Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Monday, October 26, 2009

Before The de Medici's

The funny thing about researching about Italy's industrial side is the inescapable reality of coming into contact with other parts of its breathtaking history. It makes the job of consistency that much harder. The way I see it, every once in a while we like to eat that extra chocolate to satisfy an inner craving. And it's with this thought we delve into the Peruzzi merchant-banking family.

The interesting thing, among so many of course, about the Peruzzi's was the reminder of how overextending credit can be a nasty bit of business. France saw it during the Mississippi Scheme with John Law (though his bad rap seems a tad excessive) and we're witnessing it here in the present. The point is that none of this is anything new as the Peruzzi case shows.

Largely forgotten in the annals of popular history, the Peruzzi family's role in Renaissance history is remarkable and preceded the arrival of the more famous de Medici's. At the height of its powers, the Peruzzi's had the second largest bank in Europe by the early 1330s and the company had grown complex enough to invent the concept of double-entry bookkeeping. Its imprint on Renaissance Italy helped to lay the foundations for modern capitalism and contemporary corporate culture.

The Peruzzi name has not faded. Seeking new fortunes, the family arrived in North America in the 19th century and true to its entrepreneurial helped found Planters Nuts and Chocolate Company in 1906.


  1. I didn’t know that someone from the Peruzzi family continued in North America.

    The history of Tuscany is amazing, but I must say that at present the people from this region are a bit closed-up and conservative. I think that they lack a big non-provincial city (like Rome, or Milan or even Naples and Palermo). Sometimes one has the impression they didn’t fully grasp that the Renaissance is over.

    I am exaggerating, but other regions of this country seem much more innovative to me: Emilia-Romagna, Veneto, Lombardia etc.

    This inclination to conservatism has though its advantages, among which the fact that Tuscan people have sort of frozen their countryside, which didn’t change much during the centuries. Which is really so beautiful, a paradise, very much appreciated, it is well known, by the British, the Americans and oddly enough the German social-democrats.

  2. “they didn’t fully grasp that the Renaissance is over.”


    I remember years ago I took a bus ride up to Fiesole decked out in my baseball cap, rustic leather jacket and converse running shoes. An old aristocratic local (at least she acted that way) was avoiding me like I had the plague; as if I was some scavenger about to mug her. It was too funny.

  3. Yes, they are like that. No hope they can change, at least in my life time. Happy new year Exposrip, E-talian and all of you!