Placed strategically between Umbria and Marche, Cagli saw the establishment of a Jewish community with thriving businesses and money lending activities.
Cagli was originally built by the Pope in 1289, over an ancient town that had once been destroyed by fire. Shortly after, it became part of the domain Montefeltro and the Duchy of Urbino and would remain so until the devolution to the Church in 1631; at which time it remained subject to the Papal States.
Presumably, the first Jews settled in Cagli during the second half of the 14th century.
In a document dated to 1469, the Jew Jacob Elijah of Cagli, appeared in front of a notary public, asking for a favor for his wife. Ten years later, we see Jacob travelling to Urbino – on behalf of the coreligionist Sabatuccio Ventura – to sign a receipt to Solomon’s heirs from Urbino for the share of the inheritance destined to Sabatuccio.
In 1468, with the intervention of Fortunato Coppoli of the Friars Minor, a Monte di Pietà was founded in Cagli. More than a century later, in 1574, local Jews were asked to pay 40 shields to the dutchy. Six years later, the general Council unanimously voted to ask the Duke of Urbino to establish a Jewish bank within the city.
Mid-16th century sources report that, due to famine, the municipal authorities borrowed a sum from the Marani, who were defined as “Hebrei” of the generation expelled from Spain.
Other documents that attest to the presence of a Jewish community within Cagli concern the payment of medical services provided by the municipality. In 1605, during the celebrations for the birth of prince Federico Ubaldo, a mob looted the synagogue and burned the scrolls. Two years later, the bishop of Cagli forced Jewish attendance at sermons at the cathedral.
imposed on the Jews forced sermons in the cathedral. Records of the era indicate that the Jews resided mainly in the district of S. Andrea, in the Alley dell’Impetrata (now, the Via Fonte del Duomo) and the Guazza Road (currently, Via Attanagi).
Given the restrictions of life in Cagli, some Jews from Cagli chose to move to Ancona, where they opened banks and trades. Others moved to Iesi and Città di Castello.
In 1659, local ecclesiastic authorities insisted that Jews live confined within a ghetto. While it appears that some Jewish merchants were still able to conduct business in Cagli, there is no record of Jewish residence within the city during the 18th century.
In 1605, with the death of Angelo de Camerino, the office of holder of the bank was transferred to Eliah S. Angelo in Vado. Despite the devolution of the bank to the Church, the city of Cagli tried to obtain papal permission to maintain a Jewish lender.
Documents also suggest that the Jews of Cagli traded in precious metals, leathers, animals, manufactured clothes, silk and paper. Roughly forty Jews resided in Cagli in the 17th century.
The will of Juditta di Laudadio Bianchi, widow of Vitale di Angelo da Camerino, which dates back to the early 17th century, tells us of the existence of a synagogue. However, no additional information is provided. We also know that the community had a cemetery outside of the city walls, near the Bosso river, which could be crossed through the so-called “bridge of the Jews”.