There was in Italy a chess movement to rival that in Philidor's France, though by that time the Italian influence was almost finished. Around 1750, as Philidor was coming into prominence in France and England, a trio of chessplayers/writers sprung up in Modena, a town in northern Italy. They've come to be known as the Modenese School.
Giambatista Lolli was born in Nonántola, near Modena in 1698 (he died in 1769). A reader of law by trade, he was the student and competitor of del Rio. He wrote Osservazioni Teorico-Pratiche Sopra il Giuoco degli Scacchi in 1763. This was a huge extension of del Rio's work filling 632 pages. The first part deals with openings, but all most half of the opening theory deals with the Italian game. The part dealing with endings was probably the best treatment to date, particularly in R+B vs B and Q vs B+B endgames.
Lolli's Mate from an actual game
Domenico Lorenzo Ponziani - 1719 to 1796 - was a law lecturer and a priest whose book, Il Giuoco Incomparabile degli Scacchi, 1769, deals with strategy as well as such openings as the Vienna game and the Ponziani gambit and countergambit.
Well, so much for background. Now for why I've been pondering these ancient players -
Philidor wrote his famous, and best-selling (it had gone through 70 editions by 1871 alone) Analyse du jeu des Échecs in which he examined, not just openings, but entire games giving his thought process throughout. In this book Philidor gave his famous axion on page xii of the Preface:
or from his 1749 English version:
Now, Philidor and his book became quite famous in his day and beyond, deep into the 19th century. The works of the Modenese had less spectacular success and generally only among real aficionados despite the fact that they were generally more accurate and advocated the Calabrian style of chess commonly employed by the amateurs of that time and far easier to understand. Part of the reason was that the players from Modena used the Italian rules, including free castling, that made some of what they wrote about useless to players from most other areas. The also focused on openings and endings, while Philidor did try to present games as a whole.
Yet for all Philidor's talk of pawns and position, the success of his book and the great popularity he enjoyed, very, very few players took his lessons to heart. Some, like Staunton, Wyvill, Szen and Paulsen, did seem to approach chess with an eye for position, often striving for closed positions and the slow crunching pawn play endorsed by Philidor, but most chess players, up to Steinitz, fell into the Romantic school endorsed by the Modenese.
It seems ironic that the mostly ignored Modenese seemed to have had far more practical influence than the highly popular Philidor for an entire century.