Italian History and Literature

Since its founding, the Newberry has collected extensively in Italian history and literature from the Renaissance to the Napoleonic period. Newberry manuscript holdings include some forty pre-1500 and over 350 post-1500 manuscripts of Italian production including humanist manuscripts, music theory texts, books of hours, emblem books, music, liturgy, calligraphica, family papers, travel narratives, religious texts (including Hebraica), and political commentary. The Newberry’s John M. Wing Foundation on the History of Printing includes specimens of Italian printing at every period. Among the notable Italian materials are hundreds of incunables, ephemeral pieces, and numerous type specimens.

To find books on Italian history and literature in our collection, you can search by Subject in our catalog using the following headings:

Italian history & culture

Italian literature

Authors, Italian

Italian drama

Italian poetry

You may also search by title or author, if either of these is known.

Many of our Italian literature resources are in Italian. To view these resources, search in Newberry’s catalog for the subject "Italian literature". You can also limit results by language using the drop down selection in “Advanced Search” or by using the facets on the left side of the results page.

For items listed as on the 3rd floor Reference shelves, consider browsing nearby shelves for similar materials. All items with a “Ref” call number can be viewed on the open shelves on the 3rd floor. General and Special Collections items must be retrieved by staff.

Avery, Catherine B., Marvin B. Becker and Ludovico Borgo. The New Century Italian Renaissance Encyclopedia. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1972. Location: 3rd floor Reference. Call number: Ref DG537.8 .A1 N48.

Hainsworth, Peter and David Robey. The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Location: 3rd floor Reference. Call number: Ref PQ4006 .O84 2002.

Wyatt, Michael, ed. The Cambridge Companion to the Italian Renaissance. Location: General Collection 2nd floor. Call Number: DG533 .C36 2014.

Forum Italicum. [Tallhassee, Fla.: Dept. of Modern Languages, Florida State University], 1967-. Location: General Collection 2nd floor. Call Number: Y 7107 .312.

Italian Quarterly. Los Angeles: Dept. of Italian, University of California, 1957-. Location: General Collection 2nd floor. Call Number: Y 7107 .41.

Italian Studies. [London]: Society for Italian Studies, 1937-. Location: General Collection 2nd floor. Call Number: Y 7107 .42.

Lettere italiane. Firenze: Leo S. Olschki Editore, 1949-. Location: General Collection 2nd floor. Call Number: Y 7107 .5.

Rivista storica italiana. [Napoli, etc.]: Edizioni scientifiche italiane [etc.]. Location: General Collection 2nd floor. Call Number: F 35 .01.

Albizzi, Pepo d’Antonio di Lando Degli. [Secret ledger and memorial book] [manuscript]. [Florence: 1339-1360?]. Call number: VAULT oversize Case MS 27.

Capirola, Vincenzo, 1474-. Compositione di meser Vincenzo Capirola, gentil homo bresano. [ca. 1517]. Call number: VAULT Case MS minus VM 140 .C25.

Catholic Church. Missale Fratrum minorum secondum consuetudinem Romanae curiae. [Central Italy?: s.n., 1472?]. Call number: folio Inc. 7428.5.

Dante Alighieri, 1265-1321. Divina commedia. Venetiis: In aedib[us] Aldi accuratissime, men[se] aug[usti] M. DII [1502]. Call number: VAULT Wing ZP 535 .A354.

Peri, Jacopo, 1561-1633. L’Evridice d’Ottavio Rinvccini, rappresentata nello sponsalitio della christianiss. Regina di Francia, e di Navarra. Fiorenza: C. Giunti, 1600. Call number: VAULT Case VM 1500 .P44e.

Bodoni, Giambattista, 1740-1813, creator. Giambattista Bodoni collection of printed ephemera. 2 boxes (3.75 linear feet). Call number: Wing oversize ZP 735 .B62365.

Material pertaining to or printed by Giambattista Bodoni, including broadsides, posters, engravings, occasional poems, letterheads, blank forms, manuscript correspondence, printers proofs, receipts, obituaries, and certificates.

Checklist Post-1500 Italian Manuscripts

Codex Soranzo no. MDCCXCII. 1 volume (447 leaves), 34 cm. Call number: VAULT folio Case MS 104.

[Collection of Italian poetry] [15--?]. (28 leaves), 22 cm. Call number: VAULT Case MS 4A 36.

[Collection of medieval musical treatises] [manuscript]. Pavia, Italy: 1391. Call number: VAULT Case MS 54.1.

Lievsay, John L. “Seventeenth-Century Italian Books in the Newberry Library.” The Newberry Library Bulletin 3.3 (1953): 88-92. Call number: Ref Z881 .C5246.

Utley, George Burwell. “Italian Books in the Newberry Library.” Italica: Bulletin of the American Association of Teachers of Italian 3.2 (1926): 31-34. Call number: I 89 .025.

Newberry Library. “List of Important Titles in the Collection of Count Pio Resse of Florence: Proceedings of the Trustees of the Newberry Library of the year ending January 5, 1889.” Unpublished, 1889. Call number: Case Archives 02/01/20 4A.06.02.


Most of the databases at the Newberry are subscription databases; therefore access is available to registered readers only within the library building. Those listed below are subscription databases.

JSTOR: Provides full-text access to an archive of major scholarly journals. Contains complete runs from their first volumes up through approximately five years ago.

ProjectMuse: Provides full-text access to recent volumes of scholarly journals in the arts and humanities published by Johns Hopkins University Press and journals of other university presses.

For a comprehensive list of all our databases, visit our Databases webpage.


Italian Language, Literature and Culture: a list of recommended resources covering Italian literature and more. University of Michigan: Research Guides.

Italian Literature & Language: E-resources: Medieval & Early Modern. Oxford LibGuides: Italian and translated texts.

The Italian Collections at the Library of Congress: The Rare Book Division contains a number of collections rich in Italian materials.

Yale University Library: Italian Language and Literature: The Yale University Library has a long tradition of collecting materials in Italian language and literature and is among the most comprehensive in the United States.

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