As in many cities in the region, the Jewish presence developed in the late Middle Ages.
Their presence in commercial and cultural circles grew relatively according to the policy applied to them by the political and religious authorities.
When the city of Cento, as well as the entire Duchy of Ferrara, came under papal jurisdiction, the Jews had to settle in a ghetto, which was formed mainly in the city centre in the 1630’s. In Via Provenzali and Via Malagodi, about a hundred Jews lived there.
A synagogue already existed before the establishment of the ghetto and was restored in the 19th century.
Other places of Jewish study were established in the 17th century. The main professional activities of the Jews of Cento were different types of crafts, trade and banking.
Among the personalities originating from the town, it seems that the family of the illustrious British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli was among them. The sociologist Leone Carpi was a citizen of the city in the 19th century.
Although the Jewish community did not recover after the war, in the last twenty years the Cento ghetto has been restored thanks to the efforts of the city, allowing the rediscovery of the traces of the city’s Jewish cultural heritage. The arch of the synagogue was transferred to the Israeli city of Netanya in 1954.