" FIRENZE, la Bellissima e Famosissima Figlia di Roma" was no mere metaphor of Dante, but a very true title of the First of Modern States.
The cumulative energies of the Florentines had their focus in the corporate life of the Trade-Associations, and in no other Community was the Guild-system so thoroughly developed as it was in Florence. A complete and connected History of the Guilds has never been compiled. The present work is put forth, perhaps rather tentatively than exhaustively, to supply the omission. The subject is a large one, and the founts of information are many and various. I have tasted at many springs and drunk from many wells and my subject-matter has been drawn from the following sources : ( i ) Manuscripts Twelfth to Sixteenth centuries ; (2) Printed matter Books and Periodicals; (3) Letters from Authorities and Friends ; (4) Personal Knowledge of Florence and the Florentines [...]