chapter  4
35 Pages



At the beginning of the 1960s, two different views of the Italian Renaissance economy were proposed: the fi rst by Roberto Sabatino Lopez and Harry Miskimin1 and the second by Carlo Maria Cipolla.2 According to Lopez and Miskimin, the epoch of growth from thetenth century to 1300 was followed by a period of gloom. Decline in population, and especially urban population, industry and banking, characterized the Italian economy in the century after the Black Death. This “stagnationist”3 approach was openly criticized by Cipolla. In his view, the Italian Renaissance was not an age of crisis or depression. After the Black Death, the population diminished considerably and, with it, both the agricultural and the non-agricultural product declined in absolute terms. Probably, however, according to Cipolla, population declined much more than output and, as a consequence, per capita product rose.