Jewish Genealogy in Italy


Pitigliano  - The little Jerusalem


Resources of the 19th century
Surnames of the Jews of Pitigliano 

Pitigliano, at the southernmost border of Tuscany, is geographically closer to Rome than to Florence.
After the decree of the Pope of 1555, decree that forced the Jews into the ghettos in Rome and Ancona, many Jews of the Papal State escaped. Some of them simply crossed the border and stoped in the first safe, welcoming place.
Pitigliano became a destination also for the Tuscan Jews when the ghettos were established in Florence and Siena around 1570.
This country town was for some years a "land of refuge" where Jews could live in peace. For this reason the town was called among the Tuscan Jews 'La Piccola Gerusalemme' (The Little Jerusalem).
This peace came to an end in 1608, when the Orsini family ceded Pitigliano the to Medici family in exchange for the lands of Monte San Savino.

As a result, in 1622 the Jews of Pitigliano were forced into the ghetto and were required to wear distinctive badge (a red hat for men and a red sign on the sleeve for women).

The jewish community fought against these discriminatory practices which were completely new to them: between 1635 and 1747 individual Jews asked to be exonerated by the authorities. The community was often taxed to provide loans for the construction of special works.
Pitigliano, like all of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, became part of the Lorraine family dominion in 1738.
In 1799 the Jews of Pitigliano celebrated the arrival of Napoleon's troops. The gangs of "Viva Maria" reached the town with the sackings of the ghetto and arrests.

Pitigliano                Pitigliano
The phenomenon of urban migration was very strong anong the Jews of Pitigliano, who left the town to move to Florence, specially when Firenze became the capital of Italy. It only look a few years for the community to nearly cease to exist (see the table below). The memory of its past, however, did not disappear.


Number of Jews in Pitigliano:
1576 50
1608 110
1644 150
1672 180
1773 200
1841 359
1858 420
1860 260
1900 250
1938 70
1948 40

Resources of the 19th  century:
List of records that can be found for the Jews of Pitigliano:

Births Matrimonies Dearths Other
1815 - 1816 1815 - 1816 1815 - 1816 Census of 1841
1818 - 1835 1818 - 1850
1835 - 1850 1851 - 1858 1855-1865 Census of 1861
1853 - 1865 1857 - 1865
1865 - 2000 1865 - 2000 1865 - 2000


Jewish Cemetery. The old pictoresque Jewish cemetery is located at the base of the rock. The cemetery part carved in the tufa stone has been recently restaurated. Please contact for information on the tomb-stones. Pitigliano, the Cemetery

- 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.
- Roberto G. Salvadori, Breve storia degli ebrei toscani, Le Lettere, Firenze 1995.

Surnames of the Jews of Pitigliano :
Most frequent surnames found in documents of the 18th-19th centuries:
Ay, Barroccia, Bechini, Bemporad, Cabibbe, Camerino, Capua, Coen, Colombo, Console, Dina, Funaro, Gallichi
Lates, Lates, Levi, Montefiore, Moscati, Moscato, Nepi, Nissin, Orvieti, Pace, Paggi, Pergola, Piazza
Sadun, Servi, Servo Servi, Sicchi, Sonnino, Sorani, Sorani, Sorani, Spizzichino, Tedeschi, Urbino, Ventura, Vitali

Isetta Masliouk 1997