On Remembrance Day – what is left of a star

What is left of a star – a project to remember the Shoah in Pesaro this week until Sunday, Jan. 27th.

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Pesaro, Sephardi Synagogue, via delle Scuole

Groups of secondary school students (no more than 50 at a time) will be able to book, this week, a guided tour in the Sephardi Synagogue in Pesaro.

The visit will include readings and images aiming at preserving the memory of the worst chapter in human history explaining racial laws, the life of Jews in the so-called ghetto, life witnesses.

On Sunday 27th the Synagogue in via delle Scuole will be open to the public (free entrance) from 10 to 12 am and from 4 to 7 pm.

At 4.30 “What is left of a star” is scheduled: a scenic reading of texts from the Jewish literary tradition.

In Pesaro, I happen to work in the old Jewish ghetto, my favourite down-town area, 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).

cimitero ebraico
Jewish Cemetery on the San Bartolo hill (image from http://www.pesarocultura.it/index.php?id=10517)

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.  

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http://www.parcosanbartolo.it/Default-Ing.htm (photo by Luca Manieri)

3 comments

  1. Thank you for writing about this significant jewish experience in Italy. As someone who has done some “surface” exploring of Italy– all the museums, architectural monuments and ruins I love reading this! While I have 13 cousins outside of Rome, they are catholic and I have not yet been able to connect to the Jewish side of Italia– even though I tried in visiting the Ghetto in Rome and the synagogue there– it left me sad that there is not more. I love your site!!

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