Cividale del Friuli

Cividale del Friuli is a town located in the north eastern part of Italy, very closed to the border with Slovenia.

 

In spite of the fact that the Jewish presence in Cividale dates back almost 800 years and, according to some unverifiable sources, even back to the VI century B.C., nowadays there are very few Jewish artifacts. The latter claim originates from what seems to have been written on a stone epigraphy found under one of the entrance gates of the town – Porta di Borgo San Pietro – and mysteriously disappeared soon afterwards, only to be replaced in 1465 by another Jewish engraved headstone.

Reliable sources date the arrival of Jews in Cividale back to 1273 when they settled without encountering any problems also thanks to the protection granted them by the very influential local De Portis family.  During this period, Cividale became the most important Ashkenzi centre of the whole area where even a Rabbinical court was active.

In 1349, to witness the good coexistence between the local Christian population and the Jews, rules were issued by the local government on how the religious celebrations and Festivities of both communities had to take place peacefully and with mutual respect. There is mention of a synagogue built on part of the orchard area of the local monastery – Monastero Maggiore – though no trace of it is left today.

Jews were active in the usual small array of activities and jobs that Jewish communities were allowed to practice throughout Europe: trade, medicine, and money lending, the latter not permitted to Christians.

In 1494 the local government ordered the expulsion of the Jews from the town, but apparently the expulsion was never carried out. Traces of Jews settling and living in the Cividale area continue throughout the XV and XVI centuries .

Our tour of charming Cividale will bring you also to the Museo Archeologico Nazionale where on display are several Jewish artifacts found in the area.

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