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The State Archive of Naples

Piazzetta Grande Archivio, 5 - Naples 80138

Telephone number +39 81 204594
Fax +39 81 204046
Opening hours Monday to Friday 8.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., Saturday 8.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
Closed to the public in the second and third weeks of August

Introduction

The State Archive of Naples is currently involved in the re-organisation and improvement of an extraordinarily large, important and valuable source of documentary heritage - the Archives of the Kingdom of Naples and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It intends to achieve this goal by sponsoring publications, exhibitions, conferences, and seminars which are being launched with the assistance of state universities, national and international institutions, local corporations and private associations. This initiative is also part of the restructuring and reorganisation of the archives now underway in the renowned Scuola di Archivistica Paleografia e Diplomatica.

Brief historical outline | Primary fonds | Other fonds of outstanding interest
Library | Copy Centre | Binding and Restoration Laboratory
Scuola di Archivistica Paleografia e Diplomatica | Bibliography

Brief Historical Outline

The State Archive of Naples contains documentation from the central administrations of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies up until the Unification of Italy, and documentation from the State Offices, whose headquarters were located in the province of Naples from Unification to the present day.

This originated as a general Archive, created by the decrees of 1808, 1810, and 1811, which enabled Murat to control both its organisation as well as its reunion with all the old archives in Castel Capuano. After the Restoration Ferdinand I gave the General Archive the name of Grande Archivio del Regno (Great Archive of the Kingdom) with the law of 12 November 1818, which established the three archives of the Badie Benedettine di Cava, Montevergine, and Montecassino as sections of the Grande Archivio.

In 1875 it was renamed again as 'State Archive' and it has conserved ever since all the documents produced by the State Offices, limited to those regarding the province of Naples alone, in addition to the pre-Unification documentation.

It is calculated that more than 1,200,000 items and 20,000 parchments are conserved in the Archive. Both total and partial collections survive regarding the history of the institutions of the Kingdom. A particular case is that of the registers of the Cancelleria Angioina (Angevin Chancellery) which were totally destroyed in World War Two. In a project supervised by Riccardo Filangieri and later Jole Mozzoleni, the archivists redressed this loss by constantly replenishing and reorganising fonds, using originals, copies, registers, microfilm, and photocopies transcribed by foreign scholars, in an effort to reconstruct the Registers themselves. In 1947 Benedetto Croce suggested that the Accademia Pontiana take over publication of the Registers which it faithfully continues to this very day - Volume XLI of the series was published in 1994. Finally, Riccardo Filangieri dedicated himself to creating a deposit of ancestral archives possessed by the great families who have always been leading figures in the history of the Kingdom of Italy.

Primary fonds

Ancien Regime

The most important archives are the following: the archives of the Regia Camera Sommaria, a chamber which had jurisdiction over all financial and local administration lawsuits, as well as consultative functions in financial matters and jurisdiction over feudal matters; those of the Consiglio Collaterale, which was active in the viceroy era, and actually presided over the Viceroy who controlled all the administrative and judicial matters of the Kingdom; those of the Cappellania Maggiore, established in 1442 and abolished in 1808, which was concerned with relationships between Church and State; and finally, those of the Delegazione della Real Giurisdizione, which emerged in the late sixteenth century to halt abuse committed by the bishops against subjects of the Kingdom.

Bourbon era

The era of the Restoration of Independence to the Kingdom of Naples with Charles of Bourbon in 1734 is best represented by the documents in the archives in the Real Camera di Santa Chiara, the Segreteria di Stato and the Casa Reale, and those of the departments of Guerra and Marina, Grazia e Giustizia, Azienda and Ecclesiastico which ran all the affairs of state until the French decade. In addition there survives partial documentation of the Neapolitan Republic of 1799.

From the era of the Restoration, which was marked by the Unification of the Kingdoms of Naples and Sicily in 1816, particularly important fonds include those of all the ministers and their consulting bodies, those of the Court of the Counts, of the Casa Reale (Archivio Farnesiano and Archivio Borbone), and last but not least, the archives of the dependant offices of the Ministry of the Interior related to the numerous contributions in the field of civic administration and public works, the province of Naples, the Intendenza, and archives regarding jurisdiction over the territory of the province of Naples. Finally, we should also note the documents from the central offices related to the Lieutenancy, 1860-1861, which are mostly included in the fonds of the Bourbon Kingdom.

Post-Unification period

The richest documentation from this epoch, during which Naples became the chief town of the province, when only peripheral administrations remained after the disappearance of central governments, are legal documents and the archives of the Questura and Prefettura.

Other fonds of outstanding interest

An extraordinarily important source is represented by private archives made up of valuable documentation reflecting family life and activities, leading figures, and corporations, which have either been donated, acquired, or deposited with the institute.

Some examples of the many private fonds include the following: Caracciolo di Brienza (1294-1857), Caracciolo di Cellammare (1574-1914), Caracciolo di Santo Bono (1001-1866), Caracciolo di Torchiarolo (1361-1967) with transcribed documents dating from 1228), Caracciolo di Torella (1255-1916, with transcribed documents dating from 1082) Carafa Di Roccella (1313-1950); d'Aquino di Caramanico (1392-1847); Doria d'Angri (1486-1862), Giudice Caracciolo (1351-1942, with transcribed documents dating from 1156), Imbriani Poerio (1798-1916), La Tour en Voivre (14th to 19th centuries with transcribed documents dating from 1261), Maresca di Serrracapriola-Revertera della Salandra (1476-1971), Masola di Trentola (1454-1914), de Medici-Carmignano (16th to 19th centuries), Montemar (1634-1744), Nunziante di San Ferdinando (19th to 20th centuries), Pignatelli d'Aragona Cortes (1197-20th century, with transcribed documents dating from 1101), Pignatelli Ferrara di Strongoli (1447-1874), Pironti Poerio (18th to 19th centuries), Riario Sforza (1210 to the 20th century), Ruffo di Bagnara (1583-1891), Ruffo di Scilla (1335-1880, with transcribed documents dating from 1146, Sanseverino di Bisignano (1214-1857), and di Tocco Montemiletto e d'Acaia (1322-1920).

Other important fonds in the State Archives of Naples include the Fondo Notarile (15th - 18th centuries), the series regarding the counts of Percettori and the registers of landed property of the Kingdom, including the Catasti Antichi (Old Registers) (1470-1739), the Onciari (1470-1739) and the Catasto Francese of the City (1809-1902), as well as the Stato Civile of the Kingdom (1809-1865) and the Commissariato for the liquidation of civic uses (1690-1948). These provide a nearly complete overview of the economic and social conditions of the Kingdom community. In addition, the archives regarding orders of knighthood and charitable institutions, books of the Banchieri Antichi, ecclesiatic organisations and suppressed monasteries, as well as Maps and Drawings, represent a collection of around 2000 items, and include seals, manuscripts, and the illuminated codex of the Confraternity of Santa Marta.

The documentation of the relationship between Naples and Venice is worth mentioning, found in the fonds of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Naples. Of particular interest are documents regarding the Neapolitan legations to Venice between 1734 and 1798, those of the Veneto Government in Naples from 1737 to 1793, those of the Veneta Nazione resident in Naples, as well as documentation regarding consuls, with material from 1736 to 1860.

Library

The State Archive possesses a particularly important library, which contains fonds of around 25,000 books and pamphlets, including specialist works in the field of archive studies, palaeography and diplomatics, and the history of southern institutions.

Copy Centre

The State Archives is equipped with a photocopying centre, where photostat copies are made both on the spot and in outside laboratories. Photographs, and positive and negative microfilms are made with the print reader. Readers will be informed of related procedures and arrangements. To request the reproduction of a document for research purposes, readers are required to fill out a form in which they identify themselves, and specify the archive identification number and the reproduction method required. The Copy Centre then estimates the costs involved and records the amount paid.

Reproductions requested for motives other than research are subject to the Ronchey Law (L. 14-1-1993 n.4) which indicates regulations and prices.

Publication of reproductions of archive documents must be accompanied by a specific request of authorisation addressed to the Management. Applicants must also sign an agreement to deposit three copies of the publication at the Archives. The authorisation number must be written inside the work.

Binding and Restoration Laboratory

The Laboratory restores the oldest documentation in the Archives including maps, parchments, and books.

Scuola di Archivistica Paleografia e Diplomatica (School of Palaeographic and Diplomatic Archive Studies)

The State Archives of Naples has established the Scuola di Archivistica Paleografia e Diplomatica (School of Palaeographic and Diplomatic Archive Studies, in accord with statute R.D. 2-10-1911n. 1163), a free two-year course for students with university degrees and diplomas, which accepts a limited number of students (40 students per course). Acceptance is based on applications and presentation of the required documentation within the established terms, after having passed a Latin exam. Attendance is compulsory. At the end of the course students sit an examination. Those who pass are granted a diploma of Archivistica Paleografia e Diplomatica, which is legally recognised and valid for public competitions.

Bibliography

All the archive material conserved in Naples is found listed in the third volume of the Guida generale degli Archivi di stato italiani (General Guide to the Italian State Archives), published by the Ufficio Centrale per i beni Archivisitici, (Central Office for Archival Heritage) (Rome 1986), and in the two volumes by Jole Mazzoleni, Le fonti documentarie e bibliografiche dal secolo X al sec. XIX conservate presso l'Archivio di Stato di Napoli (Documentary and Bibliographic Sources from the Tenth to the Nineteenth Centuries Conserved in the State Archives of Naples) (Naples, Arte Tipografica, 1974-1978, 2 vols.).

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