At the origins of trade: Ca’ Foscari presents Cotrugli in English


At Ca’ Foscari, the first English translation of “Libro de l’Arte de la Mercatura” - a work about trade written in 1458 by Italian merchant, diplomat and economist Benedetto Cotrugli.

The Book of The Art of Trade” will be presented on Wednesday 22nd February at 5pm in the Aula Baratto of the Venetian University by researchers, professors Carlo Carraro from the Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics, and Giovanni Favero from the Department of Management.

It narrates the life that revolved around trade in the Mediterranean at the beginning of the Italian Renaissance in a lively manner. The volume contains an important contribution to the understanding of the origins of management and trade.

With the welcome address being given by Rector Michele Bugliesi, the event also includes participation from Croatian ambassador Damir Grubisa, various lecturers and authors of translations and international guests.

Giovanni Favero, professor of economic history in the Department of Management at Ca’ Foscari, explains: “The book makes Cotrugli’s treatment of mercantile trade - the first complete expression of awareness of the importance of trade, immersed in the Renaissance – available to the public. In its own way, it contributes to the scientific debate on the evolution of mercantile techniques and practices, showing that a reflection on them had begun a generation before the publication of Luca Pacioli’s treaty. After seven years of work, the result appears better than expected, and is satisfying.”

The work is the first text in which the “double entry” is described as a method of accountancy writing. The book is divided into four parts: market technicalities, from accounting to insurance, the religion of the merchant, and his public life of family management.

Originally a manuscript, the book was published in 1573 in Venice in a revised and reduced version. The English translation that will be presented at Ca’ Foscari includes a new critical edition based on a manuscript that is older than those previously known, which was only discovered recently.

A critical edition of the original in Italian, edited by Vera Ribaudo, was published in parallel with Edizioni Ca' Foscari. The translation is enriched with contributions, including those of Carlo Carraro and Giovanni Favero, as well as Niall Ferguson, the author of the introduction, and Mario InfeliseTiziano Zanato and Vera Ribaudo.




Michele Bugliesi

Rector of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Damir Grubisa

Ambassador of Republic of Croatia


Carlo Carraro

Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Book presentation

Giovanni Favero

Mario Infelise

Vera Ribaudo

Ca’ Foscari University of Venice


Alan Sangster

Professor of Accounting (Business and

Management) University of Sussex

Andrea Munari

Chief Executive Officer and General Manager of BNL SpA, Head of BNP Paribas Group in Italy - BNP Paribas Executive Committee Member

Dražen Kapusta

Principal of Cotrugli Business School

Fabio Sattin

Chairman of Private Equity Partners