As Vittorio Marchi and Ugo Canessa tell us in their massive 4-volume book about the history of the Chamber of Commerce of Livorno (*), an ancestor of this institution can be identified in the Deputation formed by the city Governor, the Consuls and at least four merchants, created in 1642 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany. This Deputation is then reformed in 1692 and evolves into the so called Deputation of Commerce or Board of Commerce in 1717. At this time the chosen Deputees were eight, half of them Tuscan, half foreigners:

Jacopo FINOCCHIETTI

Anton Domenico LANCELLOTTI

Pietro Paolo GIERA

Lazzero RECANATI

Roberto RUTHERFURD

Giovanni DUFOUR

Pietro CHARRON

Luigi RILLIET

(NdR: the above list, reported in the book, cannot be completely correct because several of the people cited in it were born in or after the 1720s…)

In 1722 the Deputation is advanced to the status of “Tribunal of Commerce” (for causes involving less than 500 pieces of eight) and at about the same time the Board started to be named “Chamber”. Every year the Grand Duke drawed two new members, one italian and one foreigner, from a pool of the best 30 merchants of the city.

The actual foundation of the still existing “Chamber of Commerce” is dated December 17th, 1801 and it is among the first institutions of this type in Italy. The 12 founding members (clickable) were:

Francesco di Honorato BERTE, french

Filippo FILICCHI, tuscan

Gio. Giacomo RILLIET, french for the Genevans

Giuseppe HUDDART, english

Alessandro PATRINO, greek

Ezechia di Sabato AMBRON, jewish

Pietro Paolo GIERA, tuscan

Antonio BRANCA, tuscan

Martino DAGUERRE, french

Pietro SENN, swiss

Gio COSTACCHI, greek

Levi L’AINE’, jewish

This very brief note will be the first of many focusing on the importance of foreign merchants for the history of Livorno in general and for the history of many of the local institutions. Also a great number of the merchants who took part in the history of the Chamber of Commerce are now buried either in the Old English Cemetery or in other historical cemeteries as the Dutch-German Burial ground, the New English Cemetery, the Greek-Orthodox Cemetery and the two oldest Jewish cemeteries.

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(*) V. MARCHI, U. CANESSA, Duecento anni della Camera di Commercio nella Storia di Livorno, Debatte, Livorno, 2001. Unfortunately this work contains thousands of misspellings of the names of foreign merchants and has NO INDEX at all. This is the perfect recipe for making a potentially wonderful research tool, a heavy, unusable, 4-volumes library ornament, like those that are nice to see on the shelves but are never browsed.

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