BASSANO , small town in Veneto (Northern Italy). The first mention of Jews in Bassano is from a document of October 7, 1264; a certain Aicardo was said to own a vineyard. Only from the beginning of the 15th century, when Bassano passed over to Venetian rule, is there more information. A certain Calimano had a bank in the town in 1404. Venetian authorities allowed Jews to settle in the town. However, moneylenders could only stay for a short time. Via Bricito was known as Via dei Zudei, because of the presence of many Jewish banking establishments. A notarial deed of 1435 reveals, however, that by then Jews resided in all parts of the city. Freedom of worship was granted by the Venetian Republic, but Jews were not allowed to have a synagogue and had to observe their festivals "in the houses in which they dwelled." Relations between the local population and the Jews were quite good. Once in 1486 some Bassano city dwellers attended a Jewish wedding. They were excommunicated by church authorities, but the town council had the excommunication repealed. It is not known if Bassano Jews had to wear the yellow badge, obligatory according to the Venetian decree of 1429. The preaching of Bernardino da Feltre and the creation of *monti di pietà (savings and loan agencies) in 1423 brought a decline to the Jewish community. In 1468, a decree of perpetual banishment was issued against them. Nevertheless they returned. In 1475, following the ritual murder charge concerning Simon of *Trent, the municipality of Bassano requested permission from Venice to expel the Jews. They were banished again by the city council in 1481. However, they were soon readmitted. During the War of the League of Cambrai (1508), the Jews in Bassano paid a heavy tribute, but this did not prevent their expulsion from Bassano at the end of the war in 1509. The banks, however, closed completely only around 1510.
G. Chiuppani, Gli ebrei a Bassano (1907); Roth, Italy, index; Milano, Italia, index. add. bibliography: F. Brandes, Venice Jewish Itineraries (1996), 24–27; A.M. Piattelli, "Frammenti e manoscritti ebraici negli archivi di stato a Bassano e Verona," in: Italia, 11 (1994), 81–102.
[Attilio Milano /
Samuel Rocca (2nd ed.)]