This article focuses on Niccolò Zapponi’s historiography and analyses his methodology and research interests, in particular his approach to the history of Italian culture over the years prior to the Fascist period. Zapponi has been named a «hermeneut of modernity», a scholar who was able to interpret some of the essential and peculiar characteristics of the modern man through the lens of cultural history, which he considered as the most favourable discipline through which one can understand the spirit of the time. One of Zapponi’s greatest merits has been his ability to face the issue of the cultural precedents of Italian Fascism without any moralism, nor misleading determinism. Adopting a long-term perspective, he disclosed the many ways in which collective myths and mental attitudes affected the main cultural trends of the time and favoured the making of connections between culture and politics in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century.
Keywords: Niccolò Zapponi, myths, ideologies, Fascism, modernity, Italian culture