The essay offers an overview, in particular to scholars of history of the Risorgimento, of the main texts which contribute to make Masaniello an Italian hero. The media investment in Masaniello is equal to that of Francesco Ferruccio and other heroes, if not higher. His story is told by many authors, especially from the third decade of the nineteenth century to after the unification of Italy. His story, or rather his biography, has been slightly modified compared to the sixteenth-century one. If various chroniclers in recent days have advanced more hypotheses (tiredness or pride or poisoning at the behest of the viceroy) about his imbalance, during the Risorgimento the tendency is for this hypothesis and so the figure of Masaniello is cleared. Masaniello became a hero-symbol of the people; an example for the patriots who were to organise future revolts, a victim to be avenged. His figure is also remembered positively by various authors in the north of the peninsula, in the years of greatest success of Mazzini’s cultural and political project.
Keywords: Masaniello, Risorgimento, Popular hero.