The Jews of Italy were not the only ones to adopt family symbols, but in Italy the custom was much more prevalent than amongst Jews anywhere else. Two factors contributed to this phenomenon: In Italy, due to the lack of unity and the split into several political entities, a set of rules for the use of family symbols was never developed, as it did in other countries. In England for example, to this very day, the right to “bear arms” (i.e., to have a family symbol) is a privilege granted only by the king or queen, and is reserved for individuals of virtue, usually members of the nobility and the upper class. the symbols are registered in a special registry and no two families may share one symbol. In Italy there were no such laws, thus allowing anyone who felt important enough and had the means to afford such costly decorations, to adopt a symbol for himself and his family. Also, the Jews of Italy were much more integrated and involved within the general – Christian – population, than Jews elsewhere in Europe. Some believe Italian Jews adopted family symbols mainly out of
a desire to emulate their environment.
The influence of general society on Italian Jews is evident here not only by the adoption of the custom, but also in the design and
content of the symbols; while many of the family symbols of Italian Jews borrowed their representations from the Jewish world, there
are also some that do not reveal the origin of the family. In these cases, if they were detached from objects of a Jewish character, we might not be able to guesse that they belonged to Jewish families.
Moreover, in the absence of a legal series on the issue of family symbols in Italy and in the absence of an orderly registration, there were sometimes several families who had the same symbol, and on the other hand there were families who held more than one
symbol, whether following family relocation or two family united, Sometimes it is difficult to attribute each symbol to a particular family.
Either way, the custom of holding a family symbol became a common practice among Italian Jews, and their use of symbols on the
objects they placed after them reveals time and time again that despite the duplications and changes, beyond symbolism, family
symbols were of real social importance. Their owners.