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Lattes Editori

The Libreria Lattes, bookstore and publisher, opened in Via Garibaldi 3, Turin in 1893. It’s founder, Simone Lattes, born in 1862, began working at the Casanova bookstore (today Libreria Luxembourg), acquiring first-hand knowledge of the book market. Lattes’ first books were dedicated to Piedmonte, where he was born and where, three centuries earlier, his ancestors had found asylum after the expulsion from Spain. […]

The Soncinos

The Soncino family derived its name from the town of Soncino, in the Duchy of Milan. The family traces its descent through a Moses of Fürth, who is mentioned in 1455, back to a certain Moses of Speyer, of the middle of the fourteenth century. The first of the family engaged in printing was Israel Nathan […]

Leo Olschki

The long history of the Leo Olschki publishing house dates back to 1883, when Leo Samuel Olschki, the son of a typesetter who worked in the small town of Johannisburg in East Prussia, decided to follow in the path of many other members of the ultramontane book trade — Rosenberg & Sellier, Sperling & Kupfer, Hoepli, Rappaport, […]

Tobia Foa

Tobia ben Eliezer Foà came from a Jewish family from Sabbioneta, where he established a printing press specializing in Hebrew books. The Foà printers operated in Sabbioneta from 1551 to 1559, where they produced very important volumes and  26 books, including the first printed edition of Isaac Abrabanel’s work Mirkevet Ha’ Mishnah, parts of the […]

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 […]

Meir Parenzo

The Parenzos were a family of Hebrew printers active in Venice in the 16th and 17th centuries. Jacob (d. 1546) had come to Venice from Parenzo, on the Dalmatian coast of Italy, hence the family name, but was probably of German origin. His son, Meir (d. 1575), probably learned the printing trade at the Bomberg […]

Avraham ben Garton ben Yishaq

Abraham Garton was a Jewish printer who printed the first dated Hebrew book in Europe in 1475. Very little is known about the personal life of Abraham ben Garton. Most scholars believe he was born in Spain, and emigrated to Calabria, Italy prior to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Many other […]

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 […]

Fratelli Treves

The Treves publishing house was founded by Emilio Salomone Treves, son of Sabato Graziadio Treves, chief rabbi of Trieste, and Lia Montalcini. His father taught at the local university and was considered a man of modern and enlightened views. Emilio was born in 1834, a time when northern Italy was still under the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He attended both public school […]

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 […]

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The Italian Genizah

Mauro Perani, University of Bologna (courtesy Morasha) English version by Simcha Shtull, Jewish Heritage Online Magazine Professor of Jewish History, Muro Perani, from the University of Bologna, shares the recent discovery in Italy of thousands of parchment folia and bifolia dismembered from Hebrew manuscripts that were reused as bookbindings in the 16th and 17th century. […]

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 […]

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 […]

Sabbioneta

Sabbioneta is located on the left bank of the Po river. In the 16th century, an important center of culture thanks to the effort of Vespasiano Gonzaga. In 1427, Sabbioneta was annexed to Mantua by the Marquis Gianfrancesco Gonzaga, and, in 1444, was assigned it to his son Carlo. ” order_by=”sortorder” order_direction=”ASC” returns=”included” maximum_entity_count=”500″] Vespasiano […]

Mantua

The first mention of Jews in Mantua dates from the 12th century, when Abraham ibn Ezra finished his grammatical work “Zahot”(1145) there. Apparently, he was in the city again in 1153. There are no further references to Jews in connection with Mantua until they are mentioned in the new statutes of the city at the […]

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 […]

Torino

Turin was the capital of the duchy of Savoy and later of the kingdom of Sardinia; it is now the capital of Piedmont province. The presence of Jews in Turin was recorded by Bishop Maximus in the fourth century, but thereafter no evidence of Jews exists until 1424, when the French Jewish physicians and bankers, […]

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Fano

Jews lived in Fano from the 14th century under special protection. In 1332, they were prosperous enough to lend 1,000 ducats to the lord of the city, Galeotto Malatesta. When all heretics were exiled in 1367, the Jewish community was unaffected. Besides money-lenders, it included customs farmers, physicians, and merchants and the Jews are said […]

Tuscany

There is evidence that Jews have lived in Tuscany since the Early Middle Ages, although it was in the period of Medici rule that Jewish-owned banks and moneylenders really began to grow. Florence and Pisa had the largest Jewish populations, although many of the smaller towns also had significant Jewish communities. On one hand, the […]

Abruzzi

Between the 15th and 18th centuries, several important trades began to flourish in the small towns of Abruzzo, including paper making, printing and jewelry. Small settlements of Jews lived in the region from the 13th century until 1511. Today, there are no longer organized Jewish communities in the region. Aquila: The first record of Jews living in Aquila dates […]

Veneto

While Jews did not settle in Venice until the 13th century, many Jewish merchants and moneylenders visited and worked in the city beginning in the 10th century. Jews were mentioned in documents from 945 and 992 that forbade Venetian captains from accepting Jews onboard their ships. In 1252, Jews were not allowed to settle in the […]

Emilia Romagna

The Jewish settlement in what now is Emilia Romagna had begun to gradually spread by the 13th century, with evidence today of a Jewish presence in at least 37 localities. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the Jewish communities in many centers, big and small, in Emilia and Romagna enjoyed long periods of coexistence and […]