Italian city; capital of the province of Pesaro e Urbino; originally the capital of the duchy of Urbino, and later a portion of the States of the Church. Jews seem to have resided in the city as early as the thirteenth century, Abraham Abulafia having sojourned there; but existing documents make no mention of them until the following century, in the first decades of which a certain Maestro Daniele went from Viterbo to Urbino, where he opened a loan-office. Toward the close of the same century his son Isaac received privileges from Count Antonio. During the following century the Urbino Jews increased in prosperity; but their gain in numbers was small. The privilege of lending money at interest was reserved to the descendants of Maestro Daniele. Other Jews who wished to establish themselves in the business were obliged to obtain permission from the rulers and the privileged families. In 1430 Sabbatuccio di Alleuzzo, a Jew of Recanati, was obliged to guarantee the paymentof a yearly tax of 500 scudi to these families before he was allowed to open a banking-house in Urbino. With these exceptions, the city contained only a few Jews, who were either physicians or were engaged in the humbler branches of trade.
Until the beginning of the sixteenth century the Jews of Urbino were permitted to buy, hold, and sell real estate; to deal in metals and paper, and to follow the trades of tailoring and tanning; to reside in all portions of the city; and to employ Christian servants. They were, however, subject to special taxation, for in addition to the ordinary taxes and the "impost of the Marches," levied on all the Jews of those districts, the money-lenders paid a separate tax, though one of them, Solomon of Urbino, stood high in the favor of Duke Frederick.
Toward the close of the fifteenth century and in the beginning of the sixteenth the Jews became the objects of popular persecution. In the year 1468 a Monte di Pietà was established in opposition to them; but as it loaned money to the very poor only, and allowed but 4 florins every six months to each person, the Jews still maintained their banks, and at the end of the century they obtained from Guido Ubaldo a ratification of their former privileges. So great was their increase in numbers and influence, moreover, that in 1507 an effort was made to check them. The sale of pledges outside the city was forbidden; and a committee was appointed to revise and limit their prerogatives. Then began the promulgation of a series of decrees against them, which, however, being issued merely to conciliate the papal see, produced little effect. On May 20, 1508, Duke Francesco Maria annulled all the privileges granted by his predecessors, and forbade the Jews to acquire real estate or to act as bankers. He compelled them to restore without interest all pledges in their possession, to wear the Badge (which consisted of a yellow cap for men and a yellow veil for women), and to purchase food in the evening only.The Ghetto.
Shortly afterward the Jews, who then numbered about 500, were obliged to take up their abode in a separate quarter, known as the "Androne delle Giudei," and were forbidden to employ Christians as servants. Despite these harsh measures, the Jewish bankers continued to prosper, increasing both in numbers and in influence. At length, in 1512, the municipal council resumed the practise of borrowing money from them, and sometimes, as in 1571, even pledged to them articles received from the monte di pietà. In 1598, however, a new decree was issued against lending money; but an edict published by the duke in the following year mentions the Jews of Urbino, "who conduct loan establishments," and laws enacted in the same year also allude to them.
In 1529 Solomon Molko was brought from Ancona to Urbino by the duke, who sought to shield him from the consequences of a dispute in which this protégé had been involved in the market-place of Urbino. A Jew named Moses was for many years the municipal physician of Urbino; and the court of Guido Ubaldo contained many Jewish courtiers, who were treated as the equals of their Christian confrères, although they were so unpopular with the people that it became necessary to promulgate special decrees for their protection (1549-1624).
In 1556 Guido Ubaldo offered asylum in his territories, especially at Pesaro, to the Maranos who had fled from Ancona on account of the persecutions there, hoping thus to attract to Pesaro the commerce of the East. When, however, he saw that his hopes were vain, he expelled the refugees in June, 1558. For the same reason he welcomed the Jews banished from the Pontifical States in 1569, only to drive them out in March, 1570, at the instance of Pius V.; and when some ventured to return, he banished them a third time (Aug. 16, 1571).
Urbino then entered upon a period of financial decay; and the Jews began to leave the city. The condition of those who remained became worse and worse; and the taxes levied upon them were gradually discontinued. At length, through the abdication of Francesco Maria II. della Rovere in 1627, the duchy of Urbino passed into the hands of the pope, thus precipitating the dissolution of the Jewish community. In 1718 the number of its members was reduced to 200, almost all being so sunk in poverty that they petitioned the pope to exempt them from contributing toward the payment of the debts of the Roman Jews, reminding him that on a former occasion, had he not extended aid to them, they would have been obliged to leave the city and seek their fortunes elsewhere. The history of the Jews of Urbino at that period was identical with that of their coreligionists throughout the Pontifical States. They obtained civic equality at the time of the French Revolution, but lost it at the restoration, receiving it again when the Marches were annexed to the kingdom of Italy (1866). The synagogue of Urbino was owned partly by Catholics until 1851, when it was acquired by the Jews, and, later, was restored and beautified. The decay of the community continued, however, until in the year 1870 there were but 181 Jews in the city, while in 1901 there were only 92.Rabbis.
Among the noted rabbis of Urbino may be mentioned the following: Solomon b. Abraham b. Solomon (15th and 16th cents.); Samuel b. Abraham Corcos, Ephraim Mahalaleel Porto, Zechariah b. Ephraim Porto, Solomon b. Moses Rocca, Jedidiah b. Hezekiah Saba' (17th cent.); Jedidiah Ḥayyim Guglielmi(18th cent.); Mattithiah Nissim b. Jacob Israel Terni (18th and 19th cents.); and Isaac Joseph Cingoli (19th cent.).
- Ravà, in Educatore Israelità, 1870, p. 312;
- Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, ii. 54, 108;
- Berliner's Magazin, xvii. 229;
- Güdemann, Gesch. ii. 179;
- Grätz, Gesch. 2d ed., ix. 350 et seq., 361 et seq., 382;
- R. E. J. xvi. 61 et seq., xx. 47 et seq.;
- Joseph ha-Kohen, 'Emeḳ ha-Baka, ed. Wiener, p. 108;
- Luzzatto, Banchieri Ebrei in Urbino nell' Età Ducale.