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Ernesto Nathan

Ernesto Nathan (October 5, 1848 - April 9, 1921) was an English-Italian politician, and mayor of Rome, Italy from November 1907 to December 1913.


Nathan was born in London in 1848 to Sara Levi and Mayer Moses Nathan, of, respectively, English and German citizenship, both of Jewish heritage. His father died when Ernesto was 14.

He spent his youth in Florence, Lugano, Milan and Sardinia, where he was called to administer a cotton mill. In these years he was attracted by the revolutionary ideas of Giuseppe Mazzini, and in 1870, at 25, he moved to Rome as administrator of ''La Roma del Popolo''. His house in Rome became a center of literarian and political debate, with figures like Giosuè Carducci and Francesco Crispi Nine years later he was member of the Parliamentary left-winged party of Crispi and, in 1888, he obtained Italian citizenship.

In 1887 he became a member of the Masonic Grande Oriente d'Italia, of which he was named Grand Master in 1899 and later in 1917.

In the April of 1889, Nathan was elected in the Town Council of Rome, and was elected mayor of the city in 1907. He retained the charge until 1913, being elected for a second time in November 1911.

The first mayor not belonging to the land proprietors which had controlled the politics in the city until then, and moved by deep ideas of layness and ethics in politics, Nathan tried to regulate as possible the ruthless building programs started by the moving to Rome of the capital of Italy. He also strove to promote programs of education under in absolute lay way (education in Rome was still dominated by Catholic institutions). He opened more than 150 kindergartens: this number must be compared to the 288 of today's city. The commemoration of the Capture of Porta Pia in 1910 was one of the moments of the highest tension between Nathan's anticlericalism and the Holy See.

For what concerns public works, Nathan inaugurated the Vittoriano, the Justice Palace, the Archaeological Walk on the Aventine and Caelian Hills, and the National Stadium, the current Stadio Flaminio, Rome's first modern building for sport events. A net of public transport (ATAC) was created in 1911, as well as a city energy company (ACEA), in 1912.

He died on April 9, 1921.

Source: Wikipedia