In recent years, scholars' attention has focused upon the role played by the mobility of people, by the family, community and patronage ties affecting the transferral of abilities and knowledge, and upon the methods and outcomes of states' and urban institutions' attempts to attract knowledge and human capital. On this last point in particular, the debate has often focused on cities, and, within them, on the guilds that are sometimes seen as an element that was able to facilitate the achievement of such results, and at other times are perceived as an obstacle. The goal of this chapter is to show the process through which, within a few decades, Trieste managed to supply itself with the human resources needed to transform itself into an important manufacturing centre capable of innovation. We pay particular attention to the local arena and to the strategies used by the different actors involved: the state, local institutions of urban governance, the peripheral bureaucracy, entrepreneurs, local elites, migrants and so on. We do so in order to see, within a city deprived of a guild system and where the main goal was the formation of human capital, the methods and outcomes that occurred when these factors interwove, confronted and clashed with each other. Furthermore, in comparative perspective, the case study of Trieste is offered as an element of comparison with the analogous processes that took place within urban centres and port cities equipped with various resources and that featured different actors, such as the guilds
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