The papal fiefs of early-modern Piedmont provide a good example of how ter-ritorial fragmentation could prove a core asset for local economies. It was mostly due to their largely independent status that they could play a highly profitable connective role for regional and ultimately global trade flows. As a part of a wider web of foreign and fiscally privileged territories enclosed within the boundaries of the Sabaudian state, they were pivotal to a route network through which otherwise heavily taxed or prohibited goods could move freely without having to be subject to the restrictions or to the internal and external customs duties imposed by the financial administration of the Sabaudian state. In its turn, along with protection by the Holy See, the economic functions performed by papal fiefs enabled their long-lasting resistance to full integration into the Sabaudian political space.
Keywords: Papal fiefs; Piedmont; trade flows; Sabaudian space; boundaries; local economies