Jews referred to Mantua as "Kiriah ha Alizah" "the happy city"
The first Jews settled in Mantua in 1145. Under the Gonzagas Mantua was a haven of relative racial and cultural tolerance and the community grew to reach 3, 000 in 1610, at that time Jews constituted about 7. 5 percent of the population of Mantua. Up to the 19th century the Jewish community of Mantua was the only one important in Lombardy and it was never banned from the city. With the guided tour in the city centre you will learn about the Gonzagas and their relationship with the Jews, you will discover where the old Ghetto, built in 1612, was and see the facade of the 17th rabby's house. Of the 12 sinagogues of the old ghetto only one has survived, the Norsa synagogue, which was first built in 1513 and later rebuilt in 1902. Its clean white walls decorated with stucco contrast with the pink-and-white stone, reflecting a refined humanism of the Mantuan Jews. Visit must be reserved. According to the opening times it is also possible to visit the old Jewish cemetery, still used by the community.
Rigoletto's house, Sordello Broletto and Delle Erbe squares, some streets of the old ghetto (Via Giustiziani where the ghetto square was, Via Bertani with the 17th Rabbi's house, via Scuola Grande where two synagogues stood, Via Portoni where one of the 7 ghetto gates was. Saint Andrews Basilica where there is a painting of the virgin Mary paid by the Jewish family Norsa, the family Norsa is represented in the painting. The former church Santa Maria della Vittoria the church together with the painting painted by Mantegna, now at the Louvre museum, were paid by the Jewish family Norsa. The beautiful *synagogue Morsa-Torrazzo and the Jewish **cemetery
The synagogue Norsa-Torrazzo, now national monument, is open from Monday to friday from 9 to 11. Reservation for the visit is required
Jewish cemetery is about 1, 5 km far from the city centre. Car or taxi are needed for moving up to there
Meeting Location + Tour Duration
Meeting location: Piazza Sordello at Rigoletto's House (Casa di Rigoletto)in Mantua
End location: Due to opening and closing times of the Synagogue and Jewish cemetery end location has to be agreed with the guide on tour confirmation.
Duration: 2 hours 30 min.
For the visit of the Jewish cemetery a car or taxi is needed
I am a Licensed Tourist Guide/Tour Guide and have access to any landmark
A Recent Review of this tour
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We were a group of four experienced travelers. Manuela was an excellent guide. Her knowledge of the history., culture, cuisine and art of the northern Italian cities was thorough. We took two tours in one day which lasted nine hours in Mantua and Sabioneta with a lunch break which considering we all are inn our seventies was quite.an undertaking but we had a great tour which we will all remember. Highly recommended