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expulsion

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Spoleto

Spoleto was a Roman colony – later occupied by the Goths, then taken by the Lombards – was elected the capital of the duchy. In 1324 Spoleto was conquered by Perugia, then passed under the dominion of the Church. In 1298, an ancient and prestigious Roman Jewish family, the de Pomis, settled in Spoleto. In […]

Perugia

The Perugian statute of 1279, decreeing the expulsion of the Jews from the town, is proof that a Jewish settlement had previously been in existence in Perugia. It seems, however, that this measure was never put into effect and in succeeding years there was an active Jewish group in Perugia, mostly engaged in moneylending. The […]

World War II

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the Italian dictatorship had already stripped Jews of civil rights and had expelled Jews who did not have Italian citizenship. When Italy entered the war in 1940, many Jews appealed to Mussolini and to the king, reiterating their loyalty to their country and requesting to be able […]

Renaissance

When Jews were exiled en masse from Spain in 1492, a great number of them took refuge in Italy, where they were given protection by King Ferdinand I of Naples. Don Isaac Abravanel was even granted a position at the Neapolitan court, which he retained under the succeeding king, Alfonso II. The Spanish and Portuguese […]

Middle Ages

During the Middle Ages, the fate of Jews in various parts of Italy was an alternation between prosperity and persecution. There were expulsions from Bologna in 1172 and from Trani in 1380. Under Norman rule, the Jews of southern Italy and Sicily enjoyed greater freedom. They were considered the equals to Christians and were allowed to […]

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Benvenida Abravanel

Howard Tzvi Adelman from Jewish Women’s Archives Benvenida Abravanel was one of the most influential and wealthiest Jewish women of early modern Italy. Her family life, however, was wracked by strife. The sources about her life include: literary praise of her and her family, references to her in the travel diary of the messianic pretender […]

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Early Jewish History in Italy

Daniel M. Friedenberg   AFTER HIS VICTORY IN THE FIRST JEWISH WAR, TITUS sent back to Italy many thousands of Jewish slaves. Some went to Rome and the records also indicate a large number were shipped to the ports of Apulia (now called Puglia), the extreme southeastern region of Italy facing the Adriatic Sea. Most […]

Florence

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 Giudecca of Ortigia

An attractive island in the Mediterranean, Sicily has been a hub of migration routes for millennia. Jews are thought to have been part of the patchwork at least as early as the 1st century, after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD. At the end of the 15th […]

Venice

In 1516, Venice’s ruling council confined all the Jews in a small area not far from today’s train station, where there had been getti, or foundries. The gates were locked at night, and restrictions were placed on Jewish economic activities. Jews were only allowed to operate pawn shops and lend money, trade in textiles, and […]

Alghero

While the Jews of Alghero were mostly engaged in trade,  there were also many scholars and physicians among them. The best known were: Isaac Eymies (who was pensioned by the governor of Lugodoro and by the city of Alghero, and who was called in 1406 to the post of city physician of Cagliari); Ḥayyim of Hipre […]

Bologna

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 […]

Parma

Parma is an Italian city, formerly capital of the duchy of the same name; the seat of an ancient Jewish community. When the plague devastated Italy in 1348, many of the Jews of Parma fell victim to the fury of the populace, which regarded them as the cause of the pestilence. In the fifteenth century, […]

Soragna

The first traces of a Jewish presence in Soragna date back to 1543, when the papal chamberlain granted Giuseppe Colombo di Giacobbe, from Jena, permission to open a lending bank. In 1547, the notary records of the local feudal lord registered a debt with Jsepe hebreo banker in Soragna, which resulted pay interest of 18%. […]

Vercelli

 In 1446, the commune granted Abramo della Vigneria and his son Angelo a concession to establish a loan-bank in Vercelli with the condition that they be prepared to lend the commune up to 100 florins on request. A small Jewish community formed around these bankers, regulated by the severe statutes issued in 1430 by Amadeus […]

Mondovi

Jews first settled in Mondovi in 1580, after expulsions from Spain and southern France. Jewish moneylenders were vital to the local economy. Because of this, the Savoy did not establish a ghetto in Mondovì until 1720. After the Edict of Emancipation on April 2, 1848, Fortuna Estella Levi organized Jewish and Catholic women jointly to […]

Moncalvo

The first Jewish settlers in Moncalvo presumably arrived after the expulsions from France, as it was one of only three communities following the *Apam (= Asti, *Fossano, Moncalvo) liturgy, which was of French origin. The first documents attesting to the presence of Jews in Moncalvo date only from the 1570s. When Moncalvo passed to the […]

Asti

Up until the twelfth century, the episcopal and imperial powers alternated in the rule of Asti. In 1275, the Emperor Henry VII donated the city to Amedo V of Savoy. In 1387, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, lord of the city, gave it as dowry to his daughter when she married Louis d’Orleans. After the fall of the […]

Alessandria

The first known Jewish settler in Alessandria was Abraham, son of Joseph Vitale de Sacerdoti (Cohen), who opened a loan bank in or around 1490.  The subsequent history of the community has continued to center around, and to a great degree consist of, the record of his descendants, later known by the name Vitale. ” […]

Otranto

Between the 9th and 12th centuries, Otranto was one of the main centers of Jewish learning in Apulia. As the Jewish community prospered, thanks to commerce and entrepreneurial ventures, scholars gave lasting contributions to the study of the Bible, the Mishnah and the Talmud of Babylon. At the time of the forced conversion, under the […]

Taranto

Few traces remain of the Jewish Community that flourished in Taranto during the Middle Ages. Much can be inferred from funereal epigraphs found here (as well as in Brindisi, Venosa and Bari). It is worth noting that these tombstones are all in Hebrew, which shows that the Jewish communities of Apulia were using their original […]

Monopoli

In this small costal town south of Bari, Jews were appreciated for their mercantile acumen, up to their expulsion in the early 1500’s. City view, Monopoli

Bari

One of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Apulia, dating back to the 8th century, is located in Bari’s San Lorenzo district. Bari was once one of the flourishing Jewish centers of Apulia which, according to tradition, were founded by captives brought to Italy by Titus. However, unlike in neighboring towns, no inscriptions have survived to […]

Bitonto

GALLIPOLI, BARLETTA, BITONTO, RUTIGLIANO, OSTUNI, NARDO’, COPERTINO and GROTTAGLIE are among the many small towns, sometimes barely villages, with a documented Jewish presence as early as Roman times. Larger or smaller groups (sometimes just a few families) alternated between settling down and moving around between these various centers, up until the Expulsion of 1541. In many […]

San Severino

  ” template=”/home/jitaly/public_html/wp-content/plugins/nextgen-gallery/products/photocrati_nextgen/modules/ngglegacy/view/gallery.php” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″] There were Jews living in San Severino since the end of the thirteenth century. Surviving thirteenth century documents refer to an ancient and now lost municipal status regulating relations with the Jews. These were granted the freedom of religious practices and protection from assaults and thefts. Jews were […]

Recanati

The first mention of Jewish presence in Recanati dates back to 1337 and refers to the absolution of 20 citizens of Recanati, among them Gullielmutius Consilii Judeus, from any accusation of arson, theft, injuries, insults and murder, and all penalties incurred both financial and personal. In 14th century Civil Acts, we find a mention of […]

San Ginesio

Jewish presence in San Ginesio can be dated back to 1295, when Jews provided financing to a company involved in the wool industry. The Jews resided mainly in the Alvaneto district, which extended from Piazza dei Gentili to what is currently piazza Thomas Eskine Holland. The Jewish cemetery, called “Garden of the Jews”, was located […]

Senigallia

Senigallia came under Papal rule in 1631. At that time, the Jewish community consisted of about 40 families, comprising a few hundred people. During the course of the following century and a half, this number increased to approximately 120 families. Jewish loan bankers made their appearance there in the 14th century. As a result of […]

Pesaro

Jews had settled in Pesaro by the early 15th century. Money lending to the poor was the most conspicuous, but by no means the most important, of the many activities of Jewish bankers. Jews supplied floating capital to local artisans and merchants, as well as providing financial support to farmers in anticipation of the crops. […]

Sicily

There were probably Jews living in Sicily during the period of the Second Temple. The great Jewish rhetorician Caecilius of Calacte moved from Sicily to Rome around 50 C.E. and the epigraphic records start in the third century. After this period, records are scarce. In 590, Pope Gregory the Great ordered the ecclesiastical authorities to reimburse […]

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