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Italy: Address and Telephone Directories

Telephone directories are used by genealogists and historians to identify people and businesses from a particular place and era. This guide lists the directories from Italy in the Library of Congress collections.


Image of the cover of the Milan telephone directory of 1942
Milan telephone directory published by STIPEL in 1942. Library of Congress General Collections.

Most residential and general organizational telephone directories are not cataloged by the Library of Congress, even though the Library maintains a large collection of foreign and domestic directories. We have therefore compiled this list of directories from Italy as a finding aid for our staff and researchers.

The uncataloged directories listed in this guide reflect holdings as of 2012 of Italian telephone directories. The list of holdings is arranged alphabetically by city or region, then chronologically. The type of directory is indicated by the words "residential," "organizational" (listing businesses, institutions, and government offices), or "both." The "Notes" field is used to provide additional information about the directory.

In addition to the uncataloged directories listed in this guide, the Library also holds a handful that are cataloged and may be requested using the online catalog. To locate these directories, search the Library of Congress Online Catalog using subject keywords such as "Italy" or the name of a city or a region, and "directories"," telephone directory" or "Telecom Italia." In addition to telephone directories, the Library also has business/address directories from Italy, many of which can be found in the catalog using the keywords "directories" or "elenco ufficiale."

The Library of Congress currently maintains a wide range of Italian telephone directories from 1936 to 2002. The oldest directory is the first comprehensive listing of Italian telegraph numbers for business organizations issued within the Kingdom of Italy. Reflecting the times, its preface advocates Italian economic self-dependence with nationalistic undertones.

Since its inception, by virtue of its value as a social service, the telephone sector in Italy has been prevalently government-controlled. Five companies STIPEL, TELVE, TIMO, TETI, and SET, covering specific geographic regions, were victors in a bidding war in 1923. From 1964 to 1993, the government-owned company SIP (Società Italiana per l'Esercizio Telefonico) monopolized Italian telephone services. Finally, in 1994, SIP merged with Telecom Italia, the largest private telecommunications company in the country.

Italian telephone directories cover the Italian territory according to administrative divisions of the country, in descending order (state/region/city/province/commune). Original spellings are maintained, as in the case of provincie instead of province, according to earlier linguistic usages from the 1940s to the early 1960s. For more information about the history of Italian telecommunication services, see the brief section below.

Further Reading