A scholarly article published in 2012 supports the claim that Italian merchants actually financed some of the first British expeditions to America, including those by John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto). You can read about the new evidence here. John Cabot “discovered” what we now know as Newfoundland and thereby claimed Canada for England. As we hope interestingly, John Cabot’s voyage to North American plays an important part in the life of one of the characters in SKIN OF THE WOLF.
You can also learn more about John Cabot here.
Also, perhaps interestingly, one half of Sam Cabot (namely Carlos Dews) is chairperson of the Department of English Language and Literature at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy.