The history of the Jews of Ancona, which began before 1000 AD, spans ten centuries, as attested by the Ghetto of Astagno and the Jewish Monumental Cemetery, and the Italian rite and Levantine rite synagogues that were built and rebuilt.
We don’t know much about the early synagogues. The Italian rite synagogue was demolished because it stood too close to a Christian church, and the Levantine rite synagogue was located near a mosque in the port, the cosmopolitan part of town.
The Levantine synagogue that stands today was built in 1876 in the former ghetto. The old synagogue was demolished in 1860 by papal decree, just before the Unification of Italy.
Built in the 16th century by Rabbi Moses Basola (1480-1560), when the Jewish community flourished, the synagogue featured a monumental Baroque ark in gilded and lacquered wood topped with an onion dome; the Scrolls were enshrined behind embossed silver doors. In the 1940’s, the furniture was rearranged in Catholic-church fashion: the bimah was placed in front of the ark and surrounded by a balustrade. The benches were arranged in parallel rows facing towards the bimah.
Every year on Holocaust Remembrance Day, the synagogues welcome the public to celebrate Jewish rites and share the memory of the Holocaust.
Reasons to visit:
- A sacred place
- Located in the Jewish quarter
- A short walk from the port
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