CIVIDALE , small town in Friuli, northeastern Italy. Erroneous interpretation of an inscription led the Jews of Cividale to boast that their ancestors had been living there from 604 b.c.e., but the first authentic evidence of Jewish settlement dates from 1239 c.e. when a rabbinical court met in Cividale. Jewish moneylenders are first mentioned in 1321. In 1336 the building of a synagogue was interrupted. Numerous tombstones dating from the 14th century have been found. In 1494 a *Monte di Pietà was opened in Cividale and moneylending by Jews was temporarily prohibited. In 1509 during the wars of the League of Cambrai against Venice, the Jews were accused by the Venetians of having aided the imperial army to enter the city, and were expelled from Cividale, but were subsequently readmitted. Renewed threats of expulsion in 1518 and 1572 were probably not carried out. In 1603 Jews were still engaged in moneylending in Cividale. The community gradually diminished after this date and subsequently ceased to exist. The name Cividal(e), common in Italian Jewry, was borne by a family originating from this place. Its best-known member was abigdor cividal (d. 1601), rabbi in Venice in 1597 and eminent talmudist.
G. Grion, Guida storica di Cividale (1899); Avneri, in: Tarbiz, 31 (1961/62), 291–6; Roth, Italy, index; Milano, Italia, index; Servi, in: Vessillo Israelitico, 47 (1899), 250–3; L. Blau, (ed.), Leone Modenas Briefe und Schriftstuecke, 2 (Ger. and Heb. 1905). add. bibliography: A. Tagliaferri, Storia e immagini di una città nel Friuli (1983), index.