Drawing upon the private papers of the Mellerio family, one of the richest in late eighteenth century Milan, the author examines their impressive running expenses during the late eighteenth century. The Mellerio had moved from the Val Vigezzo to Milan in the first half of the century and were ennobled thanks to their share in the Ferma Generale established in 1751 and the huge profits it yielded in twenty years. The splendor of their lifestyle is especially apparent in the high level of expenses on food, salaries and clothing for the servants, horses and carriages etc, all meticulously recorded in their accounting books. The total yearly outlay averages over 500,000 Milanese lire.
Keywords: Conspicuous consumption, Mellerio family, Milan, XVIII century, status symbol, merchants.