The Richest Florentine Families in 1427? Still Rich Today!
A study by two Italian economists has shown that despite huge political and social changes in Florence over the past 600 years, one thing has barely changed at all - the surnames of the city's richest inhabitants. The economists compared tax data from the Tuscan city in 1427 and 2011. The results of their study show that Florentines whose ancestors were rich during the Renaissance are likely to still be well-off today. The tax data showed that not only can surnames be a predictor of wealth, but also of occupation, so that if your 15th century ancestor was a lawyer, it's more likely that you would be a lawyer today. Back in the 15th century, the top-earners were lawyers, or members of the shoe-makers', wool and silk guild, while low-earners worked in professions such as sewing and sorting wool.
They found that descendants of the wealthiest 33 percent of families in 1427 were likely to have above-average wealth in 2011. It is particularly surprising that the richest Florentine families managed to maintain their wealth through 600 years of political and social upheaval; sieges, occupations and a myriad of changes over the centuries.