Learn the intriguing history of the Jews in Ferrara, Italy, on our Jewish Ferrara tour. Walk the streets of the former Jewish Ghetto, now a part of Ferrara’s Old Town, and admire the beauty of this quaint historic town. Our Jewish Ferrara tour gives you a close-up experience, including visits to the Ferrara Synagogue, now a museum.
Bursting at the seams with Renaissance architecture and frescoes, Ferrara deserves its title as one of the most impressive and iconic Italian cities. Surrounded by the original city walls, the town is perhaps most famous for Este Castle, a distinctive medieval fortification built for the ruling family of the city.
As in most Northern Italian cities, the Jewish community of Ferrara thrived from the 13th through 15th centuries. What is more unique is that the ruling family, the House of Este, declared themselves the “Protectors of the Jews” and refused an explicit papal order to expel their Jewish population. This status meant that Ferrara became a refuge for Jews from around the Mediterranean, until the Este family moved to Modena and life became more difficult overnight.
The community in the early 20th century counted approximately 1300 Jews. After the Holocaust, that number went down to approximately one hundred, but many features of the original community survive. The Ferrara Synagogue has been turned into a Jewish Museum, chronicling the story of Jewish life in Ferrara. The Renaissance Jewish Cemetery lies on the edge of the historic walls.