The paper addresses the practices of spatial identification of places, buildings and people in Italian cities before the introduction - during the XVIIIth century - of the rigorous and systematic devices still in use today (civic numbers, road signs, cadastral maps etc.). They were poorly formalized practices, setting as reference points districts and landmarks of various kinds (parishes, neighborhoods, public buildings, squares, commercial streets, collective facilities etc.). In other words, what distinguished them was their relational character: because they were anchored in the relationships that linked each element of the town topography to the others, more or less close to it; but also because their use was never separate from the context of the social relationships that bound together the groups competing on the urban stage. It was precisely the presence of this connective fabric that made it unnecessary for sovereign and municipal authorities to control analytically the entire surface of the city: much more effective were locating systems negotiated on a case-by-case basis with the intermediate bodies (neighborhoods, associations, brotherhoods...) that maintained for a long time a pivotal role in the control and management of urban spaces.
Keywords: spatial identification, Urban localisation, urban mapping.
Keywords: Pratiche di individuazione dei luoghi cittadini, Sistemi di reperimento urbano, Sistemi di mappatura urbana