This is an interdisciplinary study of a large Italian estate which belonged to the Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany. The Medici administrators kept detailed records of the activities of their subjects and these have been used by the author to analyse ...
the demographic, social, economic and political history of the village. The records cover two centuries, which span a harsh economic depression and the 'general crisis' of the seventeenth century. An aim of the book is to gauge the impact of the general European crisis upon a regional society, and to assess the contribution of agrarian economic and social trends towards that crisis. It analyses the broad issues of population change, economic performance and social organization within a rural community, demonstrating how the contractual relationships between landlord and tenant selectively distributed the effects of the economic crisis, and how the strong economic bonds that linked lord and peasant helped to control the dogged resistance for which the people of Altopascio were notorious.