An exhibition at the National Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah (MEIS) in Ferrara has been showcasing the ritual and social features of synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in Italy, tracing 2,000 years of the country’s Jewish history through artifacts, designs and cultural projects.
The display, titled “Houses of Life: Synagogues and Cemeteries in Italy,” is linked to restoration and recovery work carried out by the Jewish Cultural Heritage Foundation (FBCEI) at Jewish sites throughout the country and beyond.
The exhibition allows visitors “to discover the richness of the Jewish cultural heritage in Italy, of which cemeteries and synagogues are a fundamental expression,” said FBCEI and MEIS president Dario Disegni.
Through the exhibition, visitors will be able to understand the evolution of sacred spaces and the activities that took place within them. Ancient testimonies document the cemeteries, the catacombs and the Roman-era synagogue of Ostia Antica, which was discovered in the 1960s and dates back to the end of the first century CE — as well as the synagogue of Bova Marina in Calabria, dating back to between the third and fourth centuries CE in one of the first signs of Jewish presence in southern Italy.