This essay aims to take up the historical question of the role of the notables in political modernisation between the 19th and 20th centuries in Italy and at European level. Following the most up-to-date studies, which look at the Italian phenomenon as a form of conducting ordinary politics and no longer as the bad side of politics, the author tries to follow a pluralist method, which takes into account both the notables’ practices and their use of languages and symbols. Believing that further light should be shed on southern Italian notables, this contribution attempts to present a substantially new case study. The historical region of Abruzzo is an important segment of the ancient "southern provinces": concerning its notables, the essay deals with ways and times of the local notables’ impact with respect to historical turning points;; the weight of administrative and parliamentary politics;; the mechanisms of power networks and the narratives that support them. Based on largely new sources and on available but completely reworked data, a framework emerges that sees Abruzzo fully immersed in the Italian South but showing considerable peculiarities.
Keywords: Notable, liberal Italy, Abruzzo, elections 1861-1919, recommendations, patronage