Manuscript Number: ljs379
Version: Mar/02/2001Medici, Ferdinando I De’, [Document Inviting Jewish Merchants to Settle in Livorno and Pisa], in Italian. Manuscript on Vellum.
Florence, Italy, 10 June 1593
12 folios, 6(2), blind ruled with 2 vertical and 22 horizontal lines, 22 lines, pen and ink rendition of the Medici arms on 1, inhabited initial on 1v, spray of flowers on 12, minor fraying to blank edges on last 3 folios, written in a large italic script in black ink, justification: 190 x 125mm., 7 line heading on 1v, closing line on 12, chapter numbers and major initials in Roman script, contemporary Italian blind-ruled brown goatskin over pasteboard, two pairs of red linen ties, leather covering of uppermost spine compartment split, some worming to paper endleaves, lacking one pair of ties, 257 x 200 mm.
Incipit: A tutti voi mercanti di qualsivoglia, nationale, levantini, e e’ponentini spagnioli, porroghesi, Greci, todeschi, & Italiani, hebrei, turchi, e ‘Mori, Armenii Persiani, e altri saluto.
Arthur Kiron calls this document "one of the single most important documents of early modern history, indeed-the legal foundation of Jewish tolerance in early modern Europe …It is the ‘Livornina’ – which granted Jews the right to settle in Livorno and give them unprecedented protections during a period of inquisition and expulsions dating from the end of the 15th century."
By this act of 10 June 1593, the Grand Duke of Tuscany invited foreign merchants and especially Jews, including Marranos from Spain, to settle in Livorno and Pisa and defining their rights and privileges. The promulgation of this edict lead directly to the development of the city as a major Italian port and as an important center of Italian Jewish life through several centuries.
Although the document is addressed to ‘Levantines’, Spaniards, Portuguese, Greeks, Germans, Italians, ‘Hebrews’, Turks, Moors, Armenians, Persians and others, it was really addressed to the Jews of these nations and concerns itself with the safeguards and privileges to be granted to the Jews who responded. There are 44 Roman numbered clauses which include amnesty for offenses committed previously, freedom from debts incurred elsewhere, free safe conduct in Livorno, the right to conduct business throughout Tuscany, the same rights and privileges to conduct foreign trade as others in Tuscany and protection from any extraordinary levies beyond the usual taxes, exemption from the regulations applied to Jews living in Florence and Siena. Additionally, the Jewish community of Livorno was granted considerable powers of self-government and was given the right to build and maintain a synagogue and a cemetery, to observe Jewish holidays. Jews would be permitted to own printed of manuscript books so long as the text has been reviewed by the inquisition, to obtain an education including obtaining doctorates. Jewish doctors may practice without restriction and may care for Christians and Jews may employ Christian servants and wet-nurses. Finally Jews may own real estate, heads of households have the same right as other Tuscans to bear arms and the Jews of Livorno are not required to wear identifying insignia.
Dr. Arthur Kiron, private letter and dissertation; Renzo Toaff, La Nazione Ebrea a Livorno e Pisa (1591-1700), Florence: 1990, pp. 41-8, 419-35; Bernard Dov Cooperman, Trade and Settlement: The Establishment of the Jewish Communities of Leghorn and Pisa, Cambridge: Harvard University, 1976 (unpublished dissertation), pp. 124-247 and chapter 4; Christie’s, N.Y., 19 May 2000, lot 229.