Everyone knows Italy is a Roman Catholic country with some religious minorities. Many Italophiles are aware of the ghetto in Rome and Venice but very few people know that the Italian Jews have been living in the boot since the Roman times!
|the beautiful Moorish Turin synagogue|
Piedmont wise, the first documents that registered the Jewish presence in the region date back to 1400, however, the Jewish community was already present before.
Because Spain and its colonies in Italy (notably Sicily and Naples) and the Duchy of Milan chased their historical Jewish communities, starting in 1430, Piedmont officially welcomed and protected them.
Bear in mind that up until 1861, Italy wasn't 1 unified kingdom but a patchwork of smaller states and historically there are no Jewish communities Rome south.
|map of the Jewish communities in Piedmont|
Through the media we are all familiar with groups like: Ashkenazi, Sephardi and Mizrahi. A wonderful movie also has helped spreading the word about the Ethiopian Jews and naturally, there are many other groups around the world, included in China.
September marks the beginning of a series of Jewish holidays like: Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement and Sukkot or the 7-day harverst time holiday or the 'hut holiday'.
September 10th was the European Day of Jewish Culture and very practically, this meant that all the Italian synagogues were open to the public so that the gentiles or non-Jews could learn about the Jewish culture.
|inside the main temple or tempio grande|
In Piedmont, the oldest synagogue is in Casale Monferrato, in the heart of the Unesco World Heritage Site Monferrato wine district, next to Langhe, and home of famous brands like Borsalino (fashion statement man's hats), Bianchi (racing bicycles) and the Valenza Oro Fair (world hub of jewelry makers, precious stone cutters and goldsmiths. All the big international jewelry brands buy their stones in Valenza, Piedmont!).
Turin has a very interesting story too as the city's symbol Mole Antonelliana was actually supposed to be THE Turin synagogue.
|1700 German closet painted black to mourn the King Charles Albert's death|
|so beautiful and unique, you just can't miss it!|
How much has the Turin Jewish community shrunk ?
|you can see where they read the Torah scrolls in the middle and the lit candles in front of the ark|
9 is an important number
|so many Ottolenghis!!|
|one of the display cases in the lower temple underground|
|1750 wedding contract|
|Hanukkah 2015 in Piazza Carignano, Turin|