In order to understand the birth of homeopathy in Italy, I would like to invite you to visualize Italy in the era of the 1800’s. This beautiful and historic country had many pioneers that contributed a lot in spreading knowledge of homeopathy in that part of Europe.
According to references, in the late 18th and 19th centuries, Italy went through a great deal of political, social, economic and cultural changes and reforms, including several foreign invasions, most notably by Napoleon Bonaparte and the Austrians, several revolutions in 1848 and the turbulent Risorgimento, which resulted in the Kingdom of Italy.
Homeopathy arrived in Italy around 1821 with Dr. George Necker, a remarkable Czech homeopathic physician and talented pupil of Hahnemann. He settled in Naples and introduced homeopathy to Italian physician, Dr. Francesco Romani, a famous doctor who became the physician of Queen Maria Amalia. Dr. Necker soon drew attention to himself, due to his brilliant cures with homeopathic medicines. Dr. Romani, who at that time was ill, was determined to become acquainted with Dr. Necker and the new medical system. To test this new medicine he submitted himself into the care of Dr. Necker for homeopathic treatment. The favorable outcome experienced both by him and others, made Dr. Romani determined to devote himself with all enthusiasm to the study of homeopathy. After treating many chronic cases successfully with homeopathy, Dr. Romani began a new mission to spread the knowledge of homeopathy in Italy. He dedicated himself to the translation of Hahnemann’s Materia Medica Pura into Italian. It is fair to therefore, to acknowledge Dr. Romani as the first Italian physician to introduce the new doctrine to the whole of Italy.
As for Dr. George Necker, he opened a homeopathic dispensary in his home at Naples (1843), serving the poor people of the community. However a year later, Dr. Necker had to close down his dispensary because the Queen of Naples order him assigned to Rome, to exclusively take charge of her sister’s health. In the same year, 1824, the first Italian translation of the Organon was published.
Italy immediately began producing outstanding homeopaths. For example, Dr. Giuseppe Mauro, at the age of 64, decided to begin learning the German language in its original German script from Hahnemann, just for the sake of learning homeopathy. He became a great homeopath after having practiced the old-school allopathy for 36 years. He also translated and published several significant homeopathy books from German to Italian. He also took part with Dr. Belluomini in the translation of Hahnemann’s treatise on Chronic Diseases. Dr. Belluomini first gained knowledge of homeopathy from the Italian translation of the Materia Medica Pura in 1825; at that time he was practicing in Tuscany.
Another great Italian homeopath of that period was Dr. Centamori Settimio who heard of homeopathy in 1833, and having seen some major cures, began to study and investigate the new system. He was soon convinced to use homeopathy and his successes surpassed his expectations.
It is impossible in this brief article, to list all the Italian pioneers of that era. Each of those homeopathic physicians went through hardship to adopt homeopathy in Italy, and for each there is a great story. They were exposed to the usual abuse and hostility of the old-school practitioners. Today in Italy, despite all those original struggles, homeopathy has grown strong roots.
All the best wishes to our homeopath colleagues and homeopathic institutes in Italy!