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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 hoursMonday to Friday 8.30 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., Saturday 8.30 a.m. to1.30 p.m.
Closed to the public in the second and third weeks of August


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

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

Brief Historical Outline

The State Archive of Naples contains documentation from the centraladministrations of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies up until the Unification ofItaly, and documentation from the State Offices, whose headquarters werelocated in the province of Naples from Unification to the present day.

This originated as a general Archive, created by the decrees of 1808, 1810, and1811, which enabled Murat to control both its organisation as well as itsreunion with all the old archives in Castel Capuano. After the RestorationFerdinand I gave the General Archive the name of Grande Archivio del Regno(Great Archive of the Kingdom) with the law of 12 November 1818, whichestablished 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 sinceall the documents produced by the State Offices, limited to those regarding theprovince of Naples alone, in addition to the pre-Unification documentation.

It is calculated that more than 1,200,000 items and 20,000 parchments areconserved in the Archive. Both total and partial collections survive regardingthe history of the institutions of the Kingdom. A particular case is that ofthe registers of the Cancelleria Angioina (Angevin Chancellery) which weretotally destroyed in World War Two. In a project supervised by RiccardoFilangieri and later Jole Mozzoleni, the archivists redressed this loss byconstantly replenishing and reorganising fonds, using originals, copies,registers, microfilm, and photocopies transcribed by foreign scholars, in aneffort to reconstruct the Registers themselves. In 1947 Benedetto Crocesuggested that the Accademia Pontiana take over publication of the Registerswhich it faithfully continues to this very day - Volume XLI of the series waspublished in 1994. Finally, Riccardo Filangieri dedicated himself to creatinga deposit of ancestral archives possessed by the great families who have alwaysbeen 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 RegiaCamera Sommaria, a chamber which had jurisdiction over all financial and localadministration lawsuits, as well as consultative functions in financial mattersand jurisdiction over feudal matters; those of the Consiglio Collaterale, whichwas active in the viceroy era, and actually presided over the Viceroy whocontrolled all the administrative and judicial matters of the Kingdom; those ofthe Cappellania Maggiore, established in 1442 and abolished in 1808, which wasconcerned with relationships between Church and State; and finally, those ofthe Delegazione della Real Giurisdizione, which emerged in the late sixteenthcentury to halt abuse committed by the bishops against subjects of theKingdom.

Bourbon era

The era of the Restoration of Independence to the Kingdom of Naples withCharles of Bourbon in 1734 is best represented by the documents in the archivesin 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, Aziendaand Ecclesiastico which ran all the affairs of state until the French decade.In addition there survives partial documentation of the Neapolitan Republic of1799.

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

Post-Unification period

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

Other fonds of outstanding interest

An extraordinarily important source is represented by private archives made upof valuable documentation reflecting family life and activities, leadingfigures, and corporations, which have either been donated, acquired, ordeposited with the institute.

Some examples of the many private fonds include the following: Caracciolo diBrienza (1294-1857), Caracciolo di Cellammare (1574-1914), Caracciolo di SantoBono (1001-1866), Caracciolo di Torchiarolo (1361-1967) with transcribeddocuments dating from 1228), Caracciolo di Torella (1255-1916, with transcribeddocuments dating from 1082) Carafa Di Roccella (1313-1950); d'Aquino diCaramanico (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 transcribeddocuments dating from 1261), Maresca di Serrracapriola-Revertera dellaSalandra (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, withtranscribed documents dating from 1101), Pignatelli Ferrara di Strongoli(1447-1874), Pironti Poerio (18th to 19th centuries), Riario Sforza (1210 tothe 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 FondoNotarile (15th - 18th centuries), the series regarding the counts of Percettoriand the registers of landed property of the Kingdom, including the CatastiAntichi (Old Registers) (1470-1739), the Onciari (1470-1739) and the CatastoFrancese 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 andsocial conditions of the Kingdom community. In addition, the archivesregarding orders of knighthood and charitable institutions, books of theBanchieri Antichi, ecclesiatic organisations and suppressed monasteries, aswell as Maps and Drawings, represent a collection of around 2000 items, andinclude seals, manuscripts, and the illuminated codex of the Confraternity ofSanta Marta.

The documentation of the relationship between Naples and Venice is worthmentioning, found in the fonds of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of theKingdom of Naples. Of particular interest are documents regarding theNeapolitan legations to Venice between 1734 and 1798, those of the VenetoGovernment in Naples from 1737 to 1793, those of the Veneta Nazione resident inNaples, as well as documentation regarding consuls, with material from 1736 to1860.


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

Copy Centre

The State Archives is equipped with a photocopying centre, where photostatcopies are made both on the spot and in outside laboratories. Photographs, andpositive and negative microfilms are made with the print reader. Readers willbe informed of related procedures and arrangements. To request thereproduction of a document for research purposes, readers are required to fillout a form in which they identify themselves, and specify the archiveidentification number and the reproduction method required. The Copy Centrethen estimates the costs involved and records the amount paid.

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

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

Binding and Restoration Laboratory

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

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

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


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

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