In The Architecture of Banking in Renaissance Italy, Lauren Jacobi aims to investigate buildings and other urban complexes related to banking activities and coinage in Italy from the thirteenth through the sixteenth centuries, an undoubtedly ambitious undertaking requiring reconciliation of multiple skills and diverse areas of research. The title refers to Italy as a whole, but it quickly emerges in the introduction that the conditions analyzed are mainly those of Florence and Rome (especially the Rome of Florentine businessmen), with occasional reference to Venice, Milan, Genoa, and the European financial centers where Florentine merchant bankers were particularly active (e.g., Bruges).

In the first chapter, “Networked Agglomerations,” the...

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