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Jews of Livorno (Leghorn), Italy

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  • Amedeo Clemente di Flaminio Modigliani (1884 - 1920)
    Amedeo Clemente Modigliani (July 12, 1884 – January 24, 1920) was an Italian artist who worked mainly in France. Primarily a figurative artist, he became known for paintings and sculptures in a modern ...
  • Haham Solomon Jacob Ayllon (c.1664 - 1728)
    Solomon Ayllon (1660 or 1664 - April 10, 1728) was haham of the Sephardic congregations in London and Amsterdam, and a follower of Shabbethai Ẓebi. His name is derived from the town of Ayllon, in what ...
  • Chaim Joseph David Azulai - The Chida (1724 - 1806)
    The Chida, Chaim Joseph David ben Isaac Zerachia Azulai (1724 – 21 March 1807) (Hebrew: חיים יוסף דוד אזולאי), commonly known as the Chida (by the acronym of his name, חיד"א), was a rabbinical scholar ...
  • Elijah ben Abraham Benamozegh (1823 - 1900)
    His parents, Abraham and Clara, were originally from Fez, Morocco. His father, who was seventy-one years old when Elijah was born, died when the child was three. Under the guidance of his maternal uncl...
  • Rabbi Sabato Morais (1823 - 1897)
    “In 1851, after some hesitation, Morais left London for the United States to apply for the position of Hazan (Cantor and Reader) at Philadelphia's oldest and one of America's most prestigious congreg...

History of the Jews in Livorno (Liorne or Liorna in Ladino), Italy has been documented as far back as 1583, as immigrants from the expulsions from Spain and Portugal settled in the city. The Jewish community of Livorno, although the youngest among the historic Jewish communities of Italy, was for some time the foremost because its members achieved political rights and wealth, and contributed to scholarship in the successful port city.

The first traces of a Jewish settlement are found in documents about 1583. The Medici family, working to promote the growth of the city and of the harbor, recruited many new settlers; and Spanish Marranos also found a refuge there in 1590.

In 1591, and again in 1593, Ferdinando I de' Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany issued a charter to assure all persons desiring to settle at Livorno, including Jews, the most extensive rights and privileges. Many Jews were attracted by this promise. The Jewish community of Pisa received the privilege of founding a branch at Livorno with a synagogue and cemetery. In 1597, the Jews of Livorno received autonomous rights as a community, and they built a synagogue in 1603. . . . Continued

The history of the Jewish community of  Livorno begins with the history of the town itself. In 1577 the first stone was laid  for the construction of the city and port of Livorno. To populate the new town the Grand Duke Ferdinando I issued between 1591 and 1593 various edicts known as the "Livornine". These proclamations provided to new immigrants for tax exemption, some immunities, complete religious freedom. Jewish, Turkish and Moorish merchants where expressly invited to establish in town. Jews could own houses, open shops in all parts of the city, study at the university and did not have to wear the Jewish badge.

Thanks these provisions and due to the  central position of Livorno in the Mediterranean Sea, Jews flocked in the port and Jewish population increased and reached one eighth of the entire population of the town.

Most immigrants were Marranos and Levantines, so Spanish became the official language of the Jewish community of Livorno.

Jews who came to Livorno kept contacts with the places of origin: this increased cultural and commercial relations throughout the Mediterranean area with trade networks that lasted for centuries. In 1765, more than one-third of the 150 largest commercial houses in Livorno were owned by Jews.

For three hundred years Livorno, "the city without a ghetto",  was a point of reference for the Diaspora.

After Napoleonic dominion the port of Livorno declined in importance and begun the decreased of the Jewish population. . . . Continued

Rabbis and Scholars

Other Notables*

  • Moses Montefiore, (1784 - 1885) merchant and philanthropist
  • Amedeo Modigliani, (1884 - 1920) twentieth-century artist
  • Busnach Family Family from Livorno who settled in Algeria and gained fame and fortune as brokers of grain between the Dey of Algiers and the French government. See also Bacri family.

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