The Jews Community in Siena

The ancient Jews ghetto, through its alleys and the synagogue of the 700. A walk to explore the history of one of the oldest Jews communities in Tuscany.

Description

The ancient Jews ghetto of Siena is just a few steps from Piazza del Campo, the most important square in the city. In this tour you will discover the history of the Jews community in Siena, starting from the period of the Republic. The documents attest the first existence of Jews in Siena in 1229.
At the beginning of the 300 a Jews gentleman managed to get permission to have a bank in Siena and this event marked the beginning of an activity destined to grow for many years. The Black Death arrived in 1348 and the Jews were considered guilty for this, the situation in the 15th century worsened even more, so much so that they had to bring a sign of recognition. The situation subsequently improved, as they were allowed to live and trade in the city centre.
Thanks to the construction of a Yeshiva (the Jews educational institution), Siena became an important centre of religious studies and Jews people were allowed to study at the University of Siena.
The guide will tell you about the period from the Grand Ducal until the year 1859 that marks the actual closure of the Jews ghetto. For almost 300 years Jews had to live confined within this ghetto, always following the established dress codes. The anti-Jews regulations prohibited them to work in banking and Jewish traders were allowed to sell only second-hand goods.
The synagogue was built at the end of the 700, still existing in the ancient ghetto that you will visit. You will learn about all the events that occurred during the French occupation in Siena, such as the one related to the anti-French movement, called Viva Maria. The commemorative plaques placed at the entrance of the synagogue recall that period and that of the First World War.
Today the Jewish community of Siena is annexed to the Florentine one, since it is made up of too few people.
The synagogue, designed by the Florentine architect Zanobi del Rosso, represents a beautiful example of architecture ranging from Rococo to Neoclassicism. You will admire the elegant interior with the ancient ritual vestments and the charming old matron. The only Jews cemetery is located outside the Gate Porta Romana, and preserves tombs from the 16th century until today.

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Meeting Point

Piazza del Campo, in front of the entrance of Palazzo Pubblico

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Giulia Vannini

My name is Giulia. I am a hiking and diving guide. My passion for nature and animals has accompanied me since I was a child in all my studies. I graduated in Biology and then specialized in Marine Biology, I studied around Italy in important universities and research laboratories. After the Master in Environmental Legislation I returned to my beloved Siena, where my family and my dear friends were waiting for me.
I am from the Shell neighborhood (Contrada del Nicchio), you will discover in our company that the “Contrada life” in Siena is very important since childhood, and it is one of the things that makes this city unique!
Since I was a child I had a passion for teaching, over the years I worked in schools as an educator and so I developed interesting projects in the field of environmental education. My passion for playing with children will never end and in fact I am also a swimming instructor, specialized for people with psychophysical problems.

Thanks to Siena Tourism I create tours and events combining all my studies and my passions. We thought of many walks to do, alone or with the whole family, and many beautiful activities dedicated to children! I expect you soon to discover our enchanting territory together!

Ludovica Noviello

My name is Ludovica and I was born in Rome, where I attended the German school. After the diploma I studied at the Humboldt University in Berlin at the faculty of Foreign Languages and Literature. For many years I lived around Europe, where I worked and continued to study languages. My passions are art and foreign languages, so I decided to move back to my beautiful country to combine them in my job as a tour guide. I moved to Siena, where I studied to become a licensed Tour Guide in Italian, English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
Siena is an enchanting city, a treasure chest that holds many artistic and cultural beauties and my job is to transmit my love for Siena and the many villages in the Province to those who come to visit it.
As a member of Siena Tourism I am also one of the organizers of this great project.
Our aim is to make you know the best of some of the cities and villages in Tuscany, offering you many beautiful moments to remember forever.
I am sure that this part of Italy will find a special place in your heart!