The Renaissance and the Signorie

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THE RENAISSANCE AND THE SIGNORIE           (go Back to the main menu of History of Italy)

Developments in Trade and Industry

The ending of imperial authority, quickly followed by the papal crisis involving its transfer to France from 1309 to 1377, was accompanied by a strengthening in the independence of the Northern and Central Italian communes. There was also a notable economic improvement for the majority of towns in the Po Valley and Tuscany.
In particular, while the maritime cities (Venice, Genoa etc.) retained control of the spice trade and other oriental products, industrial and commercial activities (especially the working of wool and the dyeing of textiles) flourished in the cities of the interior, like Florence and Milan, favouring the accumulation of capital and therefore the growth of financial dealings. It is of significance that it was in Tuscany that Francesco Datini of Prato introduced the promissory note that was so useful for banking transactions. Tuscan, Lombard and even Venetian and Roman bankers financed the military undertakings of European sovereigns and the papacy, thus increasing their own prestige and political influence.



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