Our history and background
The Bookshop was founded at the beginning of 1895 by ATTILIO NARDECCHIA (1867 - 1961).
At the beginning the Nardecchia was an antique bookshop. In the first two years of activity several catalogues was made. Very little documentation remains of this period: catalogue No. 3 of 1896, 12 catalogues published between 1897 and 1899 and the catalogue of an auction held in November, 1899.
In December 1899 a new series of catalogues (Serie II) was begun, including several very important auctions. The book collections of B. Tortolini and B. Boncompagni, among others, were sold together by auction in 1900.
In 1901 the vast collection of G. Colucci followed suit, then in 1907 the famous library of Francesco Crispi ("Several thousands of pamphlets came to H. Nelson Gay at the Crispi sale in 1907 and bear that statement's autograph"), and in 1913 the mammoth sale of the duplicates of the Biblioteca Nazionale "Vittorio Emanuele" in Rome took place. Attilio Nardecchia bought up in bulk all the unsould books at the end of the auction.
Discoraged after eviction from the premises, Attilio Nardecchia sold his bookshop in 1921, transferring the name of the firm as well to Messrs. Walter Regenberg and Ernesto Immelen.
During this first twenty years of activity such a great quantity of books and periodicals had accumulated, the majority of which were not catalogued, that the new owners had to work hard for sixteen years only to rearrange the existing material. The activity of the antique bookshop did not come to a halt at all after the change of ownership, and continued in the name of LIBRERIA NARDECCHIA with two excellent auction sales:
In February 1923, catalogue No. 70 followed, a series which was to be continued during the following years, together with two other series of catalogues:
from 15th - 25th February 1922
from 3rd - 12th May 1922
Biblioteca Conte Alessandro Moroni
AMERICANA. 5 catalogues published from December 1926 to April 1930.
VETERA ET NOVA. 5 catalogues from January 1927 to June 1931.
Furthermore, during the 1920's and 30's several collections specialized in books on the theatre, the statutes of Italien cities, dialectal dictionaries were sold to American Universities.
At the end of 1931 Ernesto Immelen, general Manager of the bookshop, collaborated with H. Nelson Gay in the sale of his renowned collection on the "Italian Risorgimento" to the Harvard College Library.
"In one field Harvard is almost unrivalled even in Italy, and this is the history of the Italian Risorgimento, 1815-1871. The late H. Nelson Gay, A.M. '96, for over thirty years devoted much of his time to collecting books, pamphlets, newspapers, and broadsides on this subject until he had gathered a library said to contain some 40,000 items".
The Library of Harvard University
Descriptive and historical notes. Fourth Edition, 1934.
A part of the journals (probably duplicates for Harvard) remained at the LIBRERIA NARDECCHIA and were sold in bulk in March 1932 to the John Hopkins University.
The most important series of catalogues of the new management of the Nardecchia Bookstore rapidly became that of the "New series", the first of which was issued in March 1923. These were dedicated mainly, and later on exclusively, to Italian periodicals, and marked the beginning of a new activity which in time became more and more important, and gradually transformed the Nardecchia into what it is today: the only firm of world standard specializing in Italian periodicals.
The ever increasing sales of back-files of Italian periodicals to American libraries gave rise to the subscription agency, and from that time we forward on standing order basis thousands of periodicals and collections to libraries and academic institutions all over the world.
To the complete history of the antiquarian booksellers in Rome between XIX and XX Century including the Nardecchia Bookstore, Prof.ssa FLAVIA CRISTIANO dedicated the volume:
Figure dell'antiquariato librario e dell'editoria romana tra Otto e Novecento
Roma : Vecchiarelli, 1995
Price Euro 21,00
Attilio Nardecchia the founder of the LIBRERIA NARDECCHIA was born in 1867 at Rome. A graduate in medicine, that during his studies in medicine became so interested in books to the extent that he never practiced medicine, but dedicated himself exclusively to books.
He was really "possessed" by books and could not help buying them every day. He even filled up his own home and buried his furniture in books; only the bed was left free.
His family had abandoned him some time before as it was impossible to live in a house stuffed full of books.
In 1921, with the earnings from the sale of the bookshop he bought some land on the Aventine Hill and built himself a beautiful home, in which he could at last reunite his family once again.
The new owners of the LIBRERIA NARDECCHIA were Walter Regenberg and Ernesto Immelen, grandfather and greatuncle of Gunther G. Kluge.
Walter Regenberg was born in 1869 at Bromberg (at that time in Germany), and was to have studied theology, but he had a lovely baritone voice and had decided to become an opera singer. He left home but his voice became ruined by a teacher who wanted him to train as a tenor instead. This happened in Berlin, and perhaps not all evils bring harm, in as much as Walter Regenberg carried out his regular apprentiship in that city in the antiquarian bookshop "Weber". From Berlin he moved to Vienna and than to Rome in 1894.
With 25 years of age he found work in the antiquarian section of "Ermanno Loescher & Company" in Via del Corso, where the Banca di Roma is today.
The Loescher bookshop and publishing company was at that time the best in Rome and had a vast assortment of books in all languages. On June 1st 1896, after the death of Loescher, the firm was bought by Walter Regenberg as a joint owner, and it became entirely his own in January 1907.
With the change in ownership a more active publishing movement began, and was strictly bound to the intellectual work of the Institues of Archaeology, History and Romance Philology. This gave rise to the birth of the "REGESTA CHARTARUM ITALIAE", the "QUELLEN UND FORSCHUNGEN AUS ITALIENISCHEN ARCHIVEN UND BIBLIOTHEKEN", the "BIBLIOTHEK DES KGL. PREUSSISCHEN HISTORISCHEN INSTITUTS IN ROM" and the "MITTEILUNGEN DES KAIS. DEUTSCHEN ARCHEOLOGISCHEN INSTITUTS".
Furthermore, the Loescher Company became the sole agent for the sale of the ARCHIVIO STORICO ITALIANO, FONTI PER LA STORIA D'ITALIA, BULLETTINO DELLA SOCIETA' FILOLOGICA ROMANA, STUDI DI FILOLOGIA ROMANZA, STUDI ROMANZI, AUSONIA, BULLETTINO DELLA COMMISSIONE ARCHEOLOGICA COMUNALE DI ROMA, STUDI DI STORIA ANTICA, and many others.
Walter Regenberg had to know the famous Mommsen personally in Berlin (Christian Matthias Theodor Mommsen, 30 November 1817 - 1 November 1903), and he came to visit Regenberg several times in Rome, together visiting Frascati (near Rome) to taste the famous wine of the "Castelli Romani".
Very soon the Loescher reception room became the meeting place for archaeologists and historians living in, or passing through Rome and whether Italians or foreigners they were all friends of Walter Regenberg.
Ernesto Immelen was born in Rome in 1888 and knew Walter Regenberg because his sister Anna Immelen married Walter. In 1908 he was sent by Walter Regenberg to America to learn the trade and understand the local market with a contract by Bretano's of New York in his pocket.
He was 20 years old and was fluent in German, Italian and French.
He remained in America for two years, first in New York and then in Washington, and had the chance of getting to know very well many people who were to become later on very important in the field of libraries and books.On his return to Europe he spent a year in Paris specializing in the field of the antiquarian book trade. When he last returned to Rome and to the Loescher Company, he had then to leave in 1914 for Leipzig to join his regiment as the entire Immelen family had maintained German nationality.
In 1919 he returned to Italy and together with Walter Regenberg immediately began to trade in books. Both of them had the advantage of knowing foreign languages and of having many personal relationship with librarians and antique book dealers all over the world.
In 1921 they bought from Attilio Nardecchia the LIBRERIA NARDECCHIA and from that time Ernesto Immelen was the General Manager of the firm.
Gunther Georg Kluge was born in 1934 in Bebersee (Germany). There he spent the years of the Second World War under Russian occupation. They weren't easy years. In the summer 1951, with 17 years of age, he went to West Berlin where, on 1st September 1951 he began a regular antiquarian book-seller apprenticeship at the wellknown Auction-House of "Gerd Rosen" on the Kurfûrstendamm.
After 3 years of experience in Berlin he went, aged 20, to Rome and since that date has been working for this firm. In the beginning he worked exclusively for the antiquarian book department preparing catalogues, some of which are listed here:
Aeronautica, Special aeronautics catalogue. Periodici No. 1 - 59.
Libri No. 60 - 1387. Rome 1955 (Tipography U, Quintily) .
65 pag. ; 1387 indications ; divided in two alphabetical arranged sections, for authors and one for titles.
Cinematografia. Special Cinema Catalogue. Rome, 1955
23 pag. ; 373 indications.(mentioned on F. Cristiano, L'antiquariato librario in Italia. Rome, 1986)
Catalogo 76. Classic Philology. Scriptores graeci et latini Pars I: A - Homerus, No. 1-1000. Historia literaria, Gramatica et Ars Metrica, No. 1001-1277. Inscriptiones, Numismatica, No. 1278-1402. Rome, 1956
Nuova Serie No. 16 Archeology, Classic Philology and Antique Numismatics.
98 Periodicals... 19 pag. Rome 1968.
98 indications; subdivided into alphabetical section for titles.
1895-1985. 90 years Libreria Nardecchia. Italian Art-Architecture-Local History and Antiquity Periodicals. 65 pag.; ill. Rome 1985.
352 indications (Periodicals and collections) alphabetically ordered with accurate descriptions and bibliographic references.
Catalogo 77. 100 Placchette del '400 e '500. 1895-1995 : 100 anni della LIBRERIA GIA' NARDECCHIA.
As President of the firm he continued The Bookstore's specific activity of researching rare books, and between 1960 - 1980, he developed the commission agent activity with many well known and distinguished foreign institutions.
This activity has led to the increment in the number of italian periodicals available at many important University Libraries as the Princeton University Library, the Cornell University Library, the University of Pennsylvania Library and more recently the Getty Center Library among others.
Richard L. Kluge, director of the firm since 1996, was born in 1967 in Rome. After Richard finished his librarian apprentiship, in 1988 he began renovating The Bookstore's management systems to keep pace with the technical changes of both the Italian and foreign University Libraries. He realized in 1995 Nardecchia's first Internet platform with an e-commerce catalogue and a subject personalized newsletter and improved the services to libraries and institutions with Edifact invoicing, Barcoded invoices and deliveries and a comprehensive Online Database of the aproximately 4.500 Periodicals and Series handled from the Company.
More recently he studied on Marc21 standards and achieved in 2014 for Nardecchia an agreement with OCLC to be included in the "Vendor record contribution program" and became so one among the 60 Companies in the World and just the second in whole Italy, to be a certified OCLC Partner allowed to upload Marc21 records into the "WorldCat".
Richard's aim has always been offering Nardecchia's over 100 years knowledge in books and periodicals and combining a personalized service for each client with the latest advances in tecnologies.
Richard also keeps up the Nardecchia tradition of preparing antiquarian catalogues with the publication of:
Catalogo 78. Libri d'arte rari e di pregio. With introduction of Prof. Flavia Cristiano. Rome, 1999.
More information about our bookshop and location can be found here