City view, Recanati
The Jewish presence in Recanati is linked to the name of Kabbalist Menachem ben- Benjamin Recanati, who lived there in the 13th century. However documents attests to Jewish money lending activities starting in the mid 14th century. According to the historian Attilio Milano, a group of Roman Jewish money lenders overlapped with a pre-existing Jewish nucleus engaged in the commerce of oil, wine and agricultural products. Catholic groups, particularly the Frati Minori, violently opposed to the Jews, repeatedly attempted to impose the yellow badge, to no avail. The first synagogue was located in the episcopate, but was closed after the establishment of the ghetto. There is evidence of a request, in 1539, for the construction of a new Synagogue near Porta Marina, but permission was not granted.
Records show that Jews owned real estate and land until the Papal bull Cum nimis absurdum restricted them from ownership. What followed was a dark age where Jews were forced to wear a yellow badge and live in the ghetto built in the Montevolpino area. The Ghetto extended from what is now Piazzale Bianchi toward Via Vitali. The Synagogue, no longer standing, was probably housed in a building in Via Achilla, 1.
In 1558 the Jewish born Fra ‘Filippo the Apostate stormed into the synagogue to desecrate the aron on Yom Kippur. Driven away by the faithful, he complained to the ecclesiastical authorities and obtained a severe sentence against the Jewish community. In 1569 the Jews left the city, while the last name Recanati became widespread in the region.
The cemetery is located in the Campo dei Fiori, beneath the Cathedral of St. Flaviano, today bordering Villa Colloredo’s park. In the diocesan museum there is walled plaque with Hebrew inscriptions.
Not far from the town of Recanati is Montelupone, where no traces of Jewish presence remain, although it is known that Jews flourished there in the 1500’s.