de Roma", begun in 1716 during the war against the Turks in Hungary, printed by Luca and Giovanni Cracas, hence its familiar name "Il Cracas". After 1718 it was published twice a week, with a supplement. At the end of the eighteenth century, the subscription was 24 paoli (12 lira) per annum. Towards the middle of the eighteenth century a more intense journalistic life became manifest in Venice. In 1760 another journal, the "Gazzetta Veneta" appeared, edited by Gaspere Gozzi, who in the succeeding year founded a literary review called the "Osservatore Veneto". The directorship of the "Gazzetta Veneta" was then assumed by the priest Chiari; this paper survived until 1798, though its title was changed a number of times.

The following papers also deserve mention: the "Diario Veneto" (1765); the "Gazzetta" with subtitle "Notizie del mondo" (1769); the 'Novellista Veneto" (1775, daily); "Avvisi Pubblicide Venezia" (1785); the "Gazzetta delle Gazzette" (1786), the only one that also treated of political questions; the "Nuovo Postiglione" (1789). From 1768 to 1791 the "Gazzetta Fiorentina" was circulated at Florence. Besides the foregoing, a number of scientific and literary journals made their appearance. The first of these is the "Giornale dei letterati", founded in Rome by the learned Benedetto Bocchini (1650-1700). In 1718 the "Giornale dei letterati d'Italia" of Apostolo Zeno appeared at Venice, where also in the same year Pavini translated from the French the "Mercurio Storico". To these was added in 1724 the "Gran Giornale d'Europa", later the "Foglio per le Donne", the "Influssi" of Pasiello, the "Diario" of Cristoforo Zane (1735), and the "Giornale enciclopedico" (1777-87). The "Osservatore" of Gozzi, already mentioned, belongs to this category. The most famous literary journal of this epoch was the "Frusta" of Barretti at Turin, which unceasingly attacked the decadent literature of the times. Other literary and educational periodicals were: the "Analisi ragionata dei libri nuovi", published in Naples, later changed its title to "Giornale letterario" (1793-99). We may mention also the raccolte (collections) of various works and dissertations, which were published in a number of cities. Such was the "Raccolta Milanese", the "Opuscoli" of Calogerà at Pisa, the "Simbole" by Gori, even the "Saggi", etc. of the various academies in the cities of Italy. Beginning with 1710, Cracas printed a species of almanac, the "Notizie per l'anno"; while the Roman "Calendario" was the precursor of the "Gerarchia Cattolica" of today.

With the French Revolution, other papers were founded throughout Italy to advocate the new regime. In Venice in 1797 was printed the "Monitore lombardo-veneto-traspadano"; the "Libero Veneto"; the "Italiano rigenerato"; and the "Raccolta delle carte pubbliche". When Venice became Austrian, these journals disappeared, and the former "Gazzetta Urbana" became the "Gazzetta Veneta privilegiata" (1799). The "Diarlo di Roma" was discontinued from the close of 1798 until October of the succeeding year, again from 1808 to 1814, and from this last date continued up to the middle of the century. During the first French occupation the "Monitore di Roma" was published in Rome; the "Gazzetta Romana", founded in 1808 and edited in two languages, was followed in 1809 by the "Giornale del Campidoglio", and in 1812 by the "Giornale politico del dipartamento di Roma", containing treatises on antiquities and the results of excavations, and other items of interest. Mention may also be made of the "Giornale patriotico della Repubblica Napolitana".

The prerevolutionary journals were all Catholic. In the Reign of Terror the publication of Catholic journals became impossible. During the time of the Restoration the government in Italy held the censorship of the press in regard to all questions of political import; but journals were free to exert themselves in behalf of Catholicism. Foreign books, however; were circulated, propagating the political, social, and religious maxims of the Revolution. Thus the need of a conservative Catholic press made itself felt. The first to appear upon the field was in 1831, the "Voce della Verità" of Modena, founded under the auspices of Duke Francis V, and under the directorship of Antonio Parenti and Professor Bartolommeo Veratti. These journals continued to appear only until 1841. In this year Ballerini found the "Amico Cattolico" at Milan. The Revolution of 1848 (although signalized by the founding at Rome of the "Pallade" and the satirical paper "Don Pirlone"; at Piacenza, the "Eridano", representing the Provisional Government, the "Tribuno" representing the Opposition), made the necessity of good papers very urgent. On the return of Pius IX the "Giornale di Roma" was founded at Rome (1850-65), to which was added an evening paper, the "Osservatore Romano", which, when the "Giornale" was suspended, became the organ of the Pontificial Government.

At Turin the "Armonia" was founded in 1849, which fought strenuously for the cause of the Church. The "Unità Cattolica" appeared in 1862, directed by Margotti, and the "Armonia" was transferred to Florence; at Genoa the "Eco d'Italia" was established in 1849, an illustrated daily paper, still published under the name of "Liguria del Popolo". At Locarno, Canton of Ticino, Switzerland, the "Credente Cattolico" appeared in 1856; in the same year the "Osservatore Bolognese", at Bologna founded by Fangarezzi, Casoni, Acquaderni, etc., afterwards suppressed in 1859 by the provisional Government; in Florence the "Contemporaneo" (1857), founded by Stefano San Pol; in Naples, beginning in 1860, was published the "Omnibus", directed by Vincenzo Torello. After the annexation of a large part of Italy to Sardinia, when the influence of a Catholic Press was urgently needed, its freedom was continually hampered by all sorts of petty vexations. Papers that had been suppressed reappeared under other names. This persecution is explained either by the sectarian spirit of those in power, or by the impression then prevailing that the Catholic party was the declared enemy of the new Government. Thus there appeared at Bologna in 1861 the "Eco delle Romagne", substituted for the "Osservatore Bolognese", which in turn was suppressed in 1863 and succeeded by the "Patriotto Cattolico", followed again by the "Conservatore". (1868), and by the "Unione" (1878). A similar fate befell the "Osservatore Lombardo" of Brescia (1862-63). The "Difensore" of Modena was similarly treated and suppressed in 1867; and the year following Mgr Balan founded the "Diritto Cattolico", still published. In Florence the "Contemporaneo" succeeded to the "Corriere Toscano". In Venice the "Veneto Cattolico" appeared in 1866, and in 1867 assumed the name of "Difesa", which still survives. The "Osservatore Cattolico" was founded at Milan in 1864, and was entrusted to the editorship of Don Albertario. This journal undertook the refutation of the Rosminian doctrines, and was a faithful advocate of the papal policy. At this period religious papers were founded in other cities of Italy: the "Libertà", at Locarno (1866); the "Voce Cattolica" (1866); the "Gazzetta di Mondovì" (1868); the "Libertà Cattolica" of Naples (1867); the "Sicilia Cattolica" of Palermo (1868); the "Genio Cattolico" of Reggio Emilia (1869).

Meanwhile Pius IX felt the need at Rome of a politico-religious organ for the support of his own programme, for the refutation of pernicious doctrines, and to serve as a medium of official communication to the Catholic world. This was realized by the foundation of the "Correspondancede Rome", and the "Acta Sanctæ Sedis" (1865). The chief principles of the "Correspondance" were the support of the Holy See and opposition to the Liberal Catholics and Opportunists. In 1870 this paper was moved to Geneva by Mgr Mermillod, where it altered its title to "Correspondance de Genéve". It then became an instrument of Blome in his vigorous campaign against Bismarck, especially during the Kulturkampf. This paper supported the intransigent party favoured by the pope, though it failed to obtain the sympathy of Cardinal Antonelli. At the death of Pius IX the condition of Catholic journals was very favourable. They were perhaps inferior to the papers of their opponents in form, but were unrivalled as to the ability of their writers and the vigour and intelligence of their polemics. Among these the "Unità Cattolica" was especially distinguished.

The year 1870 beheld a revival of governmental and sectarian opposition to Catholic journals, which, however, increased in number despite the hostility manifested toward them. This was particularly the case with those papers of periodical issue. Thus in Rome in this year was founded the "Voce della Verità" (which ceased in 1904); the "Eco del Litorale" at Gorizia; the "Amico del Popolo", at Lucca (1872); the "Discussione", at Naples (1873); the "Verona Fedele", at Verona; the "Cittadino", at Genoa (1873); at Turin the "Corriere Nazionale" (1873), which in 1894 was fused with the "Italia Reale", and was founded after the transfer to Florence of the "Unità Cattolica"; at Venice the "Berico" (1876); at Udine the "Cittadino Italiano" (1878); at Perugia the "Paese" (1876); at Treviso the "Vita del Popolo", etc.

Leo XIII also realized the need of a papal journal through which he could communicate with the foreign press, and he consequently created the "Journal de Rome"; this paper did not fulfil his expectations, so it was succeeded by the "Moniteur de Rome" (1881-95). The most prominent developments of Italian journalism of the last few years are the union of the "Osservatore Cattolico" of Milan with the "Lega Lombarda" (founded in 1884), which two papers were fused as the "Unione". Another event in Italian journalism was the foundation of the "Momento" at Turin, and the alliance formed by the "Corriere d'Italia" (1905, originally called "Giornale di Roma") with the "Avvenire d'Italia" of Bologna and with the "Corriere della Sicilia" (Palermo). The "Correspondance de Rome", founded in 1907 with the title "Corrispondenza Romana", has a scope similar to the paper of the same name under Pius IX. Like its prototype, though not official in character, it is an echo of the Vatican.

Before we consult the actual statistics of the Catholic press of Italy it may be well to survey the history of that class of Catholic periodicals which comprises literature and erudition to the exclusion of politics. Among these periodicals, we may mention first the "Giornale arcadico" of Rome (1819-68), revived in 1888 with the title "Arcadia", and in 1898 reassuming its former title. Then came the "Tiberino" (1833); the "Album" (1834), illustrated and treating largely of the biographies of contemporaneous men; the "Rivista" (1831), devoted to the theatre; the "Giornale Ecclesiastico" (1825), a periodical devoted to canon law, in 1835 issued again as the "Annali delle scienze religiose", directed by Mgr Antonio de Luca and recognized as the organ of the Academy of the Catholic Religion. In 1865 de Rossi founded the "Bullettino di Archeologia Cristiana", reappearing as the "Nuovo Bullettino" etc. In Modena, to the labours of Veratti already mentioned were added the "Memorie di Religione"; the "Opuscoli religiosi, letterari e morali"; the "Strenne filologiche"; in 1858 he founded there a collection of "Letture amene ed oneste". Under the title of "Letture Cattoliche" and similar titles, periodicals existed in various cities, Padua, Naples, Genoa, Turin (this last founded by Don Bosco), etc.

Among the periodicals of an earlier date we must cite the "Giornale scientifico letterario" and the "Rivista di scienze, lettere e arti". Strictly religious periodicals, such as "Settimane Religiose", etc. were printed in many cities, often for the benefit of some sanctuary or in behalf of some pious work. The "Donna e la Famiglia" (Genoa, 1862), which had a fashion supplement; the "Consigliere delle Famiglie" (Genoa, 1879); the "Missione del la Donna" (Sciacca, 1875), were published for circulation in families. At the present time we should name especially the "Pro Familia" (Bergamo, splendidly illustrated). In many cities (Turin, Genoa, Massa Carrara, etc.) papers were published for workmen; others were devoted especially to the peasants. For education and the cause of Christian schools, were founded the "Scuola, Italiana Moderna" (Milan, 1893) and the "Vittorino da Feltre" (Feltre, 1890). The "Museo delle Missioni Cattoliche" (Turin, 1857); the "Missioni cattoliche" (Milan); the "Missioni francescane in Palestina" (Rome); the "Oriente Serafico" (Assisi, 1889); "Gerusalemme" (Genoa, 1877) and other bulletins of this kind indicate their subject-matter by their titles. With the periodical "La Scienza e la Fede" Sanseverino, the celebrated philosopher of Naples, assisted by Signoriello and by d'Amelio, carried on a propaganda for the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas.

The periodical "Scienza Italiana", founded in 1814 by the Jesuit Cornoldi and the physician Venturini, had a similar scope. After the encyclical "Æterni Patris" various other periodicals of this kind appeared, such as the "Eco di S. Tommaso d'Aquino" (Parma, 1879); "Divus Thomas" (Piacenza, 1880); the "Favilla" (Palermo); finally the "Rivista Neo-tomistica" was founded at Florence (1910). The "Catechista Cattolico" (Piacenza, 1877), and the "Risveglio del catechismo" (Chieri, 1893), the "Predicatore Cattolico" (Giarre), the "Poliantea oratoria" (Caltagirone, 1881), the "Crisostomo" (Rome) express their subjects in their titles, as also the "Monitore Liturgico" (Macerata, 1888), the "Ephemerides liturgicæ" (Rome, 1887), the "Rassegna Gregoriana" (Rome), the "Scuola Veneta di Musica Sacra" of Tebaldini etc. The "Bessarione" (1897) is devoted to Oriental Christian studies. The "Scuola Cattolica" founded by Cardinal Parocchi (1878), embraces all branches of theology and discipline. For social studies made after the encyclical "Rerum Novarum" in 1892, Benigni founded the "Rassegna sociale" (Perugia, afterwards Genoa); and in the next year Mgr Talamo began the "Rivista internazionale di scienze sociali", etc. In 1898 Murri founded a periodical of social studies, the "Cultura sociale", which deviated into forbidden tendencies of thought.

Historical periodicals are: "Rivista storica" of Pavia (now at Saronne); the "Muratori" (Pubblicazione di testi per la storia d'Italia); the "Rivista storica benedettina"; the "Archivum franciscanum historicum" (Rome); the "Miscellanea francescana" of Mgr Faloci Pulignani (Foligno, 1887); the "Miscellanea di Storia Ecclesiastica e studi ausiliari" (Rome, 1904-07), and the "Rivista storico-critica delle scienze teologiche" (Rome, 1905), recently condemned by the Holy Office. Among the existing scientific and literary reviews the oldest and most widely-circulated is the "Civiltà Cattolica", conducted by priests of the Society of Jesus, forming a community by themselves and directly subject to the general. This was founded in 1850 under the auspices of Pius IX. Among the founders and early writers Bresciani, Curci, Brunengo, Taparelli, Cornoldi, Liberatore, etc. won distinction. Mention must be made of "Acta Apostolicæ Sedis", the official bulletin of the Holy See, founded by motu proprio in 1908, in which are published the Bulls, Constitutions, Encyclicals, and other acts of the pope, together with the Decrees of the Roman Congregations. Several periodicals of the same kind are and have been published in Rome, such as the "Nuntius Romanus" (1882-1904), the "Analecta Ecclesiastica" (1893), the "Acta Pontificia", etc., besides the "Acta S. Sedis" already mentioned. The "Monitore Ecclesiastico", founded in Conversano by Mgr Gennari, afterwards cardinal, not only gives the more important pontifical news, but treats pf moral theology and canon law, and publishes decisions concerning ecclesiastical matters." The "Nuova Rivista delle Riviste" of Macerata gives a digest of important articles appearing in national and foreign periodicals upon matters of interest to the clergy. Finally it is necessary to note satirical and humorous periodicals. Among these the "Vespra" of Florence and the "Frusta" of Rome were well-known for a time but ceased on account of the frequent actions for damages brought against them. With these may be classed the "Follia" of Naples, the "Mulo" of Bologna, and the "Bastone" of Rome.

The above statistics have been largely gathered from the "Annuario Ecclesiastico" which undertakes to register all Catholic papers published throughout Italy. This registration, however, is neither complete nor exact, some existing periodicals being omitted, whilst others that have stopped publication are still on the list. Moreover the "Annuario Ecclesiastico" does not inform us whether the journal is a daily or a weekly. This being the case, it is well to note that a number of so-called daily journals appear at the most only three times a week. Of such there were three published at Rome and two published at Turin and Genoa. Besides the above mentioned there are 101 political and social journals issued several times a month; 81 religious periodicals appearing once or twice a month; five periodicals of general erudition; and five devoted to philosophical and theological studies, in which class might be included the "Rivista Rosminiana"; and ten reviews consecrated to canon law. This last enumeration comprises a few bulletins of episcopal courts. Apart from the foregoing there are also two reviews devoted to preaching; six to missionary interests; three to education; and one to social studies. Other periodicals may be counted among Catholic ones by the notably Catholic character of their managers: such as the "Rivista di Matematiche", etc., founded by Tartellini, then professor in the University of Rome; now edited by Cardinal Maffi. Among the political and social reviews it must be observed that two tendencies existed, one decidedly liberal, and the other absolutely papal. The first dealt with the "Roman Question" as obsolete. It advocated a larger individual liberty and independence from the particular views of the Holy See and the episcopate in politics and social matters. The reviews taking this liberal attitude never failed however to profess their allegiance and obedience to authority. On the other hand there existed the papal press, which might be characterized by its perfect submission to and advocacy of the prevailing opinions of the Vatican and the episcopate. To this last class belong: the "Riscossa" of Braganse (Mgr Scotton); the "Unità Cattolica" (Florence); the "Italia Reale" (Turin); the "Liguria" (Genoa); the "Difesa" (Venice); the "Osservatore Romano" (Rome); the "Libertà" (Naples); the "Correspondance de Rome", and some other small sheets.

With regard to the geographical distribution of the Catholic press, there is an enormous disproportion between the north and the south. Southern Italy (Naples and Palermo) has only two daily papers. But even in the North there are large cities without a daily Catholic publication, e.g., Padua and Ancona, while Ravenna and Rimini have not even a weekly one. The need of weekly journals is naturally felt still more in Southern Italy.

Sources

FERRANDINA, Cencimento della stampa Cattolica (Asti, 1893); GIACCHI, Il giornalismo in Italia (Rome, 1883); CARSONI, Cinquant' anni di giornalismo (Bologna, 1907); CHIAUDINO, Il giornaliemo cattolico (Turin, 1910); SANTELENA, Giornali veneziani nel settecento (Venice, 1908); CHIERICI, Il quinto potere a Roma: storia dei giornali e giornalisti romani (Rome, 1905); ROVITO, Dizionario dei Letterati e giornalisti italiani contemporanei (Naples, 1907); DELLA CASA, I Nostri (Treviso, 1903), lives of illustrious Catholic pressmen.

About this page

APA citation. Benigni, U. (1911). Periodical Literature (Italy). In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11683a.htm

MLA citation. Benigni, Umberto. "Periodical Literature (Italy)." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11683a.htm>.

Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by Douglas J. Potter. Dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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