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5 The Economy of Renaissance Milan

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Chapter Summary

This chapter traces the evolution of the Lombard economy from the mid-fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries, from a commerce partly dependent on intermediaries to merchants thinking on a European scale. The investments that characterized the trading and productive economy in the age of the Visconti and Sforza were put into agriculture in the most fertile areas of the plain between the Ticino and the Adda. In the reign of Filippo Maria Visconti the interests of merchants could be described as protomercantilism, in the sense of state intervention in the economy and the centrality of merchants in economic processes. The principal activity of the banks was the negotiation of letters of exchange principally destined for Venice. The supply of silks and jewels to the court was the object of the mercantile operations at Milan, while on the credit side the bank subsidised Francesco Sforza's campaigns in the kingdom of Naples.

Keywords: Francesco Sforza; Genoese commerce; kingdom of Naples; Lombard economy; Milan; Venice



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