In Pesaro, I happen to work in my favourite down-town area, the old Jewish ghetto, whose streets’ names are really picturesque: via delle Scuole (Schools street), via delle Botteghe (Shops street), via della Battaglia (Battle Street), via delle Vetrerie (Glass makers street), via della Ginevra (Ginevra street), via dell’Abbondanza (Abundance street).
In the heart of the Jewish ghetto it is still possible, on Thursdays – from June to September – to visit the Sephardi synagogue from the XVIIth century that was built during the golden age of Pesaro, when the town harbour – enlarged by Guidubaldo II Della Rovere – gained importance over the southern one of Ancona. Two different doors open up on the façade (a bigger one for men and a smaller one for women) leading to the ground floor where the furnace, the well and the pool for purification rites are to be found. On the first floor the Prayer Hall with an upper gallery for the tevah (Pesaro, via delle Scuole/via Sara Levi Nathan 25, info: Municipality of Pesaro, tel. +39 0721 387541).
Another site of the Jewish culture in Pesaro is the Jewish cemetery on the San Bartolo hill. Facing the East, located on a natural slope, the cemetery witnesses the ancient presence of the Jew in the city of Pesaro; a presence that contributed to build our local economical, civil and cultural identity.
The cemetery – built at the end of the 18th century by a large and flourishing community – spreads over about 6.700 square meters facing the sea and hosts 150 funeral monuments (the visible ones). It is located in the heart of the San Bartolo Park – a rarity in the whole Adriatic coast because of the high sea-cliffs which go from Pesaro to Gabicce. I love it in Winter, when the peregrine hawk attends the area, and in May-June when the broom covers the hills like yellow waves – talking about “brooms” please, please, please go and read Leopardi’s poem La Ginestra, “the wild broom” (Leopardi, by the way, was a “marchigiano” like me as he was born in Recanati, in the province of Macerata).
At the end of the San Bartolo Park, in Gabicce, about 20 kms north of Pesaro, you find what I believe to be the only kosher hotel in the Marche Region: the Grand Hotel Michelacci.
As today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, please take note that tonight at Rossini Theatre in Pesaro, there will be a concert in the memory of all the victims of the Shoah.