Volume 6 Issue 1 CONTENTS

pdfFlorentine Families in Hungary in the First Half of the Fifteenth Century*

Krisztina Arany

National Archives of Hungary


This essay, based on a prosopographic database backed by extensive archival research both in Florence and Hungary, offers an overview on the patterns of the presence of Florentine merchants in medieval Hungary. Among the research questions, the Florentine businessmen’s main fields of interest in the kingdom are of utmost importance, because their interests shaped the patterns of their presence in the kingdom. Also, their financial and economic background in Florence significantly influenced the opportunities they had in Hungary. Thus, the forms of cooperation within the closer local and extended international networks within which they moved prove to be revealing with regards to business as it was run in Hungary. The reconstruction of this network also allows us to identify clusters of Florentine business partners residing in Florence who were investing in Hungary by cooperating with their fellow countrymen actively present in the country. I also offer a detailed analysis of the Florentines’ use of credit in Hungary, focusing on both commercial and money credit transactions and the various forms of transactions used to run business ventures there. Finally, I examine Buda’s role as a royal seat and major trade hub from the point of view of the two major foreign trading diasporas hosted in the town, the Italian/Florentine and southern German ethnic groups. I offer a comparative analysis of their interaction and the different patterns of their social ambitions and economic activity in Buda.

Keywords: Florentine merchants, German merchants, Hungary, Buda, King Sigismund of Luxemburg, Florentine Catasto, financial administration, economic relations



Florentine merchants were present all over medieval Europe, trading in a wide range of goods, providing large loans, and holding key offices in financial administrations in several regions, including Central Europe. In this essay, I offer an overview of the patterns of their presence in medieval Hungary. In particular, I seek to explore the economic and social context provided by the Hungarian Kingdom for a relatively large number of Florentine businessmen working there, whose activity is documented in both Florentine and Hungarian sources.

The study of the activities of Florentine merchants in various geographical regions of medieval Europe looks back on a long historiographic tradition. However, for a number of reasons, in this context, Central Europe has been considered an area of less importance in the international scholarship.1 In Hungary, in contrast, the question of medieval Florentine–Hungarian relations has been a subject of interest in the scholarship from as early as the late nineteenth century. The majority of the works focusing on the topic, however, address predominantly the history of diplomatic relations, leaving out the study of economic affairs partly because of a lack of relevant source material available in Hungary at the time. However, this neglect of the socio-economic aspects of the presence in Hungary of a social cluster characterized by marked international mercantile activity today seems symptomatic of a somewhat misleading approach. Fortunately, this tendency to regard political historical analysis as the priority when addressing the topic has undergone a shift in recent decades, as evidenced by a number of recent economic historical studies.2 These inquiries lay the foundations for more thorough analyses of Florentine–Hungarian economic relations in the Hungarian historical context.

Following in the footsteps of these recent publications on the topic and, at the same time, making extensive use of new possibilities provided by the easier access to information (the result of mass digitization, processing, and the online publication of archival sources), I pursued research on the different aspects of the economic activity and social strategies of the Florentine families working in Hungary, drawing on as diverse an array of sources as possible. My research yielded a set of data, which can be regarded as unusually rich in the Central European context, as it includes written evidence from various Florentine, Hungarian, German, etc. archives. Building also on hitherto unused evidence, I explore new aspects of these businessmen’s strategies in Hungary. I also revisit some of the earlier research questions.3

My methodology is based on a comparative analysis carried out on two levels: a quantitative and qualitative one. The first is a generalized survey of the research questions from the whole data set collected in the form of a prosopographic database. The latter, the so-called micro level, consists of case studies of the activities of a few of the most characteristic and best documented families. This qualitative analysis is meant to function as a control for the results of the quantitative inquiry.4

A Word on the Sources

The prosopographic database primarily contains information from the fond of the Florentine Catasto, the documentation on the new, direct taxation system introduced in Florence in 1427.5 This is a corpus of fiscal documents, and it is homogeneous, unified, and extremely rich in information. Also, the Datini Archives of Prato were worth exploring, because a significant cluster of Prato businessmen were present in Central Europe.6 In addition, I examined the online Regesta Imperii and the digitized archival records and database of the Monasterium, looking in particular for information related to King Sigismund’s Florentine noble retainers (familiares). The data yielded by the Hungarian archival material is much smaller in quantity.7 Nevertheless, I consider these records very important complementary evidence, since the study is also intended as a comparative and complementary survey of the available Florentine fiscal sources and the rather scattered Central European records. The latter records also provide valuable evidence concerning the Florentines’ social and economic integration in this region, something not documented in the Italian archival material at all.8

This dataset, of course, could still be enlarged if further research were feasible in other rich holdings of the Florentine archives, and the project is still far from being complete. At present, the prosopographic database includes altogether 191 persons belonging to 100 Florentine families who worked or invested in Hungary. Out of this sample, 81 persons (43 families) appeared personally in the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary on at least one occasion. The database contains 31 families who had several family members (altogether 94 persons) interested in business in the territory of the kingdom, of whom 77 businessmen personally worked in the region. Where there were several family members of the same generation (basically brothers or cousins), 10 families (17 persons) are listed along with another nine families (31 persons) who stayed and established themselves in the kingdom for at least two generations. The latter two groups, altogether 19 families with 48 persons, are particularly relevant for the analysis of their attitude towards integration within the socio-economic structures they encountered in the Hungarian Kingdom.9

Florentines in the Hungarian Financial Administration

Florentine businessmen engaged in an array of activities in the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary. In all probability, the most important and best documented of these was their participation in the financial administration. In the case of the businessmen who were active in administration, we have a more complete picture of their activity, because the Florentine Catasto’s open account reported on the features of the complementary trading-banking operations, partners, and their social and economic backgrounds, and the majority of the scattered records preserved in Hungary and elsewhere in the region provide precious insights into their tasks as royal officers and noble retainers and their relations with local communities. Finally, these scattered sources sometimes corrected the picture given in the tax declarations on these merchants’ rather poor business profits in the kingdom. Therefore, I first outline and analyze the chronology of the first appearances of these merchants and their main activities in the kingdom.

Their presence was mainly tied to the collection of papal incomes and the lease and exploitation of mines for precious metals and salt until the second half of the fifteenth century. Based on the prosopography, of the 35 Florentines settled for a longer period of time in Hungary, 30 individuals (19 families) worked in the financial administration. The administration of royal revenues was a traditional field of activity for Florentine businessmen working abroad.10 The written records reveal their presence in the financial administration of a number of countries, including England, France, the German lands, and Poland. This kind of activity differed in its possibilities and duties from the work of the collectors of papal revenues.11 Unlike the collectors, who acted as part of an extended international network which also involved the great banking houses, the activity of the officers of the Hungarian royal chambers was based on their relationships as noble retainers to the chief officers, in other words, the counts of the chambers who employed them, and the leading office holders were also bound as servants to the king himself. The formation of royal monopolies required their prolonged presence in the country and their regular interaction with both the royal court and, in the case of second-level officers of the royal monopolies, also with members of the local nobility and urban clusters.12 Thus, for someone to work in the royal financial administration, it was preferable that he was continuously present in person, and it also required greater flexibility and an ability to adapt to changing conditions and increased the probability of someone settling in the chamber centers. The administrative reforms introduced by King Sigismund in 1395–97 set the framework for a mixed system of appointed officers and entrepreneurs, who managed the centralized chamber system, contrary to the previous general lease system of the chambers.13 Most of the Florentine office holders were rather officers and financial experts than entrepreneurs, especially in the case of the salt chambers and the offices of the thirtieth custom of the kingdom.14 This is confirmed by the research on the financial background of officers of Florentine origin. The information gathered is particularly revealing, as it shows that most of them, in fact, did not dispose of larger amounts of capital.15 The importance of the salt chambers is best shown by the keen participation of these businessmen in the proffered positions under the leadership of Filippo di Stefano Scolari.16 This, however, is not reflected in the Florentine Catasto entries, in which little mention is made on shipments of salt, an item generally considered a regular ware traded over long distances. Hungarian sources, on the other hand, include mentions of officers often being paid with salt, which had to be put to market.17

Many of the businessmen in the table of officers of mining and minting chambers also held offices in the salt administration on occasion.18 Sometimes, they were responsible for several offices in the same royal monopoly or even managed different monopolies at the same time. The counts of mining and minting chambers also had to fulfil local jurisdictional tasks. In a few cases, members of the same family acted in one another’s stead in the same office with royal permission, particularly in the case of the offices of salt chambers. Generally speaking, a restricted circle of leading officers of the salt and mining chambers replaced one another in the most important offices from year to year. This mobility also confirms that this replacement represented a shift in the top positions of the financial administration, and not new lease contracts.19 The only striking exceptions are the members of the Manini family, who focused almost exclusively on salt administration. This also limited their mobility, which remained confined geographically to Transylvania and the Maramureş region, where most of the salt mines were found. Transylvania seems distinctive as, at the moment, only one Florentine officer is known to have shifted offices between the salt administration and the mining and minting chambers found in that region.20

Also, the theory of business competition between southern German and Italian, mainly Florentine businessmen in the royal monopoly of precious metal mining at the turn of the fifteenth century (a theory further reinforced by the events between 1402–1403, which led to the expulsion of the Italian inhabitants of Buda and the seizure of their properties) needs to be reconsidered.21 The image of strong conflicts of interests should be revisited, particularly for Buda, in the light of new findings.22 Buda had a considerable Florentine community at the time. Citizenship in the city of Buda was also necessary for the Florentines working for the Buda minting chamber and trading in the first half of the fifteenth century. Furthermore, after 1410 Buda became the center of the royal financial administration (chambers), following King Sigismund’s centralizing reforms. The database also contains information on the appearance of southern Germans with Florentines in the royal administration, in particular on a count of the Buda minting chamber, Michael Nadler, a Buda burgher and judge and a member of the leading urban elite of southern German origin.23 He shared this office with Giovanni Noffri.24 In any case, King Sigismund’s preference to employ Florentine and southern German financial experts was probably mainly motivated by his desire to make the existing administration more efficient and draw as much liquid assets as possible from the royal monopolies.

The Buda Partnerships

The evidence concerning trade practices of Florentines in Hungary is much less representative in Hungarian archival material than the information on financial administration. Thus, the set of data provided in the 1427 Florentine Catasto of three Florentine companies with Buda as their principal seat (for the Carnesecchi–Fronte, the Melanesi, and the Panciatichi firms) is essential to any effort to obtain a more complete image of their activity and also of Buda’s position, at least in a regional context. Due to the array of information and the central position of the three partnerships in the business network of Florentines working in Hungary, social aspects and business forms are also addressed in detail. The members of the partnerships working in Hungary mostly ranked among the merchant-bankers of middling wealth in Florence. Although they worked in a less developed region, they continued involving external capital, as was general for Florentine partnerships. Their start-up and working capital rank them among the average-size partnerships in Florence.

The proportion of Hungarian and Florentine partners and clients and the volume of business could only be addressed in the case of the Carnesecchi–Fronte and Melanesi companies. Among the Florentines listed in their declarations, one most frequently comes across mention of their fellow countrymen working or investing in Buda and in Hungary in the period covered by the records. It is no surprise, of course, that the sums involved in Hungarian business by Florentines were decidedly higher than those sums, mostly debts, listed by the names of Hungarian partners. In fact, comparing the two latter Buda companies, the most striking difference seems to be with respect to the proportion of Hungarian partners and clients with the Florentines. The lists of the Melanesi brothers reveal fewer Hungarians compared to the Carnesecchi–Fronte company. The latter firm lists mainly members of the Hungarian lay aristocracy and prelates among their debtors and creditors, in some cases with larger sums, usually loans (3–400 fl), by their names. The debts and loans of the Melanesis’ Hungarian partners varied in their volume: from small loans up to 100–200 fl. The lists reveal extensive cooperation with some prominent burghers of Buda, among them Michael Nadler (144 fl) and Gregory Ferenci Gubacsi (136 fl), who was interested in cattle trade and also served as the town judge of Pest.25 They also met the needs and accepted various commissions of the guests, diplomats, and members of the royal court.26 Some of the foreigners staying at the court of Sigismund can be identified in the Florentine Catasto lists, including the Genoese Bartolomeo Mosca, legate of the duke of Milan, and Peter, the first duke of Coimbra (1392–1449), son of King John I of Portugal.27

The most important client of the Florentine investors and partnerships, although quite often identified as the worst one in their tax declarations, was King Sigismund himself, though his wife, Queen Barbara, is also mentioned a few times in the lists.28 The constant need for liquidity is well-known and fairly comprehensible in the case of Sigismund of Luxemburg, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and king of Hungary. On the other hand, the ruler’s support and his commissions were of utmost importance to these international merchant-bankers, though his changing political relations with Florence rendered circumstances unstable for them at times. The direct relation some of them (including representatives of the three stable Buda companies) managed to achieve by entering into the ruler’s service as his noble retainers notably increased the business potential of the region for them. Not surprisingly, agents of the two Buda partnerships were granted royal support for their activity in the kingdom.29 Nevertheless, as was the case among the Florentines in England prior to the bankruptcies, some of Sigismund’s “bankers,” like the Melanesi, faced serious losses against other Florentine investors involved in the Hungarian business, in all probability partly due to delayed or neglected rendering of the loans provided for the king.30 The ruler seems to have compensated them for their losses in some way or another, but their legal situation back home was worsened by these circumstances. The rather negative, somewhat one-sided picture of him as a client in the Florentine Catasto’s open accounts can probably be ascribed to these difficulties.31 However, some Hungarian archival records also preserved mentions of transactions in which the debts owed to the Florentines were settled by King Sigismund.32 According to these records, the payments were usually fulfilled by pledging royal revenues, like that of the yearly gift of royal free towns, to settle smaller loans, or salt was allocated for the settling of larger loans. In other cases possessions, sometimes including towns, were pledged with the restraint of redemption.33

Among the Florentine investors present with their capital in Hungary, a few businessmen of medium or higher wealth were identified.34 Their investments were distinctive, as they were present in Hungary with different investment forms at the same time: a common pattern is that, in addition to investing in the Buda companies, they apparently also employed their own agent in the kingdom.35 As we saw above, the aim may have been to keep the proportion of long term and more liquid investments balanced.

The highest ranking Florentine investor entrepreneurs and partnerships in the Hungarian market disposed of sizeable amounts of capital.36 They were investing in the Florentine companies of Buda, but their investments made in Hungary were not high compared to their funds in other, more developed geographical regions. Hungary attracted them with its stock of precious metals and salt, and may also have served as a secondary market to attenuate investment risks. In case of disputes abroad between Florentine citizens, they could turn for legal decision to the court of the Mercanzia of Florence.37 This was also true for Florentine business partners in connection with their common business ventures in Hungary. The Florentines were also supported by their urban government. In cases involving business problems in foreign lands, Florentine diplomacy moved on behalf of its citizens.38 Of course, when the ruler was the debtor, these efforts were not always effective.

The participation of some medium and small-scale investors, mostly belonging to the kin group or neighborhood of other Florentine businessmen working in the kingdom, is a clear indication of solidarity within the kinship network, a strategy particularly characteristic in Florentine economic context explicitly in the cluster of medium and small-scale entrepreneurs.39

Transaction Types and Volumes

Another question addressed by the research concerns the volume of these transactions, or more precisely, whether the rate of commercial and money credits is also reflected in their volume. Of course, Hungary lacked intensive circulation of money. As was observed in the analysis of the transaction types, commercial credit was more prevalent than money credit.40 Both credit types were risky due to lack of necessary capital on the side of most of the potential local Hungarian or German business partners. Interests, however, were clearly higher than in Italy in the same period, which made such transactions favorable despite the relatively high risks they involved.41 The high number of Florentine crediting partners can mainly be ascribed to the general tendency of diminishing risks not really by contract enforcement, but mainly by making a greater number of lower investments in different companies working in different regions at the same time. Also, the fact that their clients were primarily members of the lay aristocracy or part of the royal court (including the ruler himself) implies that they needed to gather major capital, be it money credit or, in most cases, commercial credit, and thus a broader base of partners and external investors provided the required assets.

The number of transactions carried out between Florentine–Hungarian business partners compared to that of Florentine–Florentine partners participating in business in Hungary confirms at the outset the predominance of the latter (44 transactions versus 237). This can only partly be explained by the motivation of Florentines to hide the transactions that were difficult for the otherwise very thorough Florentine taxation authorities to verify. Clearly, references to Hungarian or local partners in Hungary could be easily avoided if the Florentines chose to do so, blaming differing regional uses of contracting business and the general lack of literacy in trade in Hungary.42 This is somewhat contested by information found in the correspondence of Florentine chamber officers among themselves in Hungary, because here one finds references to debtors and even mention of accountant books.43 However, one must also take into account that the data used by the Florentine fiscal authorities were provided primarily by Florentine investors in Florence whose direct business partners were mainly Florentines working in Hungary and who, therefore, rarely had detailed information concerning their partners’ local business contacts, nor presumably considered it worthwhile to enter these data into the tax returns. Only in a few cases, particularly in the tax returns of Florentine entrepreneurs who employed their own agents in the region, are names of Hungarian persons listed, although usually they are registered jointly as Hungarian debtors.44

To sum up, I identified a rather restricted circle of local partners in the records. Clearly, the number of Florentine partners collaborating to meet the demand for luxury goods among a narrow circle of local clients (mainly members of the lay aristocracy and the ecclesiastical elite) was higher than that of the local partners. Also, transaction types need to be addressed, although again in a rather limited way, because details concerning transactions are sporadic in the source material. Altogether, the information on the Florentines’ crediting activity found in the Florentine tax returns provides hitherto unknown details both on the volume of cargo and the business and banking techniques applied among the Florentines to supply the Hungarian market. The general lack of references to bills of exchange in the Florentine sources (and a similar absence of references in the Hungarian records) and the extremely few banking operations also clearly indicate the limits to international trade and banking, given the lower level of development in the region.45 At this point, however, one must also emphasize Venice’s role as a banking center and seat of branches of Florentine banking houses, which basically covered the transfer of ecclesiastical revenues, a traditional business of Florentines in Europe.46

Florentines and Southern Germans in Buda: A Comparative Analysis

The gradually developing database showed the clear regional geographical preferences of the Florentines in the Kingdom of Hungary and in Central Europe on a wider, regional scale, and thus led to the conclusion that the presence itself of the Florentines and also the shifts in the intensity of their presence in the regional hubs of Central Europe may be of interest and would yet position the Kingdom of Hungary, and especially Buda, within a regional context. For this reason, I examine the main features of Florentine diasporas in the region, with particular emphasis on Buda.47

Italian merchants in Buda aimed to supply the demand for luxury goods for the whole Hungarian market in this period.48 In Buda by the late fourteenth century, however, they confronted a new, fully integrated German elite (mainly coming from Nuremberg, although there were Buda burghers from Basel, Passau, Vienna etc. in lesser numbers), which in the meantime took over the leadership of the town. They replaced the former, fourteenth-century urban elites, which had been rather passive in long-distance trade but were at the same time eager to integrate into the Hungarian nobility in the most important urban offices.49

As shown above, the theory of conflict among German and Italian merchants in the town has been interpreted as the result of business competition. However, in the context of Buda, the ambitions and business targets of the two ethnic groups and the strategies they developed to meet them seem to have been complementary rather than contrasting when it came to trade.

From the information gathered so far, it seems that rather than competing with each other, the Italians and southern Germans of Buda divided the fields of operation among themselves. The Germans’ activity mainly focused on the sale of lower-value wools, even those coming from northern Italy (Verona), whereas trade in luxury goods and prestigious textiles was “left” to the Italian businessmen with major financial potential. The Florentines were able to provide the necessary capital for such trade by involving homeland investors, using well-developed banking techniques, and, finally, taking advantage of the extensive business networks within which they operated. They were also active in providing large loans, not only to the ruler, but to the members of the Hungarian aristocracy and to foreigners visiting the Hungarian royal court, as one sees in the case of the Buda companies.50 The sources on their business activity reveal the use of occasional banking services in the form of assignments and bills of exchange carried out mainly for prominent foreigners sojourning at the court.

Both Germans and Italians in Buda were interested in the operations related to royal monopolies.51 Here too, the sources indicate cooperation among members of the two ethnic groups in Buda. The Italians still focused closely on the business of the sale of copper and salt and on the lease of the Slavonian thirtieth customs. All the officials operating in this field were noble retainers, that is, servants of the king, assessed usually as a rather medieval feature of the financial administration,52 which implied a personal relationship to King Sigismund of Luxemburg. Out of 12 noble retainers of Florentine origin, six certainly had Buda citizenship as well.

According to the Buda Town Law (Ofner Stadtrecht), retail trade or shop keeping in the territory of the town was only granted to the citizens of Buda, who also paid a tax for the right to sell merchandize.53 This norm, which most probably existed in earlier decades, made urban citizenship essential for wealthy foreign merchants from the late fourteenth century onwards. Therefore, most of both the Italians and southern Germans in Buda acquired citizenship of the town. As citizenship required possession of real estate, many of them also had houses, gardens, vineyards etc. within the town walls. Looking only at the Florentines, in the 1420s, at least 30 businessmen (belonging to 25 families) were Buda citizens based on the prosopographic database.

For the German elite of Buda, however, real estate may also have played a notable role in trade transactions. As these families frequently lacked the necessary capital for long distance trade in wool or cattle, these possessions may have also served as mortgage items for business operations. Although the medieval archives of Buda were destroyed, the existence of so-called Verbotbücher seems to be plausible based on analogy with other towns in the region engaged in the same sort of trade.54 Such operations were, in fact, inserted in the Verbotbücher of Pozsony (Pressburg, today Bratislava, Slovakia) and Vienna in order to cover the potential losses of the investors.55

The Germans tended to integrate into the local urban community. However, even their integration seems to be somewhat odd, as they were not keen to marry into Buda’s patrician families, whether they were from the former German elites of Regensburg origin or the developing Hungarian elites. In fact, the Germans preferred to establish family ties with members of the German elite in other Hungarian towns, particularly those involved in their business network, such as Pozsony, Vienna, Crakow, and especially Nuremberg, their hometown. In this respect, the southern Germans’ presence and social network has a marked regional character in Central Europe.56 As opposed to their marriage policies, the members of the southern German elite in Buda were very active politically. In fact, they were present in the town council and almost “monopolized” the office of the town judge in 1403–39.57

In the case of the southern Germans, not much changed over the course of the fifteenth century: their presence in Buda and in the economic life of the kingdom was continuous, with a greater number of newcomers observed in the 1470s. Later, the southern German trade houses, such as the Welser and Fugger from Augsburg, also established permanent agents in Buda.58 These German firms with their substantial capital finally set up real competition for the Italians, first in the field of tithe collection, which they took over in the Habsburg territories from the Italians,59 and then in Hungary particularly in the management of mining chambers.60 The Germans of Buda also provided supplies for the royal court on some occasions, although still at a lower volume compared to the Italians according to András Kubinyi, who analyzed the average value of their shipments in the accountancy of the royal court.61

Italians, in contrast, even if they were wealthy merchants or their established agents living and working in Buda for decades, rarely married into the local urban community. Most of them had left their families in their homeland and did not settle permanently in Buda.62 Accordingly, they did not directly participate in Buda’s urban government either, but tried to maintain good relations with the leading German and, later, also Hungarian merchants of the town.63 In the few cases of marriage alliances into local families, they mainly chose spouses from the nobility.

In any case, Buda seems to be the only Central European center which was targeted by flows of both the southern German and Florentine merchant diasporas from the last decades of the fourteenth century and throughout the fifteenth century. Therefore Buda can be perceived as a kind of borderline regional urban center, where direct contacts and on occasion even cooperation were documented between these two foreign merchant communities, which dominated regional trade and which did not appear to have had direct contacts elsewhere, except for Venice.64

Although Venice with its Fondaco dei Tedeschi and large Florentine community could and did function as such a trade hub, the Serenissima, as an intermediary center for long-distance trade, does not seem to have been considered sufficient to seek, find, and finally cover the increasing demands and possibilities provided by Central Europe during the reign of King Sigismund. One must also consider the city’s serious conflicts of interest with King Sigismund. Buda, in my understanding, must have benefited greatly from this controversy. The Florentine diaspora in Venice (the only institutionalized Florentine colony in the region), therefore, played a crucial role in promoting the area’s business possibilities, and the Venetian branches of Florentine banking houses provided the necessary banking facilities for trade in the region.65

Florentines in Central Europe

At this point of my inquiry, I look at the social economic patterns of the presence of Florentines in Central Europe in a relatively broad time framework, lasting from the early fourteenth century up to the end of sixteenth century. Except for Venice, no institutionalized Florentine colony seems to have been established in the region in the period in question, and the records indicate very few cases of exogamy or integration.66 Also, geographically Central Europe is considered here for the purposes of this investigation in a rather broad sense to include Ragusa (today Dubrovnik, Croatia) (which during most of fifteenth century was under nominal Hungarian overlordship and which had a significant Florentine community within its walls) to the south, Poland (primarily Crakow) to the north, and Wrocław, Vienna, and Nuremberg to the west.67

Ethnic provenance appearing in urban toponyms, like the vicus latinorum, platea italicorum etc., was present in several towns, although the case of Buda shows that this alone must not be overestimated as a crucial indicator for ethnic clustering of Italians and particularly Florentines in late medieval urban centers of Central Europe.68 However, it does suggest a relatively dense presence of Italians in the given urban environment in a certain (probably early) phase of urban evolution. Therefore, other factors, like use of language, political representation in urban community etc., must be evaluated as possible indicators of a more precise assessment of the possible presence of Florentine or Italian diasporas in the regional centers.

In contrast with Buda, the Latin community of Zagreb (also an important hub for Italians along the main inland trade route), which had formed earlier (beginning at the end of the thirteenth century) and was made up primarily of Italians (mainly Florentines) disposing of lesser assets (and including many artisans), seems to have been clearly identified as an ethnic cluster within the urban community.69 The Latins of Zagreb also aspired to acquire and acquired urban political representation as the town’s Latin nation in a peak period, which lasted from the last decades of the fourteenth century to the first half of the fifteenth century. This may be interpreted as a conscious endeavor on their part to participate and also to integrate into the local urban community, which is further confirmed by the higher number of marriage alliances with local families from other ethnic clusters of the town. Of course, limits to a comparative analysis again are set by the available sources, which differ both in their quality and quantity from place to place.

The notion of the Florentine diaspora as a diaspora’s diaspora based on geographical distance (Buda–Zagreb–and ultimately Venice) is an intriguing idea. However, one must take into consideration that in both Venice and Buda rather large-scale and medium-scale Florentine merchants were present, whereas Zagreb’s Italian community hosted mainly Florentines of a lower social and economic standing, more keen on integrating, particularly compared to the Florentines of Buda. Of course, there was a number of Florentines who figured in both or all three of these urban centers. Thus, their mobility can also be understood as a distinctive feature of a diaspora within a diaspora, but this question needs further research.70

Another point in favor of Buda’s rise as a regional trade hub can be ascribed to King Sigismund and the royal court’s definite establishment in the city. When addressing the factor played by the royal court in Buda, one must also emphasize Sigismund of Luxemburg’s rise to the position of emperor. Thus, Buda hosted the imperial aula from time to time and became a European political-representational center and thus must have generated an increasing presence of Florentines in the city. Neither Vienna, nor Prague, nor any other town in Central Europe assumed a position of such prominence in the fifteenth century. Buda also disposed of an international trade deposit and market hall, a Nyder lag as it was called in the Ofner Stadtrecht.71 The town’s staple rights, however, were from time to time weakened by similar privileges acquired by neighboring towns along the main trade routes in the early fifteenth century. The information on the three Florentine partnerships with seats in Buda in the 1420s (analyzed at length in the previous paragraphs) makes Buda the only Central European trading center with such an intensive Florentine presence in this period. The next town to host a Florentine company was Nuremberg (the earliest reference to this dates back to 1512).72 The presence of Florentine partnerships in Crakow also dates to the sixteenth century.73

Social and Economic Strategies of Florentine Families Working in Hungary

Eight families (Panciatichi, Buondelmonti, Manini, Attavanti, Melanesi, del Rosso, Lamberteschi, Capponi) were selected for the qualitative survey for a number of reasons. First, they represent a cross-section of Florentine merchant families from the perspectives of wealth and social standing.74 The Panciatichi family was taxed as one of the wealthiest families in Florence at the time. The Buondelmonti family had a high social status but a somewhat weakened financial situation at the time of their stay in Hungary. The Manini and Attavanti families were the last families recorded in the Florentine Catasto of 1427 as miserabile, with no taxable wealth at all. I focused on the role that the closer and extended family played in the activity of the Florentine businessmen working in the Kingdom of Hungary in the first half of the fifteenth century. I also investigated the extent and characteristics of cooperation among the members of a family belonging to both the same and consecutive generations, and I compared these features to the business organization of Florentine merchant families operating in their homeland.

In families involved in trade and credit activity in the kingdom, very often members of two generations cooperated. The father was the commissioner and owner of the goods, while the sons played the roles of agents, travelers, or resident agents. This was true in the case of both the Lamberteschi and the Panciatichi families. In the case of the Panciatichi partnership, the extended family was represented by Filippo di Simone Capponi, Giovanni di Bartolomeo’s Panciatichi’s brother-in-law, who worked as a salaried agent settled in Buda.75 Another example of members of a Florentine extended family jointly running a company in Hungary is provided by the Melanesi brothers, Simone and Tommaso. They resided in Buda, but were in partnership with their uncle, Filippo di Filippo, who remained in Florence. They also involved other members of the wider lineage, men like Melanese di Ridolfo Melanesi, in their business operations.76

Altogether, the solidarity of the Florentine families was realized in different ways in Hungary compared to their homeland, where business competition was much more intense. As the case of the Attavanti family shows, the solidarity and cooperation of the family found manifestation in several different ways. The separate fiscal declarations of the brothers Cristofano and Leonardo suggest two separate households. However, the fact that the younger children and the widowed mother also moved to Hungary suggests that probably both brothers supported them, and that the two separate fiscal households still formed an integral economic unit.77

The examples cited above show brothers staying together in a common household with their families and apparently running their business together and sharing the profit, the financial potential, and also the risks, regardless of their actual financial situation. This pattern is very different from the practice of merchant families operating in Florence. The few cases of integration, on the other hand, show full adaptation to the local community, be it urban or noble. In cases of integration into the nobility, there clearly was a tendency to give up previous activities, linked mainly to financial administration.

In the very few cases of ennoblement, the relationships of businessmen to the king and the types of services rendered to King Sigismund were crucial.78 In the case of families acquiring nobility and estates, their joint possession also secured the perpetuation of the estate for subsequent generations of the kin group, even if one of the ennobled branches became extinct. The case study proposed on Niccoló Buondelmonti’s settlement and integration into the Hungarian landed aristocracy in 1440, long after Scolari’s death and also after King Sigismund’s death, proves that the Buondelmonti kin group’s success cannot be ascribed solely to their family ties to the Scolaris. The Hungarian branch of the Florentine Buondelmonti family, however, became extinct after two generations, but the large estates in their possession from the Lévai and Treutel families were subject to long legal debates between the son of Peter Lévai Cseh on one side and Paul Herceg of Szekcső on the other.79

On the basis of our present knowledge, the majority of Florentines who settled in the Kingdom of Hungary lived in urban society. Leaving aside Buda for the moment, other towns can be identified as permanent or temporary residences of Florentines in the first half of the fifteenth century, among them mostly mining, minting, and trade centers, particularly Transylvanian Saxon towns. The Transylvanian towns, particularly the Saxon towns, which enjoyed notable autonomy from the late fourteenth century onwards, seem to have offered a particularly favorable context for urban integration for Florentines in Hungary.80 Thus, a few of them established themselves and integrated into local families of local leading elites through marriage in the Saxon communities of these towns. They had houses and estates in the most important local towns, and in a few cases we can trace the activity of their descendants in the area through the fifteenth century.81 Two of them, Cristoforo Italicus and Zanobi de Florentia, counts of the salt chambers at Vízakna (today Ocna Sibiului, Romania), were selected as examples of successful integration into urban community in Hungary. This time, the Hungarian source material served as the point of departure.82 These records at least revealed that they were brothers, and they also mentioned another count of chamber called Pero de Rassys.83 The identification of the family they belonged to was not possible exclusively on the basis of the Hungarian sources. Fortunately, the Florentine Catasto records provided necessary information to retrace them in Florence as members of the Del Rosso family. Their situation is somewhat similar to that of other Florentine families working in financial administration: more family members worked in Hungary due to the family’s weakened economic situation back in Florence according to their tax return (which was submitted collectively), except for one brother, Guido. The del Rosso family ranked among the guild consular families in Florence. Rosso, the father, held consular office nine times, and was interested in building constructions in the Tuscan city and producing kiln products.84 After his death, some of the altogether seven brothers sought business activity abroad, like Francesco di Rosso di Piero Rosso, the householder and eldest brother of all, who went to Rome and later to Naples. Another brother, whose name is not specified, was in Hungary working in the service of other Florentines in 1427.85 Cristoforo appears in the Hungarian sources only in 1438 for the first time, as count of the chamber of salt of Vízakna in the service of Matko Tallóci.86 In the Florentine records he is first mentioned to be in Hungary only in 1442.87 Among Cristoforo’s brothers, Zanobi appears in Hungary for the first time in 1442, while the earliest mention of his brother Giovanni having been in the city dates to 1469.88 Back in Florence, he also held the office of Prior twice (1442, 1456), and he served as guild consul for six terms.89 His apparent ambition to integrate notwithstanding, Cristoforo maintained contact with Florence to an extent that he even submitted his tax declaration in 1457, at least thirty years after his arrival to Hungary.90 The same seems to be confirmed by the fact that he and his brothers kept a few possessions in Florence until at least 1480. Cristoforo’s business interests were not restricted to his obligations of managing royal monopolies. In fact, he also had business activity in Venice, but he put it as a loss. His son Paul (Pagolo) appears in the family tree drawn by Goldthwaite.91 Zanobi’s wife Anna was daughter to Nicholas son of Ivan of Rakovica, a nobleman and estate owner in the neighborhood of Nagyszeben (Hermannstadt, today Sibiu, Romania). The family, known also as Zanobii in Nagyszeben, definitely settled in the city and was the forebear of the prominent Proll family, among them the renowned Nicholas Proll of Nagyszeben, who controlled the Transylvanian mint and in the 1490s also the salt chambers.92

Excursion: An Unrevealed Aspect of Florentine–Hungarian Economic Relations

Finally, my research on Florentine–Hungarian economic relations quite unexpectedly also shed light on the migration of skilled and unskilled craftsmen from Central Europe towards the Tuscan city. This was surprising, since it is only rarely documented and not in much detail.93 From the very isolated information, however, vague evidence of solidarity and cooperation among the Hungarians in Florence can be assumed, although it never matched the extent of solidarity among Germans, with its sophisticated organizational forms around lay confraternities. In fact, in a subsequent period, apparently the German speaking immigrants coming from Hungary tended to join the institutions of Germans in the Tuscan city, and this leads to the conclusion that German speaking persons from Hungary may be hidden among the householders identified as Germans in the Florentine Catasto of 1427. This phenomenon also led to another, completely new point, namely the question of levels of self-identification of members of the multiethnic and multilingual communities of Central Europe. This question is particularly interesting considering the foreign environment in which these Central European immigrants defined themselves, because this foreign context lacked an important aspect, namely the points of reference which the homeland multiethnic community provided to establish clearly the position of the people in the local context. Thus, in Florence these immigrants used a whole range of levels of self-identification, from the wider-closer geographical provenance, be it the home town or the wider geo-political unit, namely the Kingdom of Hungary, to ethnic affiliation and spoken language. The identification sometimes seems vague, although the sparse related information in the Florentine Catasto shows the prevailing use of geographical affiliation, whereas in other, later cases found in recent scholarly literature it seems to be clearly driven by conscious use of possibilities provided by Florentine urban organizations for foreign artisans. This may not be closely connected to the main research question, but it could be perceived as a starting point for a future inquiry to identify the main features of the other extremes (be it both the destination and the social cluster involved in it) of diasporas in late medieval Europe.


Altogether, both the quantitative data set and the case studies confirm that a large number of Florentines targeted the Kingdom of Hungary during the reign of King and Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg. Most of them were keen on working in the royal financial administration, as their fellow countrymen did in other regions of contemporary Europe. Sigismund’s constant need for liquid assets certainly played a crucial role in the decision to employ them. However, when taking a closer look at these Florentines’ financial backgrounds in Florence, one finds that most of them did not belong to the social cluster of the wealthiest merchants in the Tuscan city. Some of them disposed of rather humble financial assets but still operated within a large and efficient business network created by the Florentines in general. Thus, they could involve external investors to gather larger amounts of capital for their transactions when needed. Also, the Florentine officers’ vast knowledge of financial operations, their ability to adapt to various local socio-economic contexts, and their mobility rendered their services useful to the ruler, who himself gradually fulfilled his high aspirations by finally being crowned Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1433.

Florentine archival records also confirm the existence of extensive trading activity on the part of Florentines in Hungary, at least in the case of some better documented Florentine officers working for the Buda companies. The information on the volume and forms of their activity in Hungary is not preserved in Hungarian documents. Due to the comparative backwardness of the region, other classical fields of operation, particularly banking, were not present among their operations in Hungary. The Venice branches of Florentine banking houses mostly covered such transactions for the region. However, three major trading partnerships formed by middle and even large-scale merchants were active in Buda in the 1420s, a presence not yet verified for any other urban center of Central Europe. Also, the members of companies had close ties to the royal and even imperial court of the ruler, whose court rendered Buda an urban center of utmost importance. In fact, in one case the company’s apparent bankruptcy is clearly linked to their loans provided to the ruler, and this is a clear sign of the higher business risks in the region. The Florentines, however, were compensated with higher interest rates for the risks they ran in Hungary. When considering the major forms of loans, commercial credit prevailed, and during the analysis of business partners of Florentines related to transactions in Hungary, the number of Florentine partners is higher, whereas the circle of local partners is much more limited. This suggests business operations involving several Florentine investors with a small number of Hungarian clients.

Buda’s two major trading diasporas, the southern German and the Italian, cooperated in the royal financial administration, and when it came to trade they met differing demands, the Italians mainly shipping luxury goods, while southern Germans merchandized lower-value cloth, primarily for urban customers. This difference in the fields of interest shaped their relations with the local urban community and their ways of integration, but their presence rendered Buda the only Central European urban center that functioned as a long-term direct meeting point for the two trading ethnic clusters most active in long-distance trade in the region. Finally, the migration of artisans from the Kingdom of Hungary to Florence reveals unexpected aspects of migration of humbler clusters, like the complexity of layers of self-identification and identification of artisans coming from the colorful Central European region to the Tuscan city.



Archival sources

Archivio di Stato di Firenze (=ASF, The State Archives of Florence)

Archivio del Catasto.

Online Catasto of 1427. Version 1.3. Edited by David Herlihy, Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, R. Burr Litchfield, and Anthony Molho. [Machine readable data file based on D. Herlihy and C. Klapisch-Zuber, Census and Property Survey of Florentine Domains in the Province of Tuscany, 1427–1480.] Florentine Renaissance Resources/STG: Brown University, Providence, R.I, 2002. Accessed May 15, 2016. www.stg.brown.edu/projects/Catasto/overview.


Archivio di Stato di Prato

Fondo Datini.

Accessed May 15, 2016. http://datini.archiviodistato.prato.it/www/query.html.


Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár Országos Levéltára (=MNL OL, Hungarian National Archives)

Diplomatikai Levéltár (=DL, Medieval Charter Collection).

Diplomatikai Fényképtár (=DF, Photograph Collection of Charters).

The digitized version of the Medieval Charter Collection is accessible online. Accessed June 15, 2016. http://archives.hungaricana.hu/hu/charters/.


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1 Braudel, “L’Italia fuori Italia,” 2109–10; de Roover, The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank, 201–02, 448, footnote 25; Kellenbenz, “Gli operatori economici italiani,” 333–57; Dini, “L’economia fiorentina,” 632–55; Budak, “I fiorentini nella Slavonia,” 681–95; Raukar, “I fiorentini in Dalmazia,” 657–80.

2 Huszti, Olasz–magyar kereskedelmi kapcsolatok, in particular Zsuzsa Teke’s studies on Florentine–Hungarian commercial relations: Teke, “Az 1427. évi firenzei catasto,” 42–49; idem, “Firenzei üzletemberek Magyarországon,” 129–51, 135–37; idem, “Firenzei kereskedőtársaságok,” 195–214; idem, “A firenzeiek vagyoni helyzete,” 55–59; Teke, “Operatori economici fiorentini in Ungheria,” 697–707; Draskóczy, “Olaszok,” 125–35; Draskóczy, “Adósjegyzék,” 93–113.

3 Arany, “Success and Failure,” 101–23; idem, ”Prozopográfiai adattár,” 483–549; idem, “Firenzei–magyar,” 277–96; idem, “Generations,” 133–40; idem, “Apák, fiúk,” 157–91; idem, “Magyarországi hitelezésre,” 165–77; Recently also see Prajda, “Florentine Merchant Companies”. Prajda primarily reports the results of earlier scholarly literature, using the methodology of other recently published articles, but she also utilizes complementary information on the activity of the Panciatichi in Buda.

4 Arany, “Florentine Families.” To be published with Solivagus. Forthcoming.

5 Archivio di Stato di Firenze (hereafter: ASF), Archivio del Catasto. On the Catasto see Herlihy and Klapisch-Zuber, I toscani e le loro famiglie. The Index of the study by Herlihy–Klapisch is accessible online: Online Catasto of 1427.

6 See the digitized online version of the Datini Archives. On the Archives see Dini, “L’Archivio Datini,” 199–208. On Prato merchants in Central Europe see Fiumi, Movimento urbanistico e classi sociali, 433–35; Nuti, “Un mercante pratese in Ungheria,” 1–8. On the Prato community in medieval Dubrovnik see also Bettarini, “I fiorentini all’estero ed il catasto del 1427,” 37–64; idem, La comunitá pratese di Ragusa; idem, “La diaspora dalmata,” 41–56.

7 Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár Országos Levéltára (=MNL OL, National Archives of Hungary), Diplomatikai Levéltár (=DL, Medieval Charter Collection); MNL OL, Diplomatikai Fényképtár (=DF, Photograph Collection of Charters). The digitized version of the Medieval Charter Collection is accessible online: Collectio Diplomatica Hungarica: A középkori Magyarország levéltári forrásainak adatbázisa (Collectio Diplomatica Hungarica: The Database of the Archival Sources on Medieval Hungary). On the database see Rácz, “Collectio Diplomatica Hungarica: Medieval Hungary online,” 423–45.

8 See an earlier, less detailed version of the database in Arany, “Prozopográfiai adattár.” A more recent and extended version is included in Arany, “Florentine Families.”

9 Arany, “Florentine Families,” Appendix 1.

10 On Florentines in the state finances of England, France, Tyrol, and Poland see: Goldthwaite, The Economy, 230–36. For Germany, see Weissen, “Florentiner Kaufleute,” 368–69.

11 Dini, Saggi su una economia-mondo.

12 Weisz, “Entrate reali e politica economica,” 205–13.

13 Draskóczy, “A sóigazgatás 1397. esztendei reformjáról,” 289.

14 MNL OL DF 269 226. Jan. 24, 1388. Quoted in Weisz, Vásárok és lerakatok, 91.

15 See also Arany, “Versatile profecto”, forthcoming; Arany, “Florentine Families,” Table 3.

16 Wenzel, Ozorai Pipo; Engel, “Ozorai Pipo,” 53–89; on his offices see idem, Magyarország világi archontológiája, II/180. Recently see Prajda, “The Florentine Scolari Family,” 513–33.

17 MNL OL DL 55 413. September 28, 1445.

18 Arany, “Florentine Families,” Tables 2–4, 44–46, 48–50. Recently also Arany, “Versatile profecto,” Appendix, Tables 1–3.

19 Arany, “Versatile profecto,” 6.

20 See Antonio di Francesco Zati MNL OL DL 65 058. Feb. 14, 1444; MNL OL DL 36 407. Dec. 4, 1455. Draskóczy, “Olaszok,” 126, 130.

21 On the competition between Florentines and southern Germans see: von Stromer, Oberdeutsche Hochfinanz 1350–1450; idem, “Das Zusammenspiel Oberdeutscher und Florentiner Geldleute,” 79–87; Mályusz, Zsigmond király uralma Magyarországon, 162–64; 175–79; in German see idem, Kaiser Sigismund in Ungarn. On the 1402–1403 events in Buda, see Engel, The Realm of St. Stephen, 262.

22 Draskóczy, “Kamarai jövedelem,” 158–59, Arany, “Success and Failure,” 101–23.

23 ASF, Catasto 1427, 46. Tomo I. fol. 654r.

24 Arany, “Versatile profecto,” Appendix, Table 1.

25 Kubinyi, “Budapest története a későbbi középkorban,” 72–73; Draskóczy, “Kamarai jövedelem,” 159.

26 There is a list of foreign persons sojourning at the royal court of Buda from 1412. MNL OL DL 39 277. Published in Zsigmondkori Oklevéltár (hereafter ZsO) III/no. 2224. May 1412.

27 ASF, Catasto 1427, 46. Tomo I, fol. 654r.

28 Teke, “Firenzei kereskedőtársaságok,” 202. MNL OL DL 71 750. Sept. 30, 1413. Mentioned also in Draskóczy, “Kapy András,” 161–62. See also Arany, “Generations,” 133–40.

29 See the grant issued by King Sigismund in Buda, Oct. 30, 1423 to Filippo di Simone Capponi and Zanobi Panciatichi employed by the Panciatichi Company and Antonio di Piero Fronte for the Carnesecchi–Fronte company. See RI XI, 1 no. 5667, in Regesta Imperii Online.

30 Arany, “Florentine Families,” 73.

31 See the quotations on King Sigismund’s being a bad debtor in Arany, “Florentine Families,” 82–83.

32 A 1413 record issued by Sigismund and preserved only in an eighteenth-century copy offers an interesting example of such transactions. Three Florentine merchants mentioned in the document, a certain “Balzarth filius condam Iohannis Fresingii, Nicolaus Baldovinÿ, Philippus de Palacio,” provided a loan of eight thousand florins to the king, who, to settle the account, ordered Andreas Kapy, deputy count of the salt chamber, to consign the Florentines salt in payment. MNL OL DL 71 750. Sept. 30, 1413. Mentioned also in Draskóczy, “Kapy András,” 161–62. For Florentine sources on the merchants mentioned in the record see Arany, “Florentine Families,” 86.

33 Already in the fourteenth century, Louis of Bavaria and Charles IV followed the same financial path. On imperial finances and the pledge of towns etc., see Isenmann, “Reichsfinanzen und Reichssteuern,” 1–17. The same policy may be observed in Hungary during King Sigismund’s reign, see Ulrich, “Geldpolitik und Geldverkehr,” 121–22. See also Incze, “My Kingdom in Pledge”; Lederer, A középkori pénzüzletek.

34 Giovanni di messer Niccoló Falcucci, ASF. Catasto 1427, 53. fol.1094r–1097r; Giovanni di Iacopo Baldovini – Giovanni di Iacopo dal Borgo – Zanobi di Piero di Monte, ASF, Catasto 1427, 62. fol. 342r-v.

35 Antonio di Filippo di Piero Rinieri hired Bernardo di Sandro Talani, who brought and merchandized luxury goods in the kingdom on a regular basis. Antonio di Filippo di Piero Rinieri, ASF, Catasto 1427, 60. fol. 52r–58r. Tommaso Borghini’s employee was Filippo Frescobaldi, who on his turn worked together with Gianozzo di Vanni Cavalcanti, a fellow countryman active in Hungary too. From time to time, these investors sent cargoes also to the stable Florentine companies of Buda. Tommaso di Domenico Borghini, ASF. Catasto 1427, 29. fol. 666r; Filippo di Amerigo Frescobaldi, ASF, Catasto 1427, 17. fol. 577r, fol. 775r.

36 Domenico di Antonio Allegri, ASF, Catasto 1427, 46. fol. 453r–457r; Giovanni di Bicci di Medici, ASF, Catasto 1427, 49. fol. 1165r, fol. 1167r; Niccoló and Tommaso di Lorenzo Soderini ASF, Catasto 1427, 25. fol. 456r–458v; Ridolfo Peruzzi and compagni banchieri ASF. Catasto 1427, 35.1352r; Francesco and Simone Tornabuoni, ASF, Catasto 1427, 46. fol. 901v, fol. 905r, fol. 906r.

37 ASF, Archivio della Mercanzia (hereafter: ASF, Mercanzia). On the Mercanzia see Bonolis, La giurisdizione della Mercanzia; Astorri, La Mercanzia a Firenze.

38 See the report by the Florentine legate to King Sigismund, Piero di Luigi Guicciardini, on the reprisals against Florentines in Buda, MNL OL DF 289 088. April 21, 1428, and on Guicciardini’s efforts to mediate peace negotiations between Venice and King Sigismund, see RI XI,2 n. 7148, in Regesta Imperii Online. See also ASF, Signori–Carteggi, Missive, I. Cancelleria 33. fol. 116–17. Letter by King Sigismund to the Florentine Government on the detention of Florentines staying in Buda, denying that financial reasons lay behind the arrests and confiscation of goods. ZsO III/no. 3131. April 19. 1404. See the answer of the Florentine Comune to the king ibid. no. 3304. July 11, 1404; see also Dini, Saggi su una economia-mondo; Teke, “Firenze külpolitikája,” 559–68.

39 Arany, “Apák, fiúk,” 170–71. On cooperation among Florentines abroad see Bruscoli, “The Network of Florentine Merchant-Banking Companies.” See also Tanzini and Tognetti, “Mercatura è arte”.

40 Arany, “Magyarországi hitelezésre,” 171.

41 Concerning credits, interest rates around 10% were generally adopted in Hungary, a rather high premium compared to the situation in Italy, where it only run to 5–7%, which probably made it attractive to invest in the region, but of course it involved major business risks. Goldthwaite, The Economy, 438–39. Melis, Documenti, 77; on the interest rates of deposits see Spufford, Money and its Use, 261. For more on Hungary in that period see Lederer, A középkori pénzüzletek, 67.

42 Portata of Giovanni di Niccoló (Falcucci): ASF, Catasto, 53. fol. 1096v. See also Arany, “Florentine Families,” 15.

43 Letter by Agnolo de Bardi to Papi Manini: MNL OL DL 44 496. Nov. 29, 1447: MNL OL DL 44 495. Dec. 26, 1447: “e pero voi avette chosta il libro de debitori.” One of the few surviving records on Florentines’ local crediting activity in Hungary, in addition to the Buda partnerships’ lists, is the debtor lists of the Manini, compiled in 1463, see Draskóczy, “Adósjegyzék,” 93–113.

44 Domenico di Antonio Allegri, ASF Catasto 1427, filza 46. Tomo I. fol. 457r. “debitori levati dal libro h perduti i quali non stimo niente.”

45 Arany, “Magyarországi hitelezésre,” 175.

46 On the role of Venice and the Venetian branches of Florentine banking houses see de Roover, The Rise and Decline of the Medici Bank, 240–54; Goldthwaite, The Economy, 193; Mueller and Lane, The Venetian Money Market.

47 Arany, “Firenzei–magyar,” 291–96. On medieval Buda see Kubinyi, Tanulmányok Budapest középkori történetéről; Rady, Medieval Buda; Végh, Buda város; idem, “Buda: the Multiethnic Capital,” 89–101. See recently Nagy, Rady, Szende and Vadas, ed. Medieval Buda in Context. For other Hungarian towns see Petrovics, “Foreign Ethnic Groups,” 67–87; on the linguistic aspect of multiethnic Hungarian towns see Szende, “Integration,” 205–33; Arany, “Buda mint uralkodói székhely,” 153–70.

48 Kubinyi, “Budai kereskedők,” 351; for an example of a Florentine accomandita partnership founded by Lorenzo and Filippo Strozzi and Piero Pitti, in its first phase operating only in Buda with a capital of 1900 fl, and then in a second phase extending the trading activity to the whole kingdom from Buda with a capital of 3000 fl. see Dini, “L’economia fiorentina,” 639–40. See also recently Draskóczy, “Commercial Contacts,” 278–99.

49 Kubinyi, “A budai német patriciátus,” 492–98.

50 Arany, “Success and Failure,” 114–17.

51 Kubinyi, “A budai német patriciátus,” 492–98; Teke, “Firenzei üzletemberek,” 135, 139; idem, “Firenzei kereskedőtársaságok,” 195.

52 Kubinyi, “A kincstári személyzet,” 26.

53 Mollay, Das Ofner Stadtrecht, see also the Hungarian edition of the Town Law in Blazovich and Schmidt, Buda város jogkönyve. On the conditions of trade in the town see Mollay, Ofner Stadtrecht III. § 68, the paragraphs on retail sale ibid. §. 77, §. 80–8, §. 84.

54 Kenyeres, “The Fate of the Medieval Archives,” 57.

55 Tózsa-Rigó, “A Pozsonyi Tiltáskönyv,” 1135–86; idem, “A pozsonyi gazdasági elit,” 329–48; Kubinyi, “A nürnbergi Hallerek,” 705–42, see also in German, idem, “Die Nürnberger Haller in Ofen,” 80–128; idem, “A Pemfflingerek Bécsben és Budán,” 743–57.

56 Kubinyi, “Budai és pesti polgárok,” 517–20; Szende, “Integration,” 206–07.

57 Kubinyi, “A budai német patriciátus,” 490.

58 Buda burghers represented Nuremberg firms. Marcus of Nuremberg, for instance, represented the Flextorfer–Kegler–Kromer–Zenner firm as early as the end of fourteenth century. These firms, however, did not focus their investments on the area. Blanchard, “Egyptian Specie Markets,” 392.

59 Goldthwaite, The Economy, 198

60 Kubinyi, “Budai kereskedők,” 349; Engel, The Realm of St. Stephen, 324.

61 Kubinyi, “Budai kereskedők,” 338.

62 Arany, “Generations,” 133–40.

63 Kubinyi, “A nürnbergi Hallerek,” 714; Rady, Medieval Buda, 89.

64 Goldthwaite, The Economy, 193; Mueller and Lane, The Venetian Money Market.

65 Mueller, “Mercanti e imprenditori fiorentini,” 29–60; Tognetti, “I mercanti-banchieri fiorentini,” 351–56; See also Clarke, “The Identity of the Expatriate,” 384–408.

66 Masi, Statuti delle colonie fiorentine, XXII.

67 On Wrocław see Weczerka, “Breslaus Zentralität,” 245–62.

68 Végh, Buda város, I, 245–47.

69 Budak, “I fiorentini nella Slavonia,” 683; Škreblin, “Ethnic Groups,” 32–33.

70 Ember, Ember, and Skoggard, Encyclopedia of Diasporas, vol. 1, 559–60.

71 Mollay, Ofner Stadtrecht, vol 1, § 65; Benda, “A kereskedelem épületei,” 33–40. See lately also Weisz, Vásárok és lerakatok; Skorka, “A bécsi lerakat,” 1–16; Benda, “Merchants, Markets and Shops,” 255–78.

72 Bruscoli, “Drappi di seta,” 359–94; Goldthwaite, The Economy, 198; Weissen, “Florentiner Kaufleute,” 363–401; idem, “I mercanti italiani,” 161–76; on Cologne see Gramulla, Handelsbeziehungen; Goldthwaite, The Economy, 198.

73 Mazzei, Itinera mercatorum, 20–28. See also Johanek, “Vorwort,” 11–12; Carter, Trade and Urban Development.

74 See Arany, “Generations,” and idem, “Apák, fiúk.”

75 See footnote no. 29.

76 ASF, Catasto 1427, 175. fol. 273r.

77 ASF, Catasto 1427, 45. fol. 706r; ASF, Catasto 1427, 42. fol. 313v.

78 In addition to Scolari, also Noffri di Bardo’s sons, the Noffri brothers, the Buondelmonti and the records on the Manini were explored. Engel, Királyi hatalom, 58–60; Engel, “Temetkezések,” 627; Draskóczy, “Olaszok,” 131.

79 MNL OL DL 16 001. June 5, 1464; MNL OL DL 15 025. May 18, 1464.

80 Gündisch, Das Patriziat.

81 Draskóczy, “Olaszok,” 126–28.

82 MNL OL DL 36 403. 1451.

83 MNL OL DL 36 390. March 24, 1439; Gündisch, Das Patriziat, 244–45.

84 Goldthwaite, The Building of Renaissance Florence, 279.

85 Francesco di Rosso di Piero di Rosso, Catasto 1427. 20. fol. 790v; Goldthwaite, The Building of Renaissance Florence, 279.

86 Draskóczy, “Olaszok,” 126.

87 Goldthwaite, The Building of Renaissance Florence, 279.

88 Ibid., 281.

89 Ibid., 280.

90 Ibid., 281.

91 Ibid., 280.

92 Gündisch, Das Patriziat, 244–45.

93 Arany, “The Shoemaker.” See also idem, “A cipész,” 493–514.

* This work was made possible with the support of the Croatian Science Foundation under project number 6547 (Sources, Manuals and Studies for Croatian History from the Middle Ages to the End of the Long Nineteenth Century; principal investigator: Damir Karbić).