Jewish Genealogy in Italy

 


Firenze (Florence)

 

Record Repositories
Resources of the 18th and the 19th century
Bibliography
Surnames of the Jews of Firenze 

 

There are traces of the  presence of Jews in Firenze since the Middle Ages, but a stable settlement in town is attested just since the 15th century. 
From  its  beginning the Jewish Community lived in a relative freedom. The Medici family encouraged Jews to come in order to found the trade and Jews were permitted to establish in town and to practise lend of money, activity forbidden to Christians. 
During  the Republic, Jews lived in danger of expulsions, always revocated in exchange of money.
In 1537 Cosimo de' Medici gained power in the Florentine government. The family Abravanel who frequented the court influenced positively the behaviour of the Medici  towards Jews and the Medici  gave refuge to Spanish and Portugese Jews. This was the start of the growth of the Sephardic Jewish community in Florence.

 

Following the politicies  of Counter- Reformation of the Pope, Cosimo de' Medici begun to change his policies toward the Jews: in 1567 he forced Jews to wear badges and in 1571 established a ghetto in Firenze.
For the Jews began a period of prohibitions and privation that lasted nearly three hundred years. The ghetto had two exits closed by gates and was constituted by narrow streets between high buildings with few sources of air and light.Following the politicies  of Counter- Reformation of the Pope, Cosimo de' Medici begun to change his policies toward the Jews: in 1567 he forced Jews to wear badges and in 1571 established a ghetto in Firenze.
Two synagogues were built in the Ghetto, in 1571 the Italian one and at the end of the 16th century the Spanish one.For the Jews began a period of prohibitions and privation that lasted nearly three hundred years. The ghetto had two exits closed by gates and was constituted by narrow streets between high buildings with few sources of air and light.Following the politicies  of Counter- Reformation of the Pope, Cosimo de' Medici begun to change his policies toward the Jews: in 1567 he forced Jews to wear badges and in 1571 established a ghetto in Firenze.
There were also schools, a butcher, a bakery, a ritual bathhouse. The Jews were allowed to elect their own council and their rabbinical court had jurisdiction on  legal problems.
Firenze_Ghetto.jpg (28767 byte)                Florence, the Ghetto

Since the half of the 18th century many prohibitions begun to fall and when the French troops came in  Tuscany  brought the values of the French Revolution and gave civic rights and emancipation to the Jews. In 1848, the ghetto was abolished.
When Florence was the capital of Italy (from 1864 to 1872) begun a planning of deep transformations of the  town which brought to the demolition of part of the historical center. The Ghetto was demolished  and became the actual  square "Piazza della Repubblica".
The actual synagogue was inaugurated in 1882. 
When the Nazis occupied Firenze in the autumn of 1943 about 2.500 Jews lived in town. In November 1943 were deported 243 Jews. Only 13 returned.

Number of the Jews in Firenze:
Year Jews in Firenze
1571 500
1680 600
1800 1.100
1841 1.500
1871 2.500
1900 3.000
1938 2.500
1965 1.200
Il Ghetto di Firenze
Telemaco Signorini, Il ghetto di Firenze, 1882(?)


Record Repositories:

- Jewish Community of Firenze
Address: Via Luigi Carlo Farini, 4, 50121 - Firenze;

State Archive of Firenze
Address: Archivio di Stato di Firenze Viale Giovine Italia, 6 - 50122 Firenze 
Tel: 055.26.32.01
E-mail: asfi@archiviodistato.firenze.it
State Archive of Firenze Webpage

- Firenze Town Archive
Address: Archivio Storico del Comune di Firenze - Via dell'Oriuolo, 33 - 50122 - Firenze
Tel. +39/0552616527
Firenze Town Archive Webpage

Resources from the 17th to the 19th  century:
List of records that can be found for the Jews of Firenze:

Births Matrimonies Dearths Other
Ketubot 1714-1815
1808-1817 1808-1817 1808-1817 Census of 1811
1818-1837 1818-1865 1839-1865 Census of 1841
1839-1865 1865-2000 Census of 1869
1865-2000 1882-2000 1865-2000 Census of 1871

- Jewish Cemeteries. Nothing has remained of the first Jewish cemeteries of the Renaissance times. The oldest cemetery left  is that one of Viale Ariosto that was in use for a hundred years (1777 - 1870). After that cemetery begun to be  used the cemetery of  Rifredi, a suburb of the town which is the actual cemetery . Please contact     for further information.
     

Sinagogue_Florencep.jpg (7189 byte)

Bibliography:
- Annie Sacerdoti, Guida al'Italia Ebraica, Marietti, Genova: 1986, English transl.  by Richard F. De Lossa, Guide to Jewish Italy, Israelowitz Publishing, Brooklyn NY: 1989.
- Dora Liscia Bemporad and Anna Marcela Tedeschi Falco, Tuscany Jewish Itineraries: Place, History and Art. Marsilio 1997.
- Umberto Fortis, Jews and synagogues: Venice, Florence, Rome, Leghorn; a practical guide, Edizioni Storti, Venezia 1973.
- Roberto G. Salvadori, Breve storia degli ebrei toscani, Le Lettere, Firenze 1995.


Surnames of the Jews of Firenze :
Most frequent surnames found in documents of the 18th-19th centuries:
Acciaioli, Ambron, Bassano, Bav, Blanes, Bolaffi, Bollaffi, Borghi,
Cabib, Caivano, Cal, Camajoli, Campagnano, Cantone, Capua, Carcasone, Carcassone, Cardoso Frias, Caro, Cassuto, Castelli, Castelnovo, Castelnuovo, Castiglione, Cetona, Chimichi, Chimici, Cividalli, Coen, Collavecchia, Consiglio, Corinaldi,
Defert, Del Maria, Della Vita, Della Pergola, Donati, D'Urbino, Fano, Fano Del Sole, Felice, Ferro, Finzi, Forte, Francini, Frias, Funaro,
Galletti, Gallichi, Gallico, Ghirone, Ginattau, Gori, Graziadio, Laid, Laid Tedesco, Lep, Leps, Levi, Levi Valle, Livi,
Mondolfi, Montefiore, Montefiori, Morelli, Moscato, Mussatti, Nact, Nepi, Orefice, Orvieto, Ottolenghi,
Pacifici, Passigli, Pegna, Perez, Pereze, Pesero, Piazza, Porzia, Prato, Procaccia, Pugliesi, Quillirici, Rav, Rimini, Romagnoli,
Sahadun, Scemel, Scialom, Segobia, Servi, Serzi, Sornaga, Soschino, Suares, Supino, Tedesco, Terni, Tivoli, Toaff,
Usigli, Uzielli, Ventura, Viterbo, Vivante, Volterra, Zevi, Zoref.

 

Isetta Masliouk and Nardo Bonomi