The objective of this article is twofold. Firstly, it aims to reconstruct the reflection on luxury, a concept around which key economic and political discussions were conveyed in 18th century Italy, which developed through periodical press. In particular, the importance which the debate on luxury assumed in Italian journals between the 1760’s early 1780’s allows to understand the growing awareness of an emerging commercial society, progressively consumption-oriented. The second aim is to penetrate the strong connections between this reflection and the transformations of the material culture through an analysis focused on early forms of advertising that appeared in Italian newspapers from the second half of the 18th century. The multifaceted ensemble of the early advertisements constitutes a rewarding way to investigate the realisation of material transformations in 18th century Italy, for the way in which it reflects a world in transformation, marked by new and even more differentiated goods of consumption that were strictly connected to personal wellbeing.
Keywords: Luxury, consumption, advertisement, intellectual debate, material culture, Italy, eighteenth century.