The guilds of Florence were secular corporations that controlled the arts and trades in Florence from the twelfth into the sixteenth century. These Arti included seven major guilds (collectively known as the arti maggiori), five middle guilds (arti mediane) and nine minor guilds (arti minori). Their rigorous quality control and the political role in the commune that the Art Maggiori assumed were formative influences in the history of Florence, which became one of the richest cities of late Medieval Europe.
The Minuto Popolo – skilled and unskilled workers including weavers, spinners, dyers, boatmen, labourers, peddlers and others – despite constituting a majority of the population, were barred from forming guilds.
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