Wool and silk dealer Carlo Gigli was born in Lucca. His business flourished and he was admitted as a member of the prestigious confraternity of Our Lady of the Dry Tree in Bruges, where wealthy merchants rubbed shoulders with Burgundian nobles and high clergy. His luck did not last as he fell foul of his ducal patron sometime after 1445. The dispute might have been the reason for Gigli to ply his trade in England. He obtained a safe-conduct from the Crown in 1451 and took out letters of denisation in 1460.
His Bruges-born son Giovanni also settled in England and received letters of denisation in December 1477 when living in Coleman Street Ward. He acted as a tutor to Edward IV’s children. From 1490 onwards, he served as the English ambassador at the Roman Curia. He was consecrated Bishop of Worcester in September 1497, but he died in Rome in August 1498 without having visited his see.