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RIETI (da Rieti, Rietti, Arieti (?)), family of bankers in Italy originating from the town of Rieti, located in the Latium region. First mentioned in the 14th century, some of the family moved from their town of origin to Rome, Florence, Siena, Bologna, and Mantua. One of its leading members was ISAAC RIETI (Maestro Gaio) father of Moses b. Isaac *Rieti. From 1469 to 1473, the physician MICHAEL BEN JUDAH DA RIETI lived in Terni; the family is found in the 15th century in Mantua, Rieti, Perugia, Rome, and Cesena. Around 1480, Moses ben Elchanan da Rieti established himself in Siena as a loan banker; his son LAUDADIO ISHMAEL continued his father's activity, while his brothers went to Bologna. This branch of the Da Rieti had strong family ties with another important family of Jewish bankers, the Da *Pisa. He also founded a small yeshivah, headed by Joseph d'Arles from 1537, followed by Isaac Lattes in 1552; Ismael also hosted Johanan b. Joseph *Treves. He established other loan banks in Tuscany, and probably exercised a certain degree of authority over the other Jewish bankers of the region. Due to the difficult situation in Siena after a popular insurrection, the family obtained the authorization to found a bank in Pisa (1547), until then forbidden to the Jews as in all the Duchy of Florence. Ishmael was on friendly terms with Duke Cosimo Medici and in high favor with Donna Benvenida Abrabanel. He gave hospitality to the pseudo-messiah David *Reuveni (1526), but did not show any enthusiasm for Reuveni's programs and refused to give him financial assistance. He undertook various philanthropic activities, followed in this by his son MOSES DA RIETI. When a hostile movement broke out against the Jews in Empoli (Tuscany), as a result of the prohibition by the Church against Christians engaging in trade with Jews and doing work for them on their Sabbath, Moses gave the money necessary to send a Jewish delegation to Rome and obtain from the pope a bull in favor of the Jews of Empoli. With his brothers, SIMONE and ANGELO, Moses used his influence with Cosimo to prevent the seizure of the Talmud ordered by Paul IV. At that time, SOLOMON MOSES DA RIETI was practicing in Rome as a physician.

An important branch of the family moved from Siena to Bologna where, in 1546, ELHANAN BEN ISAAC ELIAKIM DA RIETI was buried; his tombstone is preserved at the University of Bologna. In this town lived also, in 1556, Moses' nephew, son of Isaac, ASAEL RAPHAEL RIETI, father of ELIJAH ISAAC and HANANIAH ELIAKIM (1561–1623) the pupil of Judah b. Joseph Moscato. He served as rabbi of Mantua (1589) and Luzzara (1604) and was active in establishing the Shomerim la-Boker society in Mantua. Also a ḥazzan, he composed prayers and liturgical poems, many of which are included in the Ayyelet ha-Shaḥar (Mantua, 1612); others, especially for the morning of Hoshana Rabbah, form the Mekiẓ Redumim (Mantua, 1648), published, with an autobiographical foreword, by his son DAVID NAPHTALI; other liturgical poems have been collected in the Minḥat Ḥananyah, still in manuscript (Bibl. Oxford). In his compositions Hananiah harmoniously blended the elements from earlier *piyyutim with those of his time. Other talmudic and ritualistic works (Peri Megadim; Sedeh Levanon; Seder Tappuḥim) have not yet been published. His wife Malkah studied the laws of sheḥitah with R. Solomon ben Samson Basilea who allowed her to practice (1581): as is recorded in various responsa.

The heirs of MORDECAI BEN ISAAC DA RIETI opened one of the five loan banks authorized by the duke of Mantua; other members of the family were in Scandiano, under the house of Este. SIMONE DA RIETI was a member, in 1590, of the Jewish delegation which discussed the placing of the Talmud on the papal index of prohibited books. In the 17th century there lived in Siena JOSEPH BEN SHABBETAI ELHANAN, rabbi and copyist. ELIEZER BEN ISAAC RIETI, a pupil of the yeshivah of *Conegliano, published in Venice in 1612 a Lu'ah Ma'amarei Ein Yisrael ("alphabetical index of Ein Yisrael"); another of his works was on the Kelalei ha-Talmud. Still in Venice HEZEKIAH BEN GABRIEL RIETI published in the "Lingua Tosca" ("Tuscan Language") an Italian translation of the Book of Proverbs dedicated partly to SERENA RIETI of Mantua; the book is preceded by a letter dedicated to Ria and Isaiah Massarani. In this period members of the Rieti family lived also in Padua, where in 1706 AARON VITA DI ANGELO, from the region of Veneto, received a doctorate in medicine and philosophy. In the 19th century, the painter ARTURO RIETI of Trieste was noteworthy. VITTORIO RIETI (1898–1994) was an important composer of ballet scores (The Ball, 1929, produced by S. Diaghilev, choreography by G. Balanchine, scenery and costumes by G. De Chirico), opera, and a variety of instrumental combinations in the tonal and neo-classical style; from 1948 to 1964 he was a teacher in American music academies and conservatories. His son FABIO RIETI (1925– ) painted murals in Paris and other French cities ("Les piétons des Halles"; Les fenêtres de Beaubourg"). FABIO's son NICKY RIETI (1947– ) worked as a stage designer for the major French and Italian theaters (Opéra Bastille; La Scala).

The genealogy of the family, reconstructed by M. Vogelstein and P. Rieger (Vogelstein-Rieger, 74), was completed by U. Cassuto (Gli Ebrei a Firenze … (1918), 349, n. 6), S. Simonsohn (Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Dukkasut Mantovah; 1964, 544 n. 305), and Y. Boksenboim (Iggerot Beit Rieti, 1988).


Milano, Bibliotheca, index; Milano, Italia, index; D. Kaufmann, in: REJ, 26 (1893), 90–91; S.H. Margulies, in: RI, 3 (1903), 104–5, 154; Mortara, Indice, 54; I. Levy, in: Vessillo Israelitico, 53 (1905), 507ff.; U. Cassuto, Gli Ebrei a Firenze… (1918), index; idem, in: Ha-Ẓofeh, 7 (1924), 36–43; C. Roth, in: RMI, 5 (1930/31), 297; idem, Jews in the Renaissance (1959), index; E. Loevinsohn, in: Annuario di studi ebraici, 2 (1937), 125ff.; E. Castelli, I Banchi feneratizi ebraici nel mantovano (1959), index; A. Modena and E. Morpurgo, Medici e chirurghi ebrei dottorati e licenziati nell'Università di Padova… (1967), 69; Vogelstein-Rieger, index; G. Bedarida, Ebrei d'Italia (1948), index; S. Simonsohn, Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Dukkasut Mantovah, 2 vols. (1962–64), index. HANANIAH: M. Steinschneider, Jewish Literature… (19652); C. Dushinsky, in: Occident and Orient… Gaster Anniversary Volume (1936), 96f. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: M. Steinschneider, in: RMI, 38 (1972), 406–23, 487–99; A. Marx, in Koveẓ Mada'i le-Zekher Moshe Shur (1945), 271ff.; M. Cassandro, Gli ebrei e il prestito ebraico a Siena nel Cinquecento (1979); Y. Boksenboim, Iggerot Beit Rieti (1988); R. Crevier (ed.), Fabio Rieti. Peinture textes et errances (1992).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.