Friday, July 06, 2007

Urbino synagogue

Not many people know that in Urbino there's a synagogue, less people know that in Urbino there are actually two, I was lucky enough to see both (well, see one and lurk at the other one from a window in a building under restauration) a few days ago.

I went with some guests from the Locanda to meet Mrs Moscati - she has the keys of the "new" synagogue (it was built in 1633, when the "old" one was abandoned because, after Urbino passed from the Della Rovere family to the Pope, the Jewish population in Urbino was relocated into the newly established ghetto).
The Urbino synagogue is a quite anonimous building just inside Porta Valbona.

I spent a most beautiful morning visiting the "new" synagogue and then looking for the place where the "old" one still stands and trying to have a look at it. The University of Urbino recently bought the building and is renewing it and we had to sneak into a nearby building to take a glimpse of the courtyard.
I didn't take any picture of the synagogue but I will ask the guests that were with me to send me some so that I can post them here.

The synagogue can be visited but the visit has to be arranged with Mrs Moscati.

The torah ark of the old Urbino synagogue is currently the oldest existing in the world and it's one of the highlights of the Jewish museum in New York.

Le Marche region has a long and interesting Jewish history and many towns still have a lively Jewish community, such as Senigallia and Ancona.
In Pesaro the Sephardic synagogue can be visited some Thursdays and Fridays in July and August.


Anonymous said...

Giulia! This is the first time I'm visiting your blog. Well done! And the pics are a wonderful reminder of the countryside around Urbino. Thanks, David from SlowTrav

Chajm said...

Thank you, Giulia for the nice picture. I took some from the other side of the building years ago. Unfortunately I wasn't able to see the interior. I hope I will be able to come back some day to visit Urbino (a very nice place) and it's synagogue again...

Giulia said...

There's a wide Jewish tradition in Le Marche, mostly sepharadic (sp?) and Italian and very beautiful synagogues in Ancona, Pesaro, Senigallia and millions of "hidden stories" about the times before the Pope's political influence on the area, but since the communities are not very numerous and active nowadays even most of the local population do not know a lot about this very important bit of the region's past (and present).
Should you make it to Urbino I'll be glad to help you contact the lady who keeps the keys of the Synagogue so that you'll be able to visit it (and she knows a lot about all things Jewish in the region!).

Chajm said...

The jewish history of the different italian regions is very interesting. Thank you for your offer. I'll try to keep it in mind - of course I'll do!

I'll take plenty of SD-cards for my digital cam...

Malka said...

Hi! I will be visiting Urbino in April, and would like to know how to gain access to the synagogues. Could you please let me have the phone number of the woman who has the keys to the synagogue? As I will be in Urbino for one day only, I would love to have this information so that I can plan my day appropriately. Thank you in advance for your help. Amalia

My e-mail address is as follows: