I was recently asked whether there were any other Nasi families in Italy? Only a few have surfaced, including two sisters in the late 16th century who married two of the Bassano brothers – musicians in Venice who were later invited by Henry VIII to become resident players at his court. They remained as court musicians, and the family continued as fine instrument makers in London for centuries afterwards.
Nasi is a very unusual name; genealogists think it has only ever been used by families that have ties to the original and distinguished Nasi clan that came originally to Provence from Baghdad around the time of Charlemagne (800 CE). Some later drifted south into Spain and others turn up here and there in commercial documents in northern Italy. But it is neither an Italian nor a Spanish name; nor is it an Italian-Jewish or Spanish-Jewish name. It is unique. It can only be traced to the original Nasi – the name given to the leaders of the Jews in exile who were supposed to have descended from the House of David.
Nasi means prince in Hebrew, and it is sometimes spelled Nassi. We would love to hear from anyone with that name today.