Italy Merchants and Bankers Part 1

The century had not passed. X that the Golden Bull of the emperors Basilio and Constantine to the doge Pietro II Orseolo granted privileges to the Venetians who frequented Constantinople, while the merchants of Amalfi went, more daring than their colleagues from Trani and Bari, to Byzantium, in Antioch, in Jerusalem, Egypt, having houses and warehouses everywhere. But the real expansion, in a big way, of the Italians outside of Italy, took place only in the last years of the century. XI, when our country, which was favored by its geographical position and had not experienced the economic depression that occurred elsewhere following the barbarian invasions and then the Islamic one, found itself in a position to fully exploit the commercial and financial possibilities of the Crusades. Since then, every economic center of any importance, Eastern and Western, he met our merchants, who showed that they felt the bond of race abroad so strong, above the particularism that so divided them on this side from the mountains, that foreigners designated them en bloc with the name of Lombardi. It can be said that the economic awakening of Europe, which started from the Italian peninsula, was the collective work of a whole people cemented by an ideal unity. Thus in 1278, when dealing with the French sovereign for the return of expelled merchants to Nîmes, a Piacenza merchant came forward with the title of “capitaneus universitatis mercatorum lombardorum et tuscanorum”, showing the powers of attorney of the consuls of the merchants of Alba, Asti, Bologna , Florence, Genoa, Lucca, Milan, Piacenza, Pistoia, Siena, Venice; and from 1288 the Universitas mercatorum Italiae nundinas Campaniae appears in the kingdom Franciae frequentantium, which in 1295 concluded a safeguard treaty with the counts of Burgundy, for the merchants of Alba, Asti, Bologna, Como, Florence, Genoa, Lucca, Milan, Orvieto, Parma, Piacenza, Pistoia, Prato, Rome, Urbino, Venice, and in general for all Italian merchants. If individually the Italian merchants had a great passion for risky business, and a great desire for profit, on the whole their action always took place according to logical plans suggested by a well-studied economic policy, in harmony with the different economic situations, and social policies of the individual cities to which they belonged. With some exceptions, commercial companies,

According to COLLEGETOPPICKS.COM, it was just beginning the century. XII when the Pisans, helpers of Godfrey of Bouillon, settled in a district of the port of Jaffa, a traffic center between the West and Palestine, and immediately afterwards the Venetians joined them and obtained considerable advantages in Acre, in Tire , in Ascalona and Jerusalem, and the Genoese whose merchant colonies, headed by the families Embriaci, Dalla Volta, Burone, Mallone, Guercio, Negro, Usodimare, Vento, Grillo, etc. (to mention only the oldest), extended along the Mediterranean coasts of Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and also in those of the Black and Azov seas, in Pera, Soldaia, Caffa, and Tana . In these last places the Venetians joined them, who then established flourishing commercial establishments on the opposite shore, in Trebizond, from which the brothers Niccolò and Matteo Polo would have moved, and then Marco, to go as far as the capital of the Mongols. Not only was the competition of the cities overlooking the Gulf of Lion, Narbonne, Montpellier, Marseille not dangerous for the ships of Pisa, Genoa and Venice, but rather as these republics were gaining economic strength in the East, they were directing their emigration and their ambitions also on the coasts of Western Europe, also demanding privileges and monopolies there: first of all that of navigation in the Mediterranean, which they imposed, not without disagreements, on the owners of the aforementioned cities. Then, going further and further inward beyond the edge of the sea, the merchants of those seafaring cities of ours joined with those of many others in the interior,

From Asti the Alfieri, the Asinari, the Da Saliceto, the Garetti, the Malabaila, the Pelleta, the Roveri, the Scarampi, the Solari and the Toma mountains, joined by the Provano natives from Carignano. , the Medici of Chieri, and such a crowd of Piacentini, that as many as 37 were to be found, in the mid-fourteenth century, at the Lagny fair alone. The “Registrum Lombardorum”, preserved in Friborg, while documenting, for the ‘300, a real invasion of Astigiani, also contains the list of all the local nobility who, obliged to them due to mortgages, ended up giving up fiefs, castles , lordships. From Lucca departed the Barca, the Burlamacchi, the Calcinelli, the Cenami, the Corbolani, the Forteguerra, the Guinigi, the Moriconi, the Onesti, the Riccardi, the Rapondi, the Schiatta, the Spiafame, the Trenta, who, although they arrived they too as far as England, and victoriously asserted themselves there as the Riccardi, they took root above all in France. As regards Siena, we know that, in the mid-thirteenth century, the companies of the Bonsignori, Cacciaconti, Fini, Gallerani and Salimbeni were located in France (and many companies also had branches in Flanders, England, Germany). , the Squarcialupi, the Tolomei, the Ugolini, the Vincenti. Even the sec. XIV knew, at least at the beginning, the economic fortune of Siena, shaken but not entirely ruined by the failure of the “magna table” of the Bonsignori, and by the competition of the capitalists of Florence. In the early years of the fourteenth century the Cinughi, Forteguerri, Malavolti, Rossi, Squarcialupi, Tolomei, and very rich Salimbeni were still well established abroad. The name of Pistoia was known in many districts of Europe for the companies of the Ammannati, Cancellieri, Dondori, Panciatichi, Partini, Simiglianti. The name of Florence, illustrated by the triumphant golden florin, resounded in every corner of Europe where the branches or in any case the representatives and agents of the companies of the Bardi, Peruzzi, Acciaiuoli, Alberti, Albizzi, Antella, Ardinghelli, Baroncelli, Buondelmonti, Cerchi, Del Bene, Falconieri, Frescobaldi, Gianfigliazzi, Mozzi, Pazzi, Portinari, Pulci and Rimbertini, Scali, Spini, Strozzi and so on.

Italy Merchants and Bankers 1