The article analyses the evolution of the associative network which involved the Milanese economic world from the Italian Unification until the post First World War years, as well as its relationship with the city Chamber of Commerce. During a first phase the Milanese economy was mostly a commercial one. Then, during a second phase, which began at the end of the Nineteenth Century, it became more and more characterized by the emergence of a truly industrial core. During the first phase the local entrepreneurs shaped trough their associations an identity, which was deeply influenced by the idea of the independence of the economy and of its values against the politics and the state institutions, and which resulted in the auspice of free trade oriented legislation. It was in that time that the myth took shape of Milan as the moral capital of the country, opposed to Rome, the pretended center of the political and bureaucratic corruption. During the second phase the city entrepreneurs began conversely to urge the State support in order to develop their own activities. Moreover, in the first decade of the Twentieth Century new associations were created in Milan, whose organization was that typical of an industrial entrepreneurial trade union. Their goal was that of supporting a class struggle against the workers trade unions.
Keywords: Milan, Nineteenth/Twentieth Centuries, entrepreneurial associations, corporate ideology, Chamber of Commerce, liberalism