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Italy

There is said to have been a Lodge in Italy at Naples as early as 1750 but there is no definite evidence to prove this statement. In 1767, however, according to the English "Constitutions," Don Nieholas Manuzzi was appointed Provincial Grand Master for Italy. A National Grand Lodge was founded by delegates from eight Lodges at a Convention held on February 27, 1764. The year 1767 opened a period of hardship for the Craft in Italy. Ferdinand IV was hostile to the Brethren and though Queen Caroline, his wife, did all she could to aid them, the Lodges finally in 1783 gave up their activities. Many Lodges and Grand Bodies were formed only to be suppressed and the result was a great confusion. In 1867 there existed a Grand Orient at Florence, two Supreme Councils at Palermo and a Grand Council at Milan. Brother Garibaldi (see Garibaldi), who was Grand Master of a Supreme Council at Palermo, then called a meeting on June 21, 1867, of all the Lodges in Italy. The result was that several of the Grand Bodies united and then combined the functions of a Supreme Grand Council of the Thirty-third Degree, a Symbolic Grand Lodge, and a Supreme Council of the Rite of Memphis.

Brother Oliver Day Street, in his excellent report to the Grand Lodge of Alabama, 1922, quotes from a letter to the International Bureau for Masonic Affairs, Neuchatel, Switzerland, as follows:"There are in Italy several Grand Lodges that are not recognized by any jurisdiction of other countries. There is a Grand Lodge in Florence, another at Naples; they are practicing rites of a rather occultist and mixed character, borrowed of rituals fallen long ago into desuetude." A Grand Lodge of the Italian Symbolic Rite and a Grand Orient of Italy have been organized separately distinct from each other and there is also independently at work a Supreme Council of Italy, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, founded in 1908. Under the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini, Premier of Italy, a leader of the Fascisti, organized on November 12, 1920, at Naples, and succeeding in gaining Rome and controlling the Italian Government, the Freemasons have been persecuted, their property destroyed, and prominent Brethren exiled.

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