Subtypes Guilds - Merchant Guilds - Italy

Merchant guilds in Italy were present in several cities. They included local merchants (Casa dei Mercanti, Arte dei mercanti) and they organized trade within the local territory. Merchant guilds also had specific courts (the Mercanzia), where disputes between merchants and others —concerning the act of commerce — were resolved. Merchant guilds were normally founded at the end of the Middle Ages.

Apart from the local merchant guilds in commercial cities such as Venice, Florence and Genoa, foreign merchants also organized their affairs through institutions such as 'merchant colonies' or 'nations'. Foreign colonies generally had a local consulate (where members resolved their own disputes and maintained a relation with the home-country), which was the formal institution to contract duties and rights with the local power. Their decline was a result of the economic trends of the trade and the abolition of the other guilds at the end of the eighteenth century. 



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