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The Synagogue and the Jewish Ghetto

The settlement of the Jewish ghetto dates back to the second half of the XVII century.

Address and contacts

Via dell'Aquila, 3 - 42121 Reggio Emilia
+39 0522 456477 (Municipal museums offices)
+39 0522 437327 (Istoreco)
E.S.T.E.R.
GiraReggio

Opening times

The synagogue is open only on the occasions of exhibition or other planned events.
Extraordinary visits are possible upon previous phone arrangement only.

How to get there

The synagogue is in the town centre in the former ghetto. See the map above.

Historical notes

At the beginning of the XV century the first Jewish families were given permission by the Senate to settle in our town to exercise the interest-money loan; this activity was prohibited to Christians then. The ghetto was officially established in 1555, as per Pope Paul IV's bull "Com nimis absurdum". Duchess Martinozzi, Duke Alfonso IV's widow and State's regent in the name of her minor son Francesco II, decided that Reggio Emilia Jews, "dispersos per urbem" till then, be obliged to reside in the currently called streets: San Rocco, Caggiati, della Volta, dell'Aquila, Monzermone.
The Synagogue was built in 1672. After some interventions that, within two centuries, had tried to redefine the building's sacred image and its decorative aspects, in 1849 architect Domenico Marchelli was entrusted with the task of rebuilding the temple. January 15, 1858 the Synagogue was unveiled. After World War II, as Reggio Emilia's Jewish Community joined Modena's, the temple lost its religious importance; besides, the recent restorations still showed the consequences of the World War II bombings. Despite its previous state of neglect, it was easy to recognize the original decorative structure by the wide hall, in semielliptical room through Ionic columns that are repeated in the shape of pilaster strips. In the traces of the dome vaults are painting decorations. The restorations, promoted by the Reggio Emilia Town Council, has been complete; preservation and reinforcement have been made not only according to an aesthetic point of view, but also in respect of the place's original rules.