The White Tower in Salonika before 1866



     Welcome to the website of










Our 4th Family Reunion

was held in Paris

from June 23 to 26, 2011 and was a great success.

See a full report by

clicking HERE.


8-plus edition – ATHENS 2011


This is the revised, corrected and updated on-line version of the book published by Mario Modiano in the year2000 about the genealogical story of the Modiano family from the 16th century to our days.

See The Story.





Modigliana -- where it all began: This small village northeast of Florence in Italy gave the Modianos their family name. Tuscany was the family’s springboard to Salonika.  Research in Italy led Prof. Michele Luzzati of Pisa University to formulate a new theory about the origin of the Modillano/ Modiano family. See Appendix.





First there were the Modillano rabbis who fathered five major branches (See Genealogy I). Then there were some 20 branches that surely evolved from the same rabbis, but whose lines left many gaps that are still being researched (Genealogy II). The most prominent among the Modianos were Saul Modiano, landowner and banker, the richest man in the Ottoman Empire; and his cousin Saul Daniel Modiano of Trieste whose playing cards as well as advertising posters for cigarette paper are still popular today.





Family reunions: Here is a group picture of the Naples regional reunion in 2006. Our first family gathering was in Mexico City in 2004. Modiano I took place in Florence in 2005; Modiano II in Salonika 2007; Modiano III in Israel 2009 and Modiano IV in Paris 2011!





The first results of the Modiano DNA project undertaken by the Tor Vergata University of Rome tend to confirm many findings of the genealogical research. The project has been put aside because of the lack of funds, but we hope it can be resumed with your help. See DNA Project




Mystery Man!  Who are all these Modianos who managed to escape the wide net cast by this genealogical research?

Please help us track them down and welcome them on our family tree.

See Unknown Modianos





The family tree contains 3,200 names of Modianos, spouses, and descendants from 1570 to our days. The lists are by no means complete. Therefore any help in filling in the gaps is more than welcome.



The Author is a former foreign correspondent of The Times of London. This book contains the results of a genealogical research that began in 1991. The book was printed in October 2000 in a limited edition and was never on sale. Copies were presented to libraries worldwide but mainly to members of the Modiano family who live today in more than 17 countries of four continents. The current version is the 7rh edition of the original and includes important revisions and additions.






Acrobat Reader

The book is in Acrobat format (.pdf)

in order to preserve the integrity of

the graphics. Click below for a free

download of Acrobat Reader 9.





Please note

Chapters are best explored through bookmarks (View/Navigation Panels/Bookmarks).

When using links, you can go back to where you were by pressing ALT+left arrow.




E-mail contact address:




A Brief Description of the Book


The book does not tell the history of the

Modiano family and its more than 3,200 members. It attempts to explore family origins and reconstruct its genealogical fabric. The text is interspersed with biographies of Modianos who achieved prominence or whose life was particularly interesting or unusual.

The main premise is that the Modianos had no hereditary surname when they settled in Italy. Where they came from, is still a moot point. They may have come from Spain, or they may have been descendants of the Hebrew captives brought to Rome by the Roman Army after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 C. E.

Whichever it is, one of their ancestors resided in Modigliana, a township on the foothills of the Apennines northeast of Florence. The family name, originally Modigliano, then Modiano, describes one who comes from Modigliana. In the 16th century members of the family migrated to Salonika which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.

We find a family of Modillano rabbis in Salonika as early as the end of the 1500s. The origins and the name of the family are dealt with in the first part of the book (The Story).

The research did not tie up all the loose ends. There are five principal branches that can trace their ancestry back to the Salonika rabbis and a score of independent branches dating from the early 19th century. Outline genealogical trees for each branch are given at the end of every chapter.  There follows an Epilogue, a collection of Old Documents, and an Appendix containing some interesting texts including a  report on the theory of Prof. Michele Luzzati about the origins of the Modianos. This section concludes with a list of Acknowledgements and Credits.

Four features deserve particular attention:

(1)        The preliminary results of the Modiano Family DNA Project conducted by the Tor Vergata University of Rome, confirming already to some extent the findings of the genealogical research.

(2)        There is a full section on our international and regional family reunions with detailed descriptions.

(3)        A simple but searchable family tree with some 3,200 names of Modianos, spouses and descendants, makes it easier to locate family members. This was updated in May 2011

(4)        Help is solicited in identifying “Unknown Modianos” from a list of names (obtained from a variety of sources) so that they may be identified and find their place on the Modiano family tree.