For long time, the Estimo of Charles V has been considered the emblem of the Spanish misrule in the State of Milan: an opinion formed within the new Habsburg administration in the eighteenth century, taken over uncritically by most of the historiography. This article proposes, also using unpublished sources, to reconsider the reasons for the formation of the estimo, with a careful reconstruction of the tax system of the sixteenth century Lombardy. It analyzes the reform process considering its impact at central and local level, particularly in the relationship between city and contadi and between Milan and the others cities of the state. The author shows that the reform of Charles V, together with other innovations in fiscal system brought by the Spanish in the second sixteenth, favoured a substantial change in the balance of fiscal power (and political) between the various parts of the state.
Keywords: Estimo, Charles V, State of Milan, tax reform, sixteenth century, cities and contadi