This volume brings together a set of classic essays by Domenico Sella in which he reassesses the economic fortunes of Northern Italy, in particular Lombardy and Venice, during the 16th and 17th centuries. In addition, the literature on the economics and society of northern Italy had hitherto dealt primarily with the major cities, Milan, Florence and Venice, and their celebrated manufactures, extensive commercial activities and banking. By contrast their countryside was largely neglected and its population dismissed as an undifferentiated mass of peasants fully engaged in farming. The essays in this volume represent as many soundings into this "long forgotten" rural world. As it turns out, rural communities often harbored handicraft industries, and the latter appear to have avoided the debacle that hit the urban economies and their celebrated manufactures, highly regulated as they were by the guilds, in the face of international competition.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface, Thomas Max Safley; Part 1 General: Industrial production in 17th-century Italy: a reappraisal; European industries, 1500-1700; The iron industry in Italy, 1500-1650; Industrial raw materials in the import trade of Northern and central Italy during the 17th century. Part 2 Lombardy: Contribution to the history of the sources of energy: water-driven spinning wheels in the Po valley during the 17th century; War finance and industry in 17th-century Lombardy; Au dossier des migrations montagnards: i'exemle de la Lombardie au XVIIe siècle; The two faces of the Lombard economy in the 17th century; An industrial village in 16th-century Italy; Profilo demografico e sociale di un comune rurale lombardo: Balsamo nel 1597; Household, land tenure, and occupation in Nrth Italy in the late16th-century; Politica, istituzioni e societÃ nella Lombardia del cinquecento; Spanish rule in Milan in the 16th century: old and new perspectives; Coping with famine: the changing demography of an Italian village in the 1590s; Wool, paper and iron: industrial production in the Bergamesque valleys. Part 3 Venice: Crisis and transformation in Venetian trade; The rise and fall of the Venetian woollen industry; Index.
’... this collection of some of [Domenico Sella's] classic essays spanning nearly 50 years represents an effective panoramic view of his varied research interests, and gives the Anglophone readership a good flavour of his sophisticated revisionist views... Once again Ashgate’s Variorum series has provided its readers with a collection of undisputable value [...] both for research and teaching purposes.’ Economic History Review '...the lasting appeal of this collection is the strength of his argument that is woven throughout the essays. Each new idea or assertion...is backed up by a multitude of complex quantitative evidence that begs for close examination and consideration...Sella has left no archive unturned.' Sixteenth Century Journal