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Apulia

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Apulia’s Cuisine

In his book Mangiare alla Giudia, historian Ariel Toaff traces the origin of many traditional Apulian dishes to the presence of Jews and Muslims in the area. As with liturgical poems, some of the traditions of the dispersed Apulian Jewish communities were maintained among the Jews of Corfù in Trieste and the Jews of Rome, […]

Gallipoli

BARLETTA, BITONTO, RUTIGLIANO, OSTUNI, NARDO’, COPERTINO and GROTTAGLIE are among the many small towns, sometimes barely villages, with a documented Jewish presence as early as Roman times. Larger or smaller groups (sometimes just a few families) alternated between settling down and moving around between these various centers up to the expulsion of 1541.  In many […]

Otranto

Between the 9th and 12th centuries, Otranto was one of the main centers of Jewish learning in Apulia. As the Jewish community prospered, thanks to commerce and entrepreneurial ventures, scholars gave lasting contributions to the study of the Bible, the Mishnah and the Talmud of Babylon. At the time of the forced conversion, under the […]

Lecce

Lecce was the capital of what was formerly known as Terra d’Otranto. It had one of the most prominent Jewish settlements in the Neapolitan kingdom before the expulsion of the Jews. Though there is no evidence of a Jewish presence prior to the 15th century, there are traces its existence Lecce at the time of […]

Copertino

GALLIPOLI, BARLETTA, BITONTO, RUTIGLIANO, OSTUNI, NARDO’, COPERTINO and GROTTAGLIE are among the many small towns, sometimes barely villages, with a documented Jewish presence as early as Roman times. Larger or smaller groups (sometimes just a few families) alternated between settling down and moving around between these various centers up to the expulsion of 1541. In […]

Grottaglie

GALLIPOLI, BARLETTA, BITONTO, RUTIGLIANO, OSTUNI, NARDO’, COPERTINO and GROTTAGLIE are among the many small towns, sometimes barely villages, with a documented Jewish presence as early as Roman times. Larger or smaller groups (sometimes just a few families) alternated between settling down and moving around between these various centers up to the expulsion of 1541. In […]

Brindisi

  After Pompeo’s conquest of Jerusalem in 63 AD, Jews were brought back to Italy as prisoners. They arrived in Brindisi; some remained there, but most settled in Terra d’Otranto. More arrived after the destruction of the Temple. As chronicled by Ahimaaz in the XI century, Jews from the Middle East continued to arrive in […]

Taranto

Few traces remain of the Jewish Community that flourished in Taranto during the Middle Ages. Much can be inferred from funereal epigraphs found here (as well as in Brindisi, Venosa and Bari). It is worth noting that these tombstones are all in Hebrew, which shows that the Jewish communities of Apulia were using their original […]

Bari

One of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in Apulia, dating back to the 8th century, is located in Bari’s San Lorenzo district. Bari was once one of the flourishing Jewish centers of Apulia which, according to tradition, were founded by captives brought to Italy by Titus. However, unlike in neighboring towns, no inscriptions have survived to […]

Bitonto

GALLIPOLI, BARLETTA, BITONTO, RUTIGLIANO, OSTUNI, NARDO’, COPERTINO and GROTTAGLIE are among the many small towns, sometimes barely villages, with a documented Jewish presence as early as Roman times. Larger or smaller groups (sometimes just a few families) alternated between settling down and moving around between these various centers, up until the Expulsion of 1541. In many […]

Trani

The four synagogues of Trani were converted into churches during the wave of anti-Judaism that followed the fall of Apulia to the Kingdom of Naples. Three hundred of the Jews remaining in the city were forced to convert to Christianity. The four synagogues were renamed Santa Maria in Scolanova, San Leonardo Abate, San Pietro Martire, and […]

Campania

The Jewish community of Campania can perhaps be dated as far back as the Greek colonies that established themselves throughout the region, in cities including Pozzuoli, Nola, Bacoli, Marano, Capua, Herculaneum and Stabiae.  Certainly, they began to settle throughout the Mediterranean after Alexander the Great took Judaea.  Historians give the date of 70 B.C. as a […]

Apulia

Jews lived in Apulia from ancient Roman times until 1541, when they were banished from all of Southern Italy. They arrived after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, when emperor Tito brought back 5,000 Jewish war prisoners, who subsequently settled in and around Taranto. The records are sparse over the next two […]