Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Role Of Venice In The History Of Business

Florence is often cited as the spiritual and practical head of capitalism where Western civilization is concerned. However, it wasn't the only big player in the most successful economic system ever devised.

Before it there was Venice and still before each existed Rome. Once their economic relevance passed Italy came to have its famous Milan-Torino-Genoa economic triangle in the 20th century.  In this way, it should surprise absolutely no one why Italy possesses the business, manufacturing and industrial heritage it possesses.

Business Insider summarizes the long, complicated Venetian business culture pretty well.

Genoa is of particular interest. A fierce rival of Venice during the Middle-Ages, it managed to maintain its economic prowess well into the 20th century.

Interestingly, the contemporary talk of globalization was no different back then. Globalized trade has always been with us and Venice and Genoa were perfect examples of this phenomena. Italian merchants were trading as far off as the Volga river during the early Middle-Ages.

The innovations found in Venice (the birthplace of capitalism) remain with us to this very day from double-entry book keeping, bank deposit processes and joint-stock companies. As a uniquely and strictly business society (Yes, it owes much of it success to generous treaties with Byzantium as the article mentions, but Venice earned those stripes in blood and money by defending Byzantium - spiritual head of the Roman empire whom the Venetians descended from - right until it was toppled by the Turks in 1453. It also took to Crusading as a lucrative endeavor)  it only make sense they would come up with new innovations to match increasingly complex commercial practices.

Between Rome, Florence, Genoa and Venice Italy has provided a lasting massive influence and impact on modern business.

It's interesting to note, and this is the purpose of this blog, that today travelers and tourists come to Italy for its art and architecture but this neglects (to me anyway) its commercial and industrial heritage roots.

After all, grandeur and beauty comes usually after you have the funds to pay for it.

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