Venice and the Radical Reformation
Dr. Riccarda Suitner
The religious landscape of the mid-16th-century Republic of Venice was characterized by the attempt of the Inquisition to infiltrate and repress the (prevalently Anabaptist) reformed conventicles which had sprung up throughout the Region. The penetration of ideas of the so-called “Radical Reformation” into this territory was easier than elsewhere in Italy, given many factors: the larger volume of international contacts and the existence of foreigners in Venice and in Padua, the flourishing and relatively free book industry, the doctrinal background of Venetian religious dissent, and political independence, pervaded from the earliest centuries of its history by a strong anti-Roman – and therefore anti-Papal – sentiment. The subject of this research project is precisely the history of the Radical Reformation in the Republic of Venice, starting from the phase immediately following the Lutheran Reformation, until the slow survival of Anabaptist cells and individuals in the second half of the century.