The books to read to know the basics of the history of Naples

by Federico Quagliuolo

They often ask us what they are the books to read to know the whole history of Naples, those inevitable texts which must necessarily appear in all the libraries of the true in love with Naples or those who, intrigued by the city, want to take their first steps in a history spanning more than 2500 years, from the first settlements to Duchy and then coming to the 800 years of reign.

We have selected them some that we have read and feel about recommend to those looking for authoritative books to discover the entire history of the city: too often, in fact, we stop to tell only the history of the Kingdom of Naples, leaving out fundamental moments of the city's past, between the Greek, Roman and early medieval times.

This it is not meant to be an exhaustive list, indeed, we can't wait to be able to enrich with new tips.

We will not offer all the books that will be found in the bookstore, but also old writings that just need to be re-evaluated.

Brief history of Naples

A brief history of Naples, Di Mauro and Vitolo - a short and compact history

Leonardo Di Mauro and Gianni Vitolo have created a really cute and practical little compendium, as well as really being cheap: for less than 10 euros you can take home a perfect gem for begin to orient yourself in the history of Naples: the pages are 160 and summarize, with short and simple strokes, everything there is to know about the city, without getting lost in chatter, background and curiosity.

Leonardo Di Mauro is a professor of architecture at the Federico II University, while Giovanni Vitolo he is a lecturer in Medieval History at the same university. These names are enough for guarantee the quality of a book not very well known, but perfect for approaching local history.

The book chosen by ours Daniele Nocera

History of Naples Vittorio Gleijeses books to read
The history of Naples told by Vittorio Gleijeses

The History of Naples, Vittorio Gleijeses - a book for everyone

A simple, accessible and complete text. Vittorio Gleijeses he was not a historian, but his ability to make historical concepts "digestible" it is nothing short of extraordinary and probably derives from his own practical ability daughter of the military school from which she came. Had an extensive library on local history and, as a reader, he transformed assimilated concepts into stories summarized in his many books.

It was published in ben 3 editions and it is advisable take the last one given that the author, by his own admission, has fallen into some inaccuracies in the previous ones, which in any case they do not affect the quality of the work in any way: we are talking about mammoth works that generically divulge the history of Naples, not an academic text.

The book is very easy to find used on the stalls of Port'Alba or in some second-hand fair.

Otherwise, online, you can find it on eBay in all its editions.

History of Naples - Antonio Ghirelli books to read
Antonio Ghirelli's book

History of Naples, Antonio Ghirelli - an authoritative and complete text

One of the more books complete, intense and beautiful on the history of Naples. Antonio Ghirelli lived the history of this city for real, as a journalist who then went as far as to direct the Press Office of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers. In short, not exactly the latest arrival.

He does not have Montanelli's magic pen and creativity in historical writing (and in fact the text is definitely long and challenging to read), but retraces with wealth of details a story written in tens of thousands of books, summarizing it in 560 pages in which you cannot lose your eye even for a second: each historical event told is immersed in its social context, with the description of curiosities and fundamental events that formed the Neapolitan character.

A text that surely will create a lot of ideas to be deepened with new readings.

The book chosen by Leonardo Quagliuolo

Naples in History, Attilio Wanderlingh - the modern

Who is fond of antique photography (and he will certainly be a frequenter of the Napoli Retrò group!), he will know the name of Attilio Wanderlingh because he edited one of the most interesting photographic collections on Naples ever, starting from 1861 and reaching the present day. We recommend that you take a look at the various "Photographic history of Naples ", which are products of rare beauty (here an ebay link).

With his book, "Naples in History", he instead wanted to make a foray into the history of the city from A to Z. It is a modern and practical book to read, which manages to make a brief summary in only 200 pages.

The book recommended by Yuri Buono

Books on the history of Naples Luciana De Luca

Short summary to "History of the city and the Kingdom of Naples", Luciana de Luca - the choice for enthusiasts

This book is a fantastic discovery: the author, Luciana De Luca, has it dedicated "to all the boys of Italy, driven by a spirit of extraordinary generosity and love for the future. It is about a compendium of a much more partial text than the others: let's talk about the work of Giovanni Antonio Summonte, "On the history of the city and the Kingdom of Naples ", a book printed in 1671. The language of the original manuscript is complex and ancient, like that of Carlo Celano, and it is a document inaccessible to beginners.

Luciana De Luca simply has it "Translated" into a current language, summarizing it and getting the best of what you need to know.
Summonte in his time divided the history of Naples into "dynastic epochs": it makes a very accurate portrait of all the kings of Naples who followed one another since the fall of Duchy up, of course, at the time of the viceroys in which he lived: leaving out some information that may be of low interest to the reader, such as list of ministers and nobles, are discovered in just over 300 pages curiosities, stories and information about the city and its evolution from the Middle Ages to the times of Charles V. A text indeed precious that we would like to advise you as small exception to our list of "complete" books on the History of Naples.

You can find it on Ebay

Recommended by Federico Quagliuolo

Gino Doria History of a Capital books on Naples to read

History of a capital from its origins to 1860, Gino Doria - the choice for connoisseurs

Gino Doria was one of the most intense connoisseurs of Naples, but also the man who told the history of all the streets of the city. His most famous book is indeed "The streets of Naples", which concerns the urban history of the city, street by street.

In the case of "History of a capital", Gino Doria gives a clear and detailed story in just 300 pages, it is almost impossible to understand how it manages to condense so much information into so little space . The detail that strikes and leaves you glued to the pages is indeed agility in the pen and the modesty of the author, who never poses in an obnoxious way or takes the reader's knowledge for granted.

The book, however, stops with the unification of Italy and therefore does not deal with all the fundamental events of the Remediation and twentieth century, which completely shocked the entire city in just one hundred years.

The cost is not indifferent (it is still a read for enthusiasts with a very low circulation), but it is one of those books of which you don't regret spending this money at all.

A tip from Federico Quagliuolo

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4 Comments

Mariella Ricciardi 24 February 2021 - 13:44

always very interesting. I have in my house a street book by Gino Doria inherited from my father and I am thinking about the purchase of the history of Naples by the same author. A re-edition of the “Strade di Napoli” has come out and of the “History… .. the price seems excessive to me

Answer
Federico Quagliuolo 24 February 2021 - 14:03

Yes, unfortunately the prices of these reprints are very high!

Answer
annamaria 15 April 2022 - 18:23

salve, perché suggerire acquisti su amazon e non in librerie fisiche? grazie

Answer
Federico Quagliuolo 16 April 2022 - 1:00

Abbiamo lettori in tutta Europa, quindi non è sempre possibile acquistare libri pro manibus. Dall’altro lato, abbiamo una convenzione con Amazon che ci permette di sostenere il nostro progetto!

Answer

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