It just so happened that shortly after our return to England, the BBC iPlayer had a programme about the Medici family. The narrator was an art critic named Andrew Graham-Dixon. I've never heard of him, but we'll not hold that against him, eh? He spoke pretty good Italian as far as I could tell. He pronounced the name MEH-de-chee, just in case you were wondering (I always have). So here's what else I learned.
At that time, bankers were gathered in a market place, their desks a simple table ('banco' means bench). G-Dixon says the custom was for bankers to shout out "I have 30 Florins to be repaid by Christmas!" or "I have 15 Florins to be repaid in two months!" (One of the things I love in Britain is how the fruit and veg men on the street shout out their best deals still!) There was a great deal of risk in lending money and if a banker failed, his table was broken, which is where we get the term 'bankrupt' (and possibly 'broke' as well?). Bankers developed policies to reduce their risk.
One of the Medici policies was not to loan to royalty; royalty never paid their debts! (Between pertinent Medici portraits, buildings and art, the programme filled visual space with scenes from Florence; I particularly remembered seeing a man pushing a rack of clothing a fair distance from a building doorway down to the big market square, just like on the telly. I was sure I snapped his picture, but can I find it? No.)
Of course the Medici's were devout Christians, bound by church law, and money lending was a mortal sin, particularly the collection of interest. Dante's famous work placed usurers in the depths of hell, because it was "an offense against the good of God; the usurer sells nothing and gives nothing for his profit". Dante pictured them sitting in the 7th Circle of Hell, their hands continually moving for all eternity, because they did nothing with their hands in life. Right next to the money lenders would be where you found your blasphemers and your sodomites. (I largely feel this way about bankers these days, so I sort of appreciated this idea).