Ponte del diavolo, Tolentino, 14th century


City streets, Tolentino

The Jewish presence in Tolentino dates from the early 1300 and is tied to the trade fairs held in the city for the feast of St. Catervo, and later to those for St. Thomas and St. Nicholas. Jews were welcomed for the goods they brought from their commerce with the East, particularly silks, wool and leather. They were also involved in money lending, as the town was in dire need of cash.

Initially an intermittent presence tied to fairs, the Jewish community became stable as many Jews were employed as goldsmiths. Even today jewelry shops line the streets of the former Jewish quarter, extending from Via San Nicola to Porta del Ponte. In 1569 Pope Sixtus V expelled the Jews from the town. Tolentino remains as a common Jewish last name in the region.