Under the protection of the Gonzaga dukes, Jewish life flourished in the city of Mantua during the course of centuries. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, come 7000 Jews lived in the city, representing 8% of the population. Nevertheless the walls of the ghetto, established in 1612, fell only with the arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers. Unfortunately, not much remains of this rich and prestigious Jewish past.
Only one of the original six synagogues of the city remains, and has been restored to its original appearance. However, the Jewish quarter and much of the old city center were modernized at the beginning of the twentieth century. The synagogue is a faithful copy of the Norsa Torrazzo Temple and is classified as a national monument. The wall decorations, the sumptuous aronot, and the early eighteenth century tevot are original and attest to the past splendor of this community.