In 1560 Italian scientist, polymath, and "doctor of secrets" Giambattista della Porta founded the Academia Secretorum Naturae (Accademia dei Segreti or the Academy of the Mysteries of Nature), in Naples.
"The society met at the home of della Porta in the Due Porte section of Naples so-named in reference to two entrances to caverns that apparently served as a meeting place. (The site has recently been the object of urban archaeology.) 'Candidates for membership had to present a new fact in natural science as a condition of membership,' but otherwise membership was open. Its activities came under the subject of an ecclesiastical investigation and della Porta was ordered by Pope Paul V to close his Academy in 1578 . . . under suspicion of sorcery" (Wikipedia article on Academia Secretorum Naturae, accessed 11-27-2010).