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Last week we participated in the 58th annual meeting of the RSA in Washington DC. More than 470 panels were organized for the three day event at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, and featured participants from all over the world. Five panels included contributions about Livorno; one of these was co-organized by our founding member Lisa Lillie, who presented a paper about the Old English Cemetery of Livorno. We also had the chance of attending the special presentation by the Medici Archive Project (MAP) team about their brand new open-source digital interface (BIA). Below you will find a few pictures taken at the event with the abstracts of all the presentations related to Livorno.


Locating the Foreign in Early Modern Italy:Integrated or Alienated Minorities? I-II

Organizers: Lisa Marie Lillie (Washington University in St. Louis), Stephanie Nadalo (Northwestern University, American Academy in Rome)

Chair: Prof. Stefano Villani (University of Maryland, College Park)

Sponsor: Society of Fellows (SOF) of the American Academy in Rome (AAR)


Negotiating Community Ties and Cross-Cultural Relationships in the Old English Cemetery of Livorno, Italy
*Lisa Marie Lillie (Washington University in St. Louis)

Seventeenth-century Livorno was a bustling polyglot entrepôt, its cosmopolitan character attributable in part to the limited religious toleration and free port status granted by the Medicis. Foreigners resident in Livorno had to maintain a delicate balance between the needs of their communities and the local laws governing their activities, from religious practices to commercial transactions. My paper will analyze the Anglophone community of Livorno ca. 1640-1750, and will focus on use of the Old English Cemetery by English residents to reinforce personal and professional relationships. I will also explore the way the establishment and maintenance of the cemetery became a diplomatic bargaining chip in negotiations between English emissaries, merchants, and Tuscan authorities. Finally, I will analyze the cemetery as a locus for cross-cultural sharing. English testators adopted local Sephardic monument styles, a borrowing illustrative of the complex processes by which the English created a culturally hybrid community in a foreign land.

Between Holy War and an Antica Amicità: Ottoman Subjects in the Tuscan Grand Duchy (1537–1737)
*Stephanie Nadalo (Northwestern University, American Academy in Rome)


Although the Florentine Republic enjoyed a privileged diplomatic relationship with the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Mehmed II, this had changed dramatically by 1530, when the parvenue Medici Duchy was obliged to honor the Catholic alliances of their papal and Hapsburg protectors. Tuscan-Ottoman hostilities were exacerbated in 1561, when Duke Cosimo founded the Naval Order of St. Stephen with the expressed purpose of waging war against the infidels. Nonetheless, the Tuscan regime desperately sought to reestablish mercantile ties with the Ottoman Empire. Whereas Cosimo pursued Levantine trade using Sephardic Jewish middlemen, his successors sought mercantile capitulations directly from the Ottoman Sultan. This paper examines Tuscany’s efforts to renew their “true and ancient friendship” with the Ottoman Empire and demonstrates how successes and failures in mercantile diplomacy directly affected the lives of Ottoman subjects throughout the Tuscan Grand Duchy—particularly for Turkish and Armenian merchants residing within the free port of Livorno.

Early Modern Religious Dissents: Conflicts and Plurality in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe (EMoDiR I)

Organizers: Federico Barbierato (Università degli Studi di Verona), Stefano Villani (University of Maryland, College Park)

Chair: Federico Barbierato (Università degli Studi di Verona)

Sponsor: RSA Annual Meeting


Between Inquisition and Grand Duchy: English Pirates and Merchants in Tuscany in the Seventeenth Century
*Barbara Donati (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa)


Between the end of the sixteenth century and the beginning of the seventeenth, several Englishmen appeared in the court of the Inquisition of Pisa as sponte comparenti, that is to say, they spontaneously decided to denounce themselves as “Lutheran or Calvinist heretics.” The comparison between the trials’ minutes, the grand duke’s correspondence, and bishops’ and Jesuits’ letters seems to clarify that abjuration was the bargaining chip between Tuscan rulers and English merchants or ex-corsairs who were searching for a job in the navy of Saint Stephen’s Order. It started defining a “Tuscan cohabitation model” with the non-Catholic foreign communities, a peculiar balance between the state advantages and the protection of the Catholic orthodoxy that would allow the English community of Leghorn to grow up to become the most important British Factory of Italy.

Religious Pluralism and the Danger of Tolerance: The Leghorn British Factory in the Seventeenth Century
*Stefano Villani (University of Maryland, College Park)


Since the 1640s the British factory of Leghorn was the most important British community in Italy both for its economic and political vitality and for its ampleness. The history of the British Factory of Leghorn is also the history of the conflicts that its members had with the Tuscan authorities to assert their right to live openly their religious beliefs. One of the questions that for a long time poisoned the relationships between the English and Tuscans in those years was the attempt made by the British Factory to obtain permission to celebrate Protestant religious services for its members. The religious authorities were against any concession — not because they were afraid of a possible Protestant proselytism, but because they feared the emergence of a spontaneous doctrine of tolerance among the Catholics.

The Limits of Identity II: Trade and Community Membership in the Mediterranean

Organizers: Corey Tazzara (University of Chicago), Jeffrey Miner (Stanford University)

Chair: Francesca Trivellato (Yale University)

Sponsor: RSA Annual Meeting


Merchants without a Nation: The Transformation of the Consular Regime in the Free Port of Livorno
*Corey Tazzara (University of Chicago)

This paper examines the relationship between consuls and community in the Tuscan port of Livorno. In much of the early modern Mediterranean, membership in a nazione headed by a consul conferred the right to trade. Consuls protected their community from local rulers and judged internal legal disputes. The proliferation of mercantile tribunals, the state’s rejection of foreign legal spaces within its confines, and novel customs regimes, however, uncoupled formal membership in a community from both the right to trade and access to court. The free port of Livorno (1591) permitted merchants of any ethnic, religious, or state affiliation to trade on equal terms. The right to trade or bring suit in Livorno no longer depended on membership in any community. This did not eviscerate consular institutions, however, but rather turned consuls into informal analysts of local commerce, consultants in debates over customs procedures, and representatives of mercantile opinion.
A Factious Community: Authority and Nation in the English Factory at Livorno
*Tristan Stein (Harvard University)
During the seventeenth century, the Tuscan port of Livorno became a center of English trade in the Mediterranean. However, underlying the importance of Livorno for the growth of English commerce was official anxiety over the conditions of English trade in that city. While appeals to merchants’ subjecthood emphasized state and consular authority over them, official concern over the behavior of those merchants underscored the institutional evolution of the English factory at Livorno as an exclusive, national body that sat apart from the structures of the English state. This paper examines the different conceptions of subject and national identity that defined the development of the English, subsequently British, factory at Livorno from the end of the seventeenth century and into the first half of the eighteenth century.
Medici and Slavery in the Mediterranean Sea

Organizers: Elena Brizio (The Medici Archive Project)

Chair: Maurizio Arfaioli (The Medici Archive Project)

Sponsor: Medici Archive Project, Inc. (MAP)


The Quattro Mori and the Conditions of Slavery in Early Seicento Tuscany
*Mark Rosen (University of Texas at Dallas)

Situated beside the water at the port of Livorno, the center of the Tuscan slave trade, the patchwork monument known as I Quattro Mori (the Four Moors) epitomizes the control the Medici wished to exert over foreign threats. It is composed of a marble sculpture of Grand Duke Ferdinando I (by Giovanni Bandini) on a raised plinth and four bound captives in bronze (by Pietro Tacca) with recognizably Turkish and North African features. This paper locates the monument (installed in this form in the 1620s) and its aims alongside the archival record of slavery in Early Modern Livorno, with the goal of uncovering how it signified to its earliest viewers, including those slaves it purported to represent.
Special Presentation:

The Medici Archive Project (MAP) presents live demos of its online interactive platform (BIA).
 More information can be found on their webpage:
Matteo Giunti