It is difficult to determine the exact year that the first Jews arrived in Cherasco. However, it probably occurred following the expulsions from southern France. 


In 1580, Meir De Benedetti led the only existing bank in town and his name appeared again in the papal tolerance edict of of 1584.

Sixteenth century Piedmont was theater to many wars which caused a financial burden to local municipalities. After the bankruptcy of Cherasco’s Jewish banks, the city council was forced to turn to Christians lenders to raise the money for the soldiers.

In 1595, Benaiah Debenedetti loaned the City of Cherasco 132 crowns to support the troops; the sum was added to 100 ducats already provided for the accommodation of soldiers in the city of Biella. In 1596, the privilege to conduct banking was renewed to the heirs of Meir Debenedetti. Their names were again on the list of Piedmontese bankers compiled by the Cardinal Chamberlain in 1598. In 1624, Donato Debenedetti was the only banker active in the city.

Community Life

The Jewish community of Cherasco was always limited to a small number of families allowed to reside in the city together with the families involved with banking. Jewish presence is attested in few notary records. In 1631, Duke Vittorio Amedeo I ordered that the properties of Pietropaolo Caissotti, a converted Jew, be transferred to his widow Laura.  In 1642, the Duchess gave the Jews Moses Foa and Emanuele Camerino – both residents of the town – the sum of 30 florins, to be taken from fees paid by the Jewish community to the Duke.

In 1729, Tranquillo Lattes and Solomon Lattes paid the Dutchy a fine of 16 florins, 13 and 4 dineri for an unspecified sentence.

The Ghetto

Around the year 1724, a ghetto was established in compliance with the Royal Constitutions of 1723. The Ghetto was placed at the center of the city, in a large building, with the synagogue located inside the building, together with accommodation for families. The liturgy followed the Sephardic tradition.

In 1596, eight Jewish families resided in Cherasco. The 1761 census, ordered by Carlo Emmanuele III, recorded 11 Jewish families for a total of 51 people.


Source: Italia Judaica