Synagogue of Casale Monferrato

Casale Monferrato, Italy

The Synagogue of Casale Monferrato was built in 1595 and is particularly known for its exquisite Baroque interior with walls and ceiling embellished with elaborate painting, carving and gilding. It is located in a narrow alleyway in the traditionally Jewish quarter of Casale Monferrato, which in the eighteenth century became the city’s ghetto. The plain building houses a clandestine synagogue, giving no indication of its purpose as a Jewish house of worship.

As in most early modern European synagogues, the synagogue was entered not directly from the street, but via a courtyard: both for reasons of security and to comply with laws requiring that the sound of Jewish worship not be audible by Christians.

Casale Monferrato is one of the few synagogues that survived in Piedmont, which once had many. Others in or close to Monferrato and the Langhe include the Biella Synagogue, the Vercelli Synagogue, and those of Asti, Alessandria, Chieri, Carmagnola, Cherasco, Moncalvo and Trino Vercellese.

In 1941, the synagogue was vandalized in the context of the Fascist persecution of Jews during World War II.

The museums

The Jewish Art and History Museum, also known as the Museum of Silverware (Museo degli Argenti), was designed by Giulio Bourbon and is located in part in the former women’s gallery of the synagogue. On display are precious silver ceremonial objects and embroidered textiles, as well as artefacts related to Jewish festivals and domestic life.

The Museum of Lights (Museo dei Lumi) occupies an underground room formerly used for baking matzot and houses a growing collection of menorahs created by contemporary Jewish and non-Jewish artists including Elio Carmi, Emanuele Luzzati, Aldo Mondino, Gabriele Levy, Marco Porta, Tobia Ravà, Antonio Recalcati and David Gerstein.

Archives

The archives include historical documents relating to the story of Jewish life in Casale and Monferrato, a collection of wedding contracts (ketubot) written on parchment and often richly decorated with drawings and symbols, the community registers, and a range of books printed between 1600 and 1900.

References:

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Details

Founded: 1595
Category: Religious sites in Italy

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.7/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Daniel Kersenti (8 months ago)
Outstanding
B T (11 months ago)
This is an amazing place to visit. So thrilled it has been preserved. Reserve your tour in advance. Absolutely worth going to Casale to see this gem, and staying overnight to see the whole area, which is wonderful.
Candacë Manske (4 years ago)
Wonderful tour in English, magnificent welcome.
Amos Adjusters (5 years ago)
You cannot come to Casale without visiting this historic monument. A good place to stop and reflect.
Itai Bass (6 years ago)
Amazing! Uniquely decorated 400+ years synagogue. Lovely welcoming people!
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