Ludovico Antonio Muratori (Vignola 1672
, Modena 1750
A priest and a scholar of philosphy, theology and the Law, Muratori was a protagonist of the Italian intellectual life of his times, and is considered the founding father of the modern Italian Storiography.
He was only 23 when, in 1695 Carlo Borromeo called upon him as chief librarian of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. In 1700 the duke Rinaldo I called him back to Modena and put him in charge of reorganizing the Estense Library and Archives.
A true Illuminist, Muratori dedicated a good part of his work to study social reform. He proposed the rational improvement of agriculture and of the peasants' life and promoted new cultivations and regulations to force landlords to adopt better renting schemes. He (a priest!) opposed the excess of religious festivities, which diminished the worker productivity and favoured drunkenness and excess, while favoring (sumptuary) laws to diminish the excessive display of luxury - especially in women's clothes and jewelry.
There is anecdotal evidence that Muratori was a modest and simple man, who dressed unconspicuosly (a British visitor, which reportedly asked to the church custodian where he could find the famous scholar Muratori was answered "I am Muratori") and who, when asked about his works, would reply "It's mostly doodles".
His main works are:
- "Rerum Italicarum Scriptores" - "Italian Historians"
- "Antiquitates Italicae Medii Aevi" - "Italian history in the Middle Ages"
- "Annali d'Italia" - "Italian annals"
- "Della pubblica felicità oggetto dei buoni principi" - "About public happiness as a product of good governance"