The Napoleonic period is normally considered as a watershed in the history of personal identification. As they developed the administrative State, the governments of the Cisalpine/Italian Republic and of the Kingdom of Italy devised a public system of identification independent from the French model. The case study of Vicenza - the capital of the Bacchiglione department - allows us to verify the actual implementation of this political project at the local level. The systematic study of Vicenza police archives reveals a range of popular practices and control strategies very different from the uniform system envisaged by the national legislation. This was a dual model of identification in which the traditional and the State systems coexisted, interweaving and complementing each other: besides the rigid and exterior view promoted by the State there was another pattern of behaviour, deeply rooted in the mentality of the historical actors, fluid and constantly redefined.
Keywords: personal identification, Napoleonic administration, police, Kingdom of Italy (1805-1814), administrative State, Vicenza