2Caiano, Federigo Gonzaga's Palazzo del Te or Paolo Almerico's Villa Rotunda, all entailedconsiderable outlays of wealth. W. K. Ferguson states that the wealth available for patronage inRenaissance Italy was the product of means for concentrating wealth, appearing for the first timein Renaissance Italy—in the new forms of taxation by princes and in the evolution of businessorganization.
Coinciding with the advent of such concentrations of wealth were social circumstances that brought the issue of status to a head among the rich and noble. In Florence, competition amongfamilies had long been rabid, but in the later 15th century their jostling had become a contest for noble status, because "the merchant patriciate was crystallizing into a nobility." The merchant patriciate group led by the Medici was not accepting new members.
R. A. Goldthwaite, in hisstudy of the social context of Renaissance Florentine palaces, notes that competition was fierceto make public expression of one's nobility.
The same closing of ranks occurred in 15th century Venice and Vicenza, as well as in suchother cities as Lucca, Pistoia, Padua, and Brescia.
Alfred von Martin finds also within the clergy2.W. K. Ferguson, "The Renaissance in Historical Thought," in Anthony Molho, ed., Socialand Economic Foundations of the Italian Renaissance, New York, 1969, p 121.3.P. Burke, Culture and Society in Renaissance Italy, 1420-1540, New York, 1972, p 245.4.R. A. Goldthwaite, "The Florentine Palace as Domestic Architecture," in AmericanHistorical Review, 1972, 77, no. 4, pp 991-993.5.A. Ventura, "The Triumph of the Aristocracy in the Veneto," in Anthony Molho, ed.,Social and Economic Foundations of the Italian Renaissance, New York, 1969, pp 169 ff;Ventura states that the 15th century saw the closing of access to aristocratic ranks in theVeneto. L. Puppi, (Andrea Palladio, Boston, 1975, pp 7-8), proposed that the Vicenziannobility sought to distinguish themselves from a middle class of merchants and other bourgeoisie. P. Burke, (op. cit., p 245), cites historical studies which show a closing of noble ranks in Lucca, Pistoia, Padua and Brescia.