This paper aims at highlighting the twofold role played by the Italian government in the attempt of supporting and motivating the growth of Italian banking activities in the Ottoman Empire, especially in its capital at the end of the first decade of the twentieth century. The activities of Banco di Roma and Società Commerciale d’Oriente will be analysed within a context of disloyal competition, envies and low blows. The paper will also underline the links existing among these institutions and the Italian government, which will remain their reference point in the Ottoman capital and will demonstrate how Italian banking activities in Constantinople, which depended on the bankers’ good relationships with the Italian political circles rather than on their real financial possibilities, were hindered by recurring conflicts and enmities in the national market. The article also aims to fill the historiographical void on the Italian banking activities in the late Ottoman Empire with the results of the research conducted in the historical archives of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bank of Italy and Banco di Roma.
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