From 1142 until the end of the sixteenth century, Salluzzo was the capital of the independent domain of the Marquis of Saluzzo. Contended for by France and Savoy in 1548, the king of France, Henry II, took the city under his rule and, in 1588, the Duke of Savoy Carlo Emanuele I occupied it. The new territorial conquest was sanctioned in 1601 by the Treaty of Lyons, when France recognized the dominion of the Savoy on Salluzzo, receiving, in turn, the territories by the Rhone.
Napoleon’s troops occupied Salluzzo at the end of the 18th century, but, in 1815 with the Restoration, returned to the Savoy dominions.
In the 15th century, the Marquis of Saluzzo was related to the House of Savoy. For this reason, in 1469 Amedeo IX extended the legislation on the Jews of Piedmont to the Marquis’ capital and smaller towns.
In 1588 (the year of the Savoy’s conquest), there were a few banks in Salluzzo: the brothers Vita and Gratiadio, sons of Angelo Treves; Alessandro Viterbo; Gratiadio, son of Moses Treves; the heirs of Isacco Cavaglion, in the person of their agent, Giuseppe Ottolengo.
In 1589, these bankers obtained from Duke Carlo Emanuele I a provisional confirmation of the privileges they had had under the King of France. In 1590, the Duchess Infanta Catherine, temporary regent of the duchy, made them permanent. It was established that the Jews could exercise any kind of trade on credit and charge interest.
At the end of the sixteenth century, new banking families arrived in Salluzzo. In 1598, Calvo, who took over the license of Gratiadio Treves di Mosè, arrived, and then David Calvo. The first was then accused of Marranism, and had to pay 100 ducats to the Dutchy to remove the charges. These families maintained control of the banks of Saluzzo until the 18th century.
Before 1705, the Jews of Salluzzo lived scattered around the city. Carlo Morozzo Giuseppe, the bishop who resided in the capital, along with the governor, Count Rovero, had tried in vain to segregate them. Only in 1724, after the publication of the Royal Constitutions, Jews were confined in a ghetto.
The ghetto was located in the worst quarter of the city. The entrance gates remained closed at night and the community had to pay for the guards. No Jew, after a certain hour at sunset, could remain out of the ghetto and no Christian could remain inside.
The Jews were constantly threatened and subject to attacks and ridicule when they came out of the ghetto. The last ghetto in Salluzzo was sanctioned in 1795. In 1798, after the abdication of Carlo Emanuele IV and the arrival of the French troops, the ghetto was abolished.
The Temple or “scola” was the center of the ghetto. It occupied the top of the building in which he the entire community lived, since, according to Jewish rules, no elevation is allowed on top of it. The synagogue was completely rebuilt in 1732, as stated in a note preserved in a notary registry of the first half of the 18th century.
Since 1590, the Jews of the Marquis of Saluzzo had become subjects of the Duke who, in 1598, extended to them the ducal privileges of other Piedmontese Jews. They were therefore placed under the jurisdiction of the Jewish “Conservatore”. In 1616, the community of Salluzzo officially became part of the larger governing body of the Jewish communities called Università Hebraica del Piemonte.
All Jewish males had to wear a yellow wool or silk sash over their right arms. Exemptions from the badge concerned travelers, as well as Jews the Dutchy considered of higher social status.
In 1724, the Jews of Salluzzo established religious organizations. In 1795, nine members of the community agreed to form the fraternity of “Talmud-Torah”, governed by a statute of thirteen articles. The purpose of the new association was the daily reading and Jewish learning.
In 1799, two articles were added to the statute. One concerned the sacred readings and the other, economic aid to girls from poor families who wanted to get married. Charity also concerned the ill. Besides this organization, which was too small to make up for all the needs of the community, another organization was formed in 1802, the “Brotherhood of Mercy”.
Every adult male could be part of the community, and everyone, rich and poor, had to bring comfort to the brothers in case of illness or misfortune, provide care to dying and take care of the dead.
The community of Salluzzo had three cemeteries. Of the oldest we do not even know the location. The second one was on the road to S. Nicolao, currently Pagno street. The third was created in 1799, in via Lagnasco. The Jews purchased the land from the Curia in 1795 for 2,200 new Piedmontese liras.
It is estimated that about 100 Jews lived throughout the Marquis in 1550. The 1761 census, ordered by Carlo Emanuele III, indicates that 13 Jewish families resided in the city for a total of 68 people. In 1767, 90 Jews were registered as residents. In 1774, the Jewish community was numbered at 101 individuals. During the Napoleonic census of 1806, the Jewish community consisted of 23 families with 140 people.