Guide to Jewish and Kosher Italy
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Jewish Tour
Jewish Bologna Tours 

Daniela Bigatti;
If little is known about the presence of a small Jewish community in Bologna in the late Roman age, it is during the XIV century that we have certain historic evidence of the settling in the city of a few Jewish families. The community started to prosper during the XV century, becoming an important center of Jewish culture in Italy also thanks to the presence of important scholars like OvadiÓ Sforno and the founding in Bologna of some of the first Jewish printing companies of Italy. We will walk in the area of Piazza Santo Stefano and Via San Vitale, where the Jews lived and where the first synagogues were, and where some of the most important Jewish family of Bologna - like the Sforno - had their houses. The creation of a Ghetto, related to the Papacy conquest of Bologna in 1506, and the negative aftermath on the life of Bologna's Jews caused by the Church's Counter Reformation, dates back to the middle of the XVI century. We will visit the area of the Ghetto, Via de' Giudei, Via dell'Inferno, Vicolo Mandria, located in the most ancient part of Bologna's city center, just at the back of the famous medieval Two Towers. In the same area, the city's modern Jewish community and Bologna' city's Council opened in 1999 the Jewish Museum. After visiting the Ghetto area, we can reach the Museo Medievale, where are on display some sculptures and Hebrew inscriptions dating from the Renaissance, originally parts of tombs belonging to the ancient Jewish cemetery of Bologna. After the Museo medievale, crossing Bologna' s main square, Piazza Maggiore, we will reach the Archiginnasio Palace, old seat of Bologna's University (the oldest University of Europe) : a chair of Hebrew was established in the bolognese "Studium" in 1466. The modern Synagogue, dating from the XX century, is in Via Finzi, here visits are possible just on request and upon receiving permission of the Community.

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