The article is a reflection upon the multiple lessons on methodology which make Il Portello a masterpiece in the field of labour history. Most important among them are the accuracy and the extent of archival sources, the skilled use of oral history, the approach to the past in terms of retrospective sociology and the critique of received conceptualizations. Bigazzi’s historiographical approach can be traced back to the methodological and ethical teachings of Franco Della Peruta, and to the urge to cross the boundaries of militant historiography, which was predominant among the first generation of historians after Wold War II. Il Portello can also be considered as a warning on the need for long timeframes in historical research, as the only way to obtain convincing and lasting results.
Keywords: Labour History, Historical Method, Historical Writing, Oral History, Retrospective Sociology, Franco Della Peruta, Italian Historiography