The Protestant Reformation in Sixteenth-Century Italy

By Salvatore Caponetto; Anne C. Tedeschi et al. | Go to book overview

requires."48 On 4 August 1562 he was "Cast into the sea" and "drowned" "with a rock tied around his neck," as was the Venetian custom.

During the final week of his imprisonment, Fonzio wrote the Fidei et doctrinae...ratio, which he entrusted at the last moment to his judges. It contained 284 Latin theses that expound a concept of Christianity, based on the Bible and Augustine, from whose doctrine of predestination it borrows. Although Fonzio had accepted some of the basic teachings of the Reformation, from justification by faith to the sacraments as signs of grace, he continued to hope in the convocation of a universal council that would restore unity and concord in the light of Scripture.49 This was a final echo of the Erasmian and Bucerian utopia.


BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE

For the history of the diffusion of Lutheranism in Italy, the older treatments on the subject are still useful for the mass of information they contain, rather than for their interpretations. They are listed in the bibliography attached to F. Lemmi, La Riforma in Italia e i riformatori italiani all'estero nel secolo XVI ( Milan: Istituto per gli studi di politica internazionale, 1939), 15. Additional references can be gleaned in the general histories by Achille Olivieri, La Riforma in Italia: Strutture e simboli, classi e poteri ( Milan: Mursia, 1979), 162-75, Manfred Welti, Breve storia della Riforma italiana (Casale Monferrato: Marietti, 1985), and Massimo Firpo, Riforma protestante ed eresie nell'Italia del '500 ( Bari: Laterza, 1993).

With Federico Chabod Per la storia religiosa dello Stato di Milano durante il dominio di Carlo V, first published in 1938, a new phase began in Italian Reformation studies. This magisterial reconstruction of events destroyed the old legend that the Protestant movement in Italy was a "party of literati," unsuited to the needs of the common people ( C. Cantù, Gli eretici d'Italia: Discorsi storici [ Turin, 1865], 1:386). The classic book by Delio Cantimori, Eretici italiani del Cinquecento: Ricerche storiche ( Florence: Sansoni, 1939; 4th ed. Turin: Einaudi, 1992) appeared almost contemporaneously with Chabod's work. The Eretici inaugurated a current of studies that has flourished to this day, modifying our perspective on the Italian Reformation, enlarging the parameters of the movement, and highlighting its complexity.

For comprehensive surveys of Italian religious history, cf. Carlo Ginzburg, "Folklore, magia, religione," in Storia d'Italia: I caratteri generali ( Turin: Einaudi, 1972), 1:603-70; Giovanni Miccoli, "La storia religiosa," in Storia d'Italia, 2:430- 1079; and Antonio Rotondò, "Atteggiamenti della vita morale italiana del Cinquecento: La pratica nicodemitica," RSI 79 ( 1967): 991-1030. See also Susanna Peyronel , "Per una storia delle donne nella Riforma," in her edition of R. H. Bainton, Donne della Riforma I. ( Turin: Claudiana, 1992).

____________________
48
E. Comba, I nostri protestanti, 104; E. Zille, Gli eretici, 145-221.
49
See A. Olivieri, "Il 'Catechismo' e la 'Fidei et doctrinae [...] ratio' di Bartolomeo Fonzio, eretico veneziano del Cinquecento," Studi veneziani 9 ( 1967): 339-452.

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