Castle of Rocca Roveresca, 1480

Senigallia came under Papal rule in 1631. At that time, the Jewish community consisted of about 40 families, comprising a few hundred people. During the course of the following century and a half, this number increased to approximately 120 families.

Jewish loan bankers made their appearance there in the 14th century. As a result of Church pressure, the anti-Jewish decrees imposed in the second half of the 16th century were enforced in Senigallia, when the town was under the rule of the Della Rovere family.

In 1631, the town came under the direct rule of the papacy, along with the rest of the duchy of Urbino. Three years later, a ghetto was instituted for the 40 families. During the next century and a half, the Jewish population trebled; many Jews also attended Senigallia’s famous fair.

The community’s public spirit and charity were demonstrated in 1649 when a large sum was collected to ransom Polish Jews who had been sold into slavery during the Cossack Wars. When, in the middle of the 17th century, the Papal States expelled the Jews, they relocated in Ancona and elsewhere.

Taking advantage of the temporary withdrawal of the French occupying forces in 1799, the populace sacked the ghetto, killed 13 Jews and drove the rest into temporary exile. In 1870, around 300 Jews lived in Senigallia.