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Racial Laws

Where do you want to travel?

A reader’s journey through Jewish Italy.

Formiggini Editore

Angelo Fortunato Formiggini was born in Collegara, near Modena, on June 21, 1878 to Pellegrino and Marianna Nacmani. His father belonged to a well-to-do family of Jewish descent that, since the 18th century, had  successfully conducted careers in the precious stone trade. After completing his studies in Modena, he graduated in Law with a thesis […]

Bemporad Editore

Alessandro Paggi came from a Jewish family from Siena and moved to Florence in 1840. There, he started a small printing and publishing business supported by the sale of stationery items. A few years later his brother Felice joined the company which was renamed  “Libreria Editrice Felice Paggi.” Their first titles included medical books from the Risorgimento era. Later it focused […]

Salomone Belforte & Co.

The tolerance papers issued in Pisa and Livorno between 1591 and 1593, included among their provisions in favor of the Jews the freedom to publish and trade in “books in Hebrew or other languages, printed or handwritten….”. This freedom was nonetheless subject to a review on behalf of the Inquisitor of the books that were […]

La Giuntina

La Giuntina is the publishing branch of the old and glorious Giuntina Press, founded in Florence in 1909 by a Polish Jew, the antiquarian bookseller and publisher Leo S. Olschki.  A humanist and book lover, Olschki drew the name “Giuntina” from the Florentine typographic tradition: a “giuntina” is one of the many valuable editions of […]

Twentieth Century

At the beginning of the 20th century, Jewish integration into Italian society appeared well on its way, as prime minister Luigi Luzzatti took office as one of the world’s first Jewish heads of government in 1910. Another Jew, Ernesto Nathan served as mayor of Rome from 1907 to 1913. Italian Jews volunteered in large numbers in […]


Jewish Women in Modern Italy

Luisa Levi D’Ancona Jewish Women Archives   The history of Italian Jews in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries is essentially a story of social integration and embourgeoisement, with the exception of the years of Fascism, the racial laws (1938) and World War II. In Italy, each pre-unification state had a particular relation to its Jewish […]


Jews settled in Florence before 1400. They were not needed in this flourishing commercial city – the scene of factional strife between the Guelfs and Ghibellines – as there was an abundance of capital, the Florentines being the greatest speculators and the most rapacious usurers of the Middle Ages. But having admitted the Jews, the Florentines […]


The Jewish presence in Bologna dates back to 1353, when the Jewish banker Gaius Finzi traveled from Rome and took up his residence in the quartier of Porta Procola. In the second half of the 14th century, around 15 Jewish families settled in the city. In 1416, at the time of the papal election, a vigilance committee of […]