Vol 22 (2019)

Francesco Adami, a Young Livornese Merchant in London, 1673–1674

Matteo Calcagni
European University Institute, Florence
Published May 29, 2020
  • Merchant training,
  • wine trade in the 17th century,
  • Livorno,
  • Levant Company
How to Cite
Calcagni, M. (2020). Francesco Adami, a Young Livornese Merchant in London, 1673–1674. Cromohs - Cyber Review of Modern Historiography, 22, 17-41. https://doi.org/10.13128/cromohs-11702


The transmission of mercantile culture is certainly not an innovative topic in international historiographic debate, but the difficulties of obtaining information from the few available primary sources have left open a number of questions that deserve further investigation. These include the content of the schooling received and the methods of professional training, the working conditions and the duties carried out by young apprentices in everyday life. By comparing a preliminary analysis of previously unexplored archive sources with the ideal expectations set by seventeenth-century manuals for traineeships, the article reconstructs the period of training of the young and restless Francesco Adami (1654-1702) in London in 1673, during the troubled reign of King Charles II. After working alongside his father Antonio in the wine trade in Florence and Livorno, Adami became a merchant who led a short but picaresque life in the eastern Mediterranean on the fringes of the Levant Company, until he was appointed English vice-consul in Palestine in 1699. During his youthful sojourn in the home of Francesco Terriesi in London, Adami wrote letters to his father Antonio describing his traineeship and the progress he was making in business in a country whose language and political situation he did not know at all.