GIRALDI, Luca (1493-1565)
This Italian merchant was born in Florence, on 25 February, 1493. He was the firstborn son of Nicolo di Giovanni Giraldi and of Margherita di Luca di Agostino Capponi. Luca?s presence in Lisbon is first mentioned in 1515, when he is referred to as a merchant banker; this was the time when he met Giovanni da Empoli. His activities focused on the commerce of Madeiran sugar, spices, and drugs from India.
For a time, he resided in the house of the Count of Cremona, João Francisco Affaitati, with whose family he maintained a business relationship, as he did with the Cavalcanti. These connections allowed him to establish a wide range of banking and business activities, as is demonstrated by his associaton with Giovan Battista Cavalcanti?s bank in Rome.
On 18 March, 1529, he became procurator for the Affaitati, in a contract executed by Count João Francisco and Capellan de Capellani, in which the former committed to purchase from the latter all the sugar and molasses that he produced in Madeira Island. In 1529, still as procurator for the Affaitati family, Luca undertook to purchase all the sugar of the royal rights of that year. As of 1530, Luca Giraldi?s commercial activities expanded rapidly and grew concomitantly with his integration into the Portuguese court.
He was designated in Giovanni da Empoli?s will to be depositary of some of this Florentine Merchant?s possessions. Among these, were found two account books, jewels from India, and various riches of other Florentine merchants who had made their fortunes in the Orient, such as Piero Strozzi and Giovanni Buonagrazia.
Carlo Strozzi nominated him procurator, so that he could manage his deceased brother?s grange, to substitute for Count João Francisco Affaitati at the time of his death.
In the will of Dom João de Castro, he was given all the money of the deceased?s tierce.
As of 1533, he became part of the group who was awarded contracts for trading spices and drugs, being connected with figures such as João Carlos Affaitati, Francisco Mendes, Afonso de Torres, and Gabriel de Negro. On 6 August of the same year, he received a Charter from the Portuguese monarch, King Dom João III, granting him, as well as his factors and servants, the same privileges and freedoms conferred on the German merchants.
ALESSANDRINI, Nunziatella, Os italianos na Lisboa de 1500 a 1680: das hegemonias florentinas às genovesas (tese de doutoramento), Lisboa, Universidade Aberta, 2009.
Author: Raquel Prazeres
Translated by: Maria João Pimentel