During the period between the Middle Ages and the Modern Age, a significant evolution of welfare was experienced, thanks to the consolidation and specialization of the institutions which had been born or transformed with the specific function of carrying out solidarity and assistance activities. It is around these institutions that the research gathered in this volume was focused, with the aim of outlining their birth and evolution, but also their sources of financing and self-financing, the strategies and methods for acquiring resources, the management and evolution of assets, the functional organization and internal costs of supporting the people in need and the staff management. Those institutions often played a significant role in the territory where they operated, and numerous contributions focus on the economic and social effects produced by their action, not only in terms of redistribution of income and maintenance of social peace, but also in relation to any connection with the production companies, thanks to the launch on the market of products and services carried out by the institution’s clients or its staff. Lastly, a final section is dedicated to non-formal assistance networks (solidarity and forms of credit within families, groups of poor people, communities), through which individuals, communities and the whole of society, in the absence or lack of formalized structures, tried to protect themselves from the risks associated with poverty and physical incapacity.
in the Catalogue