Stunning Photographs From The Inside One Of The Oldest Bank Archives In Europe
The Banco di Napoli Historical Archives can be considered the largest archival collection of bank documents in the entire world. There are documents dating back to the middle of the 1500s to the present day.
They are stored in nearly 330 rooms spread across two different buildings, Palazzo Ricca and Palazzo Cuomo, at the Banco di Napoli Foundation which is located on a famous street in the heart of Naples, via dei Tribunali. The content of these documents ranges from the economic, social and artistic history of the southern Italian peninsula to documents regarding the structure and the evolution of banking and credit institutions, as well as business contracts with other European nations.
The archive of the oldest bank in Europe “Bank of Naples” born in 1539. Today it is a foundation and It owns precious documents dating back from end of 1400 and represent the first example of bank activity.
It has registration of a payment to Caravaggio, payments for the excavations of Pompeii, for the jewels of the “Treasure of San Gennaro” the city´s patron saint, which economical value has been estimated as “invaluable”, documents on liquorice export from Calabria region to Holland, Rotschild´s banker family presence in Naples, religious festivities and much more.
The archive has preserved the cheques called “bancali” at that time, amd several registrar books. Many scholars consult those documents for many reasons: one is that payment causalities were written with great detail, which makes them really trustable documents to make researches, study, and contributed to publications in many fields, but anyone can visit and consult documents by booking an apointment.
Think about any event happening in Naples, or related to, in the city itself, in Italy and even Europe which might be economically traceable from ´500 until Italy´s unification (1861) and later, you might find a precious trace here.
Many bank employes moreover, used to kill time by writing poems , rhymes or making drawings on the books´ first pages. Many of those poems can be read in the book “Piaceri di noia” (Pleasures of boredom), by neapolitan artist Giuseppe Zevola who collected them.
Soon a museum will open the archive to the public. with a focus on the history of the bank, economic aspects and the “stories” that have been reconstructed through the study of the payments.
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The Archivio Storico del Banco di Napoli, is located in via dei Tribunali 213 in Naples, Italy.