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SABBIONETA, town in Lombardy, Italy, in the former duchy of *Mantua. Jewish settlement in Sabbioneta dates from the 15th century. In 1436 the brothers Azariah and Meshullam, the sons of Joab of Pisa, arrived there to found the third bank of the duchy of Mantua. On Feb. 10, 1530, the adventurer David *Reuveni visited the town and stayed in the home of Eleazar *Portaleone. From the 16th century, the Jewish population of Sabbioneta constantly increased. In 1746 the town came under Austrian rule. In 1779, in the reign of Maria *Theresa, the first attempt was made to abolish the judicial autonomy of the Mantuan communities, including Sabbioneta. Rabbis and scholars of Sabbioneta including Azriel b. Solomon *Dienna, Johanan b. Joseph *Treves, and Joseph b. Jacob Padua Ashkenazi.


Sabbioneta is best known, however, for its Hebrew press, which was founded in 1551 by Joseph b. Jacob Shalit of Padua and Jacob b. Naphtali of Gazzuala, in the house of Tobias b. Eliezer *Foa. In 1553 Foa became sole owner of the press, with Cornelio *Adelkind as the printing expert, and Joshua Boaz Baruch as corrector and setter. After Adelkind converted to Christianity, Foa's sons, Eliezer and Mordecai, took his place; 26 books were issued, including the first printed edition of Isaac Abrabanel's Mirkevet ha-Mishneh (1551), before the press was compelled to close down in 1559. A proposed edition of the Talmud did not go beyond one tractate (Kiddushin, 1553), and a Mishnah edition with Maimonides' and Bertinoro's commentaries was not printed beyond the order Zera'im and part of Mo'ed (1558); the rest appeared in Mantua.

In 1567 Vicenzo Conti, the gentile printer of *Cremona, who had served his apprenticeship with Foa at Sabbioneta, left Cremona and in that year printed a number of works at Sabbioneta.


S. Simonsohn, Toledot ha-Yehudim be-Dukkasut Mantovah, 2 vols. (1962–64), index. HEBREW PRINTING. D.W. Amram, Makers of Hebrew Books in Italy (1909), 288ff., 316; H.D. Friedberg, Ha-Defus ha-Ivri be-Italyah… (19562), 76ff.; A. Ya'ari, Meḥkerei Sefer (1958), 345ff.; idem, in: KS, 17 (1940/41), 393ff.; Sonne, ibid., 4 (1927/28), 269ff.; 7 (1930/31), 275f.; 8 (1931/32), 513, 519.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.