During the late medieval period, Zurich’s contacts with the Italian peninsula were comparatively limited in scope. Some economic ties are documented: Zurich exported basic commodities such as cattle, hides and tallow to northern Italy, and was in turn supplied with iron and steel (from Como) and wine (from the Valtellina). 1 The city’s geographical position, along the vital north–south axis linking the commercial centre of Nuremberg with Como, Milan and Genoa, also provided some Zurich merchants with an opportunity to engage in transalpine trade; between 1479 and 1517, for example, the important Ravensburg-based trading company known as the Humpisgesellschaft was represented in Genoa by Zurichers (Hans Kloter the Elder and Younger). 2 However, activities of this sort were confined to a handful of individuals and did not contribute greatly to what was, by the late 15th century, a more or less self-contained economy.