The Seicento [ˌsɛiˈtʃɛnto] is Italian history and culture during the 17th century. The seicento saw the end of the Renaissance movement in Italy and the beginning of the Counter-Reformation and the Baroque era. The word seicento means "six hundred" (sei = six, cento = hundred).


The seicento in Italy simply refers to the 17th century, yet abroad, the word refers to the Italian cultural and social history during this period, characterised by several wars and conflicts, invasions, and the patronage of the arts and architecture. It was also the period in which the Baroque era came into place (the Baroque being an essentially Italian movement, having been created by the popes in Rome as a part of the Catholic Reformation). This period also saw advancements in Italian science, philosophy and technology.


Micco Spadaro - Punizione dei ladri al tempo di Masaniello
The 1647 revolt against high taxation in Naples, led and triggered by rebel Masaniello.
For additional information, see: History of Italy during the Early Modern age

The 17th century was a tumultuous period in Italian history, with several political and social changes, and times of much civil and military unrest. This included the increase in number of Spanish colonies and possessions along the peninsula, and the increase in power of the pope and the Roman Catholic Church during the Counter Reformation, a counterpart of the Protestant Reformation. Despite several artistic and scientific contributions, such as the invention of several musical instruments, stylistic genres, astronomical discoveries and the creation of the Baroque, Italy, which was the cultural leader of Europe in the 16th century, experienced a social decline, which slowly began in the beginning of the 17th century and fell towards the end of the century. This was due to persistent conflicts, revolts (such as the Neapolitan 1647 tax-related Revolt of Masaniello), invasions and the rise in popularity of French, English and Spanish culture. Events which happened during this period include the 1633 papal trial of scientist Galileo Galilei, the 1647 revolt in Naples, the 1669 Mount Etna eruption, the 1674 rebellion in Messina and the 1693 Sicily earthquake.

Different criteria

For additional information, see Italian Baroque


Italian art during the 17th century was predominantly Baroque in essence. 17th-century Italian Baroque art was similar in style and subject matter to that during the same period in Spain - characterised by rich, dark colours, and often religious themes relating notably to martyrdom, and also the presence of several still lifes. Lombard painter Caravaggio stands out as one of the most prominent from this era, known for his sacred ("Supper at Emmaus"), mythological ("Medusa"), still-life ("Basket of Fruit") genres and the common depiction of local people ("Boy carrying a Basket of Fruit). His paintings were predominantly oil, and used warm, intense colours, and usually having dramatic themes. Having one of the forefathers of Baroque art,[1] and one of the earliest modern painters, his styles influenced other Italian and foreign artists following him, including Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Gian Lorenzo Bernini was a prominent mid to late-17th century Baroque artist and sculptor, known for his statues, such as the "Ecstasy of Saint Theresa".

Caravaggio St Jerome

A painting of Saint Jerome dating from 1607 by Italian early-17th century painter Caravaggio. One can notice the warm colours (red, pink, peach, light-brown) used in this painting. Such styles were popular in 17th-century Italian art.


Baroque art and architecture was popular in 17th-century Italy.


Building styles for Italian 17th-century architecture, most notably the Baroque, were very different all across the country.

Turin was well known for its French-style Baroque architecture. This began in the city during the late-17th century (1680s onwards). Before, buildings were still constructed in dark and austere brick Renaissance style, yet by the late 17th century, this style evolved into a more Baroque one, similar to that used in Paris and Versailles, characterised by gold/copper gilded roofs, Italian/French gardens, French windows and ornate decoration. Genoa still kept constructing painted houses, yet, the painted designs were more ornate and in touch with the popular Baroque designs. Milan was similar to Turin in architectural patterns and trends, yet was less influenced by French designs, and more by the Spanish ones (considering Milan was ruled by Spain). Venice started to construct more ornate Baroque buildings ever since in 1650s.

In Rome and Southern Italy, this was slightly different. Buildings in Rome were constructed in a Baroque style ever since the early-17th century, and examples of this could be St Peter's Basilica and the Palazzo Bernini. The Catholic Reformation's aim was to make Roman Catholicism look like an appealing denomination, and the popes did this by not only reforming the church's organization and society, yet also constructing ornate basilicas, fountains, piazzas (Italian squares), palaces and monuments. The architecture of Rome at the time was characterised by grandiose palaces, rich interiors, frescos and elegant cartouches. This style reached the South slightly later, towards the 1650s, and, especially in Naples and Sicily, was known for its similarity to Spanish architecture, visible in buildings such as the Certosa of San Martino in Naples.

Statue of Saint Paul, on Saint Peter Square Rome Italy

The 17th century Baroque architectural style used in St Peter's Basilica, Rome.

Villa torrigiani di lucca 05

The Villa Torrigiani, found in Lucca, a country house which was founded in the late-16th century, yet whose exterior and garden date to the mid-17th century.


Elena Piscopia portrait
A painting of Elena Cornaro Piscopia, the first female laureate and woman to receive a PhD in the world

There were several advancements made in 17th-century Italian education systems. One example could be the admission of Elena Cornaro Piscopia into the University of Padua. A mathematician, scholar and academic, Piscopia was the first woman in the world to ever graduate with a doctorate (PhD, or doctor of philosophy) in 1678. Several universities, colleges and institutions were founded in this century, such as the University of Cagliari in 1620.


In the 17th century, Italy saw a decline in importance as the fashion trendsetter of Europe, which it was in the 15th and 16th centuries. Despite still holding this position until the 1620s and 30s, by the 1640s, when Louis XIV gained power in France, and the popularity of dresses in Spain, the French and Spanish court tastes became more popular than the Italian ones, and Italy would only return to its original influential position in the 1950s.

In the early 17th century, fashions for men and women were relatively similar to those of the 1580s and 90s.

Women used to still wear elaborate ruffs and large, elaborate dresses (the decoration depended on the wealth and social class of the women wearing it). By the 1630s, ruffs began to fall out of fashion, and these were replaced by pearl necklaces. Hair was often done up much more elaborately than before, with curls and flowers and jewels inside. The wearing of a chemise, and collar heightened in Italian female fashion in the 1650s and 60s. By the 1670s, dresses became simpler and less large than in the early 17th century, yet hair was often done up much more elaborately than before, and women began to wear mantuas and gowns. By the 1680s and 90s, women tended to wear simple or averagely decorated dresses, with a mantua, elaborate hair (often a wig), long-sleeved gloves, and often carried around a fan.

Frans Luycx 007

Italian female fashions in the early-17th century

Anna maria luisa de medici hunting dress

Italian female fashions in the late-17th century

In the early 17th century, male fashion too was similar to that of the late-16th century. They used to wear cuffs, short-sleeved trousers and had long hair. Most men also grew moustaches, and used to wear boots, and by the 1630s, feathered hats became popular. By the late-17th century, male fashion concentrated on highly elaborate dresses and shoes, grey curled wigs, and richly decorated petticoats and overskirts.

Science and technology

Galileo Galilei, a renowned Italian scientist and astronomer.

There were several contributions to science and technology in Italy during the 17th century, which saw the development of tools, physics, astronomy and heliocentricism. Galileo Galilei's discovering of Saturn's rings, the Venus' phases, and several new technological inventions, such as his 1609 telescope and compass made for military reasons in 1604. All of this has made him renowned as one of the fathers of modern science, astronomy and technology.[2][3] He also supported heliocentricism, a controversial issue, since it was viewed at the time that the planets and the sun rotated around the earth, not the other way round has he argued.

Literature and philosophy

The seicento too saw several renowned literary figures. Giambattista Vico was one of the most famous. He was a Neapolitan writer and philosopher, and was known for his several books, usually regarding history, reasoning, philosophy and law. Such books include "La Scienza Nuova".


PalacioReal Stradivarius1
Stradivari's classical violin

Italy's musical contributions in the 17th century were amongst its greatest, including the invention of the piano in 1700, creation of new forms of the violin, and great contributions to opera, invented in Italy (Florence) in the 16th century, and the beginning of Baroque music in the country. During the 17th century, both opera and Baroque musical styles were developed. Church music was popular in this time, especially sponsored by the religiously-run musical academies and conservatories in Naples, the main centre of musical education along the peninsula. Opera composers at the time include Claudio Monteverdi. In the late-17th century, Cremona-based luthier Antonio Stradivari developed the classical violin, then called the Stradivarius after his name, and in 1700, Bartolomeo Cristofori invented the piano in Florence, Tuscany.

See also


  1. ^ "ULAN Full Record Display (Getty Research)".
  2. ^ "h2g2 - Galileo Galilei – Father of Modern Science". BBC. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
  3. ^ "Galileo Galilei HH". IMA Hero. 1989-10-18. Retrieved 2010-04-24.
Antimo Liberati

Antimo Liberati (3 April 1617 – 24 February 1692) was an Italian music theorist, composer, and contralto singer.

Born in Foligno, Liberati began his musical training began in Rome in 1628 when he was admitted to the choir of San Giovanni in Laterano, at the time under the direction of Antonio Maria Abbatini. He also studied law and fine arts and for a time worked as a notary in Foligno. From 1637 to 1643 Liberati was a court musician in the service of Emperor Ferdinand III and Archduke Leopold in Vienna. He was appointed a member of the Sistine Chapel Choir in 1662, served as its secretary (puntatore) in 1670 and its maestro di cappella in 1674 and 1675. He composed numerous pieces of sacred music of which 22 survive. However, he was primarily known for his writings on music theory, especially Epitome della musica (1666) and Lettera scritta dal sig. Antimo Liberati in risposta ad una del sig. Ovidio Persapegi (1685). The diary which he produced in his year as puntatore of the Sistine Chapel Choir is considered an invaluable source of information on the singers of his day and the workings of the choir.Liberati died in Rome at the age of 74 and was buried in the tomb of the papal singers in Santa Maria in Vallicella. In his will he left his music scores to the Foligno Cathedral.

Antonio Vivaldi

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (UK: , US: , Italian: [anˈtɔːnjo ˈluːtʃo viˈvaldi] (listen); 4 March 1678 – 28 July 1741) was an Italian Baroque musical composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher, and priest. Born in Venice, the capital of the Venetian Republic, he is regarded as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. He composed many instrumental concertos, for the violin and a variety of other instruments, as well as sacred choral works and more than forty operas. His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as the Four Seasons.

Many of his compositions were written for the all-female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children. Vivaldi had worked there as a Catholic priest for 1 1/2 years and was employed there from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Vivaldi also had some success with expensive stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, Vivaldi moved to Vienna, hoping for royal support. However, the Emperor died soon after Vivaldi's arrival, and Vivaldi himself died, in poverty, less than a year later.


The cultural and artistic events of Italy during the period 1500 to 1599 are collectively referred to as the Cinquecento (Italian pronunciation: [ˌtʃiŋkweˈtʃɛnto]), from the Italian for the number 500, in turn from millecinquecento, which is Italian for the year 1500. Cinquecento encompasses the styles and events of the High Italian Renaissance, Mannerism and some early exponents of the Baroque-style.


Duecento was the Italian word for the Italian culture during the 13th century.

Fabryka Samochodów Małolitrażowych

The Fabryka Samochodów Małolitrażowych, commonly known as FSM, was a Polish automobile factory born from an agreement between the FSO and Fiat in the 1970s for the construction of a new model, the Polski Fiat 126p, Polish version of Fiat 126. For the project a new manufacturing plant was opened in Tychy. The factory also produced until the beginning of the 1980s the FSO Syrena a model of another Polish factory FSO. The FSM brand was active between 1971 and 1992, when it was privatised and Fiat Group took control of it.

After the factory was renamed Fiat Auto Poland it produced Fiat Cinquecento and its successor Fiat Seicento. The last Polski Fiat 126p was made in 2000. All Cinquecentos, Seicentos and new Pandas were/are made in Poland. Fiat Auto Poland also produces the new Fiat 500.

Fiat Auto Poland's other plant at Bielsko-Biała, destined mainly to the construction of the mechanics, from 2002 has become center of the joint venture between Fiat Group and General Motors for the construction of the small 1.3-litre Multijet diesel engine.

Fiat 100 series engine

Designed by Dante Giacosa, the Fiat 100 engine first appeared in a 633 cc (38.6 cu in) form in the all-new Fiat 600 in 1955. The in-line four-cylinder engine comprised an iron block and an aluminium cylinder head with pushrod actuated valves. The engine was produced at Fiat's Mirafiori (Turin) plant, and then at Bielsko-Biała, and remained in production until 2000, used in Fiat Panda and Fiat Seicento in its last 899 cc (54.9 cu in) capacity version fitted with SPI single-point injection and hydraulic tappets, although slowly being phased out starting from 1985 in favour of the new Fiat FIRE engine.

It was also produced until 2008 in the Zastava plants in Kragujevac.

Fiat Cinquecento

The Fiat Cinquecento (Type 170) (; Italian pronunciation: [ˌtʃiŋkweˈtʃɛnto]) is a city car, launched by Fiat in December 1991, to replace the Fiat 126. It was the first Fiat model to be solely manufactured in the Fiat Auto Poland plant in Tychy, Poland, which had been sold to Fiat by the Polish state, and where production of the Polish variant of the Fiat 126, the Polski Fiat 126p, continued until the following year.

The Cinquecento featured several advances compared to older Fiat city cars, including independent suspension both in the front and in the rear (similar to the Fiat Tipo), front disc brakes, side impact bars along with crumple zones incorporated in the design and galvanized body panels to fend off corrosion.

Production of the Cinquecento ended in 1998, when it was replaced by the Seicento. Despite its name, its lowest displacement was 704 cc. The Cinquecento was available in one body style only, a small, angular three door hatchback, with a favourable drag coefficient of only 0.33 that bore similarities to the Lancia Y10.

Steering was by rack and pinion, and although power steering was never offered, the car could be ordered with a number of extras, including central locking, power windows, sunroof (or full-length retractable canvas roof in the Soleil version) and even air conditioning

The right hand drive version for the British market was not launched until June 1993, over 18 months after its original release. At the time it was one of the few city cars sold there. The Renault Twingo, launched around the same time as the Cinquecento, was not sold in Britain, as Renault did not feel that there was sufficient demand for that type of car there at the time. However, by the end of the 1990s, city cars in Britain – and indeed most of the rest of Europe – were enjoying a rise in popularity, with the arrival of new city cars including the Ford Ka, SEAT Arosa and Volkswagen Lupo.

Fiat Seicento

The Fiat Seicento (Type 187) was a city car produced by the Italian company Fiat, introduced at the end of 1997 as a replacement for the Fiat Cinquecento, although it was also based on the Cinquecento. The Seicento did not differ much from its predecessor, retaining the same engines, chassis and general dimensions, although it did gain a minor 90 mm in length (total length of 3,340 mm).

The design was similar too, in which the Seicento kept the same three door hatchback body, instead of the five door mini MPV look seen on many Korean and Japanese city cars, such as the Daewoo Matiz and Suzuki Wagon R. Like its predecessors, the Cinquecento and Polski Fiat 126, the Seicento was built in Fiat's factory in Tychy, Poland.From March 1998 to April 2004, 1.1 million examples of the Seicento had been produced. The Seicento name comes from the Italian word for 600, the Seicento is the spiritual successor to the Fiat 600. The car was rebadged as the 600 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original model.

Gasparo Zanetti

Gasparo Zanetti (after 1600 – 1660) was an Italian violin teacher, composer of the Baroque, who lived and worked in Milan.

Giovanni Paolo Foscarini

Giovanni Paolo Foscarini (fl. 1600 – 1647) was an Italian guitarist, lutenist, theorist and composer.

A note at the end of the list of contents in his earliest surviving guitar book Intavolatura di chitarra spagnola. Libro secondo (1629) refers to him a Musico, e Sonatore, di Liuto e Tiorba, della Venerabile Compagnia del Saatissimo [sic] Sacramento d'Ancona. He was also a member of the Accademia dei Caliginosi in Ancona, identifying himself in his earlier books only by the name of the society together with his own academic name Il Furioso. In the introduction to his third book printed in about 1630 he claims to be well known as a lutenist both in Italy and abroad, especially at the court of the Archduke Alberto in the Spanish Netherlands. Archduke Albert, a nephew of Philip II of Spain, was governor of the Spanish Netherlands from 1595 until his death in 1621. Foscarini must have been in the Netherlands sometime before that date. He was active in Rome, Venice, Brussels, and Paris Letters which he wrote to the Dutch scholar, Constantijn Huygens from Paris at the beginning of 1649 give some information about his later years. He was planning to travel to Italy, but was ill in bed and without funds for the journey. He may have died soon after.

His Il primo, secondo e terzo libro della chitarra spagnola printed in about 1630 is the earliest known engraved Italian guitar tablature. This includes pieces from his two earlier books, (no copies of his Libro primo are extant) all in the strummed style notated in alfabeto together with a third book which includes pieces in mixed battute-pizzicato style notated in italian lute tablature combined with alfabeto. A fourth book was added to the edition printed in about 1632 - I quatro libri della chitarra spagnola. The final version, with a dedication to the French nobleman, Charles of Lorraine, Duke of Guise is signed by Foscarini and dated Rome 15 September 1640. It includes a fifth book and has the title Li cinque libri della chitarra alla spagnola. His notation is idiosyncratic and sometimes difficult to decipher, but the music is very attractive and encompasses the entire Italian guitar repertory of the period. It was highly regarded during his lifetime. In the preface, Foscarini gives detailed instructions about his notation and discusses three playing styles: battute (strummed), pizzicato (plucked) which he deemed more appropriate to the lute, and a mixture of the two, which he employs predominantly in the three later books. Although it is unlikely that he alone invented this mixed style playing (there are earlier manuscript sources), Foscarini was obviously an important influence on later composers such as Angelo Michele Bartolotti and Francesco Corbetta.

Giulio Cesare Monteverdi

Giulio Cesare Monteverdi (1573–1630/31) was an Italian composer and organist. He was the younger brother of Claudio Monteverdi.

He entered the service of the Duke of Mantua in 1602, but was dismissed in 1612. He then worked in Crema and became maestro di cappella at the cathedral of Salò in 1620.In 1611 he wrote an opera, Il rapimento di Proserpina (The rape of Proserpine), which was staged in Mantua. The music and text are lost, but it appears that it shared only the story line of Claudio's later opera Proserpina rapita (1630), which is also lost. He published a collection of motets in Venice in 1620 and a few other works, including two pieces which were included in Claudio's 1607 Scherzi musicali. He probably died of the plague in 1630 or 1631.

History of Italian culture (1700s)

The 1700s refers to a period in Italian history and culture which occurred during the 18th century (1700–1799): the Settecento. The Settecento saw the transition from Late Baroque to Neoclassicism: great artists of this period include Vanvitelli, Canaletto and Canova, as well as the composer Vivaldi and the writer Goldoni.

Lazzaro Baldi Baldi (c. 1624 – 30 March 1703) was an Italian painter of the Baroque period, active mainly in Rome.

Paolo Fabbri

Paolo Fabbri is an Italian musicologist and academic. In 1989 he was awarded the Dent Medal. He is best known for his extensive publications on the life and works of Gioachino Rossini, and for a biography of composer Claudio Monteverdi which was first published in the Italian language in Turin in 1985 but later published by Cambridge University Press using an English language translation by Tim Carter in 1994. He is also the author of Il secolo cantante: Per una storia del libretto d'opera nel Seicento (Bologna, 1990). For many years he has been a Professor of Music History and Musical Aesthetics at the University of Ferrara. He is the current director of the Fondazione Donizetti library in Bergamo.

Pietro degli Antonii

Pietro degli Antonii (16 May 1639 – 25 September 1720) was an Italian composer.


The cultural and artistic events of Italy during the period 1400 to 1499 are collectively referred to as the Quattrocento (Italian pronunciation: [ˌkwattroˈtʃɛnto]) from the Italian for the number 400, in turn from millequattrocento, which is Italian for the year 1400. The Quattrocento encompasses the artistic styles of the late Middle Ages (most notably International Gothic), the early Renaissance (beginning around 1425), and the start of the High Renaissance, generally asserted to begin between 1495 and 1500.

Simone Molinaro

Simone Molinaro (c. 1570 – May 1636) was a composer of the late Renaissance in Italy. He was especially renowned for his lute music.


The Trecento (Italian pronunciation: [treˈtʃɛnto]; Italian for 300, short for "mille trecento," 1300) refers to the 14th century in Italian cultural history.

Ugo Sivocci

Ugo Sivocci (August 29, 1885 - September 8, 1923) was an Italian race car driver.Born in Salerno, Sivocci started his racing career as one of the pioneers of Italian bicycle racing, obtaining a second place in the 600 km long classic Corsa Nazionale. After World War I, he worked as an auto mechanic in Milan. Being a friend of Enzo Ferrari, he was hired by Alfa Romeo in 1920 to drive Alfa in three-man works team: (Alfa Corse) with Antonio Ascari and Enzo Ferrari. With the HP 20-30 ES Sport he finished 2nd in the Parma - Poggio Berceto race. In 1923 he began to drive the Alfa Romeo RL, and quickly won numerous races. In the same year, he won the Targa Florio with RL Targa Florio which was his major racing achievement. The race was a great success for Alfa Romeo as second (Ascari) and fourth places (Giulio Masetti)

were occupied by Alfa.

In the same year Sivocci was killed while testing Merosi`s new P1 at Monza. On the same day of the accident, a press release of the engineer Nicola Romeo announced the withdrawal of other Alfa Romeo cars competing. Sivocci's car was painted with the green cloverleaf on a white background that was to become Alfa's good luck token.

His car was carrying number 17, which was never again assigned to Italian racing cars.


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