The Archive History

With the Royal Decree of the December 22nd, 1808, Joachim Murat established a “General Archive of the Kingdom” to gather the documents of the existing judiciary until the arrival of the French: the Archives of the Regia Camera of Sommaria, of Zecca, of Chancellery and of Viceroys, those of the Giunta degli Abusi, the Giunta di Sicilia and the Curia of the Major Chaplain, and finally the archives of the ancient public benches, the surrenders and all the ancient administrations. However, the archives of the Banks were never part of the heritage of the General Archives. They were concentrated in the banking institution that was to become the Banco di Napoli, and such is still the arrangement today.
In 1812, the archives of the Sacred Royal Council, the Grand Court of the Vicariate, the Admiralty, the Magistrate of Commerce, the General Audience of War and the Royal House, the archives of numerous Delegations and Special Councils, as well as the archives of the Royal Chamber of Santa Chiara, the highest advisory body in the early Bourbon period, joined the General Archives of the Kingdom. Starting in 1809, the archival core of the “Stato Civile” was also handed over.
With the Unification of Italy, the documents of the suppressed pre-unification ministries, and all the administrations that depended on them, were transferred to the Great Archive of Naples: 62 new archival funds, which further enriched the documental patrimony. In 1845, the Great Archive of Naples was transferred, from the original and narrow site of Castelcapuano, to the premises of the ancient monastery of Saints Severino and Sossio.
One of the most precious and richly documented fund is that of the Archives of the Notaries, which are periodically deposited by the archives of the Notary District of Naples. Today, the Archive preserves the protocols of the notaries with deeds between the 15th and 19th century.
Under the direction of Riccardo Filangieri di Candida (1934-1956) a policy of acquisition was undertaken, through the purchase, deposit, or donation, of the archives of the Neapolitan aristocratic families. This documentation allows to integrate the frequent intentional or accidental losses of the documents produced by the public institutions of the Kingdom of Southern Italy.
The recently acquired private archives of the scholar Paolo Ricci, of the writer Annamaria Ortese and of the architect Luigi Cosenza, are preserved in the subsidiary headquarters of Pizzofalcone.
The Bourbon Archive, purchased in 1951, integrates the documentation of the Royal House, partially destroyed in 1943 during the last war, and is of particular interest.
There are also precious pieces in the Archive: the “Code of Santa Marta”, illuminated parchment sheets with the coats of arms of the sovereigns and members of the most remarkable families of the Kingdom; the collection of seals and matrices and the “Lapidary Paper”, a document of the VIII century, found in the countryside near Cuma.
The subsidiary site of Pizzofalcone, also called the “military archive”, mainly preserves documents of military history and archives from military magistrates, including the War Ministry and Navy from the Bourbon era, the Military Orphanage, the Military Courts, the maps of the Royal Topographical Office, but also the registers of the Military Districts of Naples, Aversa and Nola, the matricular sheets of the drafted and the papers of the provincial Office of the Draft of Naples.