Italy / The Marches

San Severino

San Severino. Photo by Lasagnolo9 – Wikipedia

San Severino is a Roman town, with architectural traces of the different periods, especially the medieval and Renaissance ones. Administrative documents attest to a Jewish presence dating back to at least the 13th century.

The Fonte dei Giudei, literally “the fountain of the Jews”, built in 1295, is a sign of this antiquity. It has since been renamed Fonte del Casale.

From the 14th century onwards, their economic activities were regulated by the local authorities and their freedom of worship was guaranteed. They were granted a piece of land that could be used as a Jewish cemetery. Not limited to the trade of pawnbrokers, they were able to diversify and practise all sorts of professions. These included cattle trading, crafts and medicine.

Piazza del Popolo, San Severino. Photo by Mirko Scoccia – Wikipedia

Nevertheless, in 1555, the Jews were forced to live in a ghetto in the San Lorenzo district, near the church of San Rocco. Expelled from San Severino in 1569, the Jews could only return for specific economic activities related to the local fairs.

Sources : Marche Jewish Itineraries by Maria Luisa Moscati Benigni.