Giulio Maria della Somaglia

Giulio Maria della Somaglia (29 July 1744 – 2 April 1830) was an Italian cardinal. He was — at least in his later life — a staunch zelante cardinal who, as Secretary of State under Pope Leo XII, helped enforce an authoritarian regime in the crumbling Papal States.

Giulio Maria della Somaglia

Giulio Maria della Somaglia.JPG
Installed1 June 1795
Other postsSecretary of the Inquisition, Bishop of Ostia and Dean of the College of Cardinals
Consecration21 December 1788
Hyacinthe-Sigismond Gerdil
Created cardinal1 June 1795
RankCardinal Priest
Personal details
Born(1744-07-29)29 July 1744
Piacenza, Italy
Died2 April 1830(1830-04-02) (aged 85)
Styles of
Giulio Maria della Somaglia
External Ornaments of a Cardinal Bishop.svg
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
Ordination history of
Giulio Maria della Somaglia
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byHyacinthe-Sigismond Gerdil
Date21 December 1788
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by Giulio Maria della Somaglia as principal consecrator
Fabrizio Cimino2 February 1798
Annibale Di Leo2 February 1798
Michele Palmieri2 February 1798
Filippo Speranza2 February 1798
Florido Pierleoni26 September 1802
Giulio Rossi4 November 1804

Born in Piacenza into a noble family, della Somaglia was sent to Rome at the young age of twelve and at the Collegio Nazzareno and La Sapienza University acquired degrees in both canon and civil law. In 1769 he became domestic prelate of Pope Clement XIV and under Pope Pius VI he was secretary to numerous curial congregations between 1773 and 1787. Although he was only ordained to the priesthood in 1787, he became titular Patriarch of Antioch the following year and on 1 June 1795 became a cardinal.

In his years as a cardinal della Somaglia played an important role as a negotiator with the revolutionary regime in France. Although he undoubtedly agreed with Pius VI's 1791 condemnation of the French Revolution and was expelled from Rome when Napoleon's army invaded in 1808, he was charged with the examination of the concordat with France several years later and this role actually served to taint della Somaglia's reputation in the eyes of fellow zelanti cardinals. From 1814 he was Secretary of the Inquisition and Dean of the College of Cardinals in 1820.

In the 1823 conclave, della Somaglia was considered papabile. In 1826 he resigned the post of Secretary of State but continued as Secretary of the Inquisition until his death in 1830. When he died, della Somaglia was the last cardinal still alive elevated by Pius VI.


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Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Giuseppe Maria Doria Pamphilj
Cardinal-bishop of Frascati
26 September 1814 – 21 December 1818
Succeeded by
Bartolomeo Pacca
Preceded by
Antonio Dugnani
Cardinal-bishop of Porto
21 December 1818 – 29 May 1820
Succeeded by
Michele di Pietro
Preceded by
Ercole Consalvi
Cardinal Secretary of State
28 September 1823 – 17 January 1828
Succeeded by
Tommaso Bernetti
Preceded by
Alessandro Mattei
Bishop of Ostia
29 May 1820 – 2 April 1830
Succeeded by
Bartolomeo Pacca
Dean of the College of Cardinals
29 May 1820 – 2 April 1830