Merchant Alexander Palestrelli [Plaustrell] was born in Piacenza. By the mid-fifteenth century he had moved to London and was living in Broad Street, Soho. A prominent trader, he maintained a network of contacts across Northern Italy, including in Lucca and Genoa. In 1456/7, during a series of London riots, he was physically assaulted in an affray at Cheapside, and the episode set off a series of attacks on Italians across the city. Tensions between native Londoners and successful foreign traders in their midst exploded at various times into an orgy of xenophobia. As a consequence a number of Italian merchants moved their firms to Southampton.