Lana


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Lana

 

(from Latin lana, “wool”), a medieval guild of wool-workers in an Italian city.

The Florentine lana is particularly noteworthy; the first mention of it dates to 1212, and its statute of 1317 has survived. Lana merchants bought wool in North Africa, Spain, and England and passed it on to be worked by the artisans bound to the guild. In the 14th century some finishing operations were carried out in workshops by day-laborers (ciompi). According to the chronicle of G. Villani, in the early 14th century there were more than 300 workshops of merchant entrepreneurs in the lana, producing 100,000 pieces of cloth (at least 1 million meters) annually. Within the limits of the lana, which retained many medieval features, the first scattered manufactories in world history with elements of centralization appeared in Florence, Siena, and a number of other cities. The proprietors of the largest lana workshops of the 14th and 15th centuries made up the nucleus of the ruling elite of popolani of Florence. In other cities (including Bologna, Milan, and Genoa) the lana retained more traditional features.

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