Jewish Tour

Discover Tuscany’s Jewish Treasure

There is evidence that Jews have lived in Tuscany since the Early Middle Ages, although it was in the period of Medici rule that Jewish-owned banks and moneylenders really began to grow. Florence and Pisa had the largest Jewish populations although many of the smaller towns also had significant Jewish communities.

Our favorite Jewish town  in Tuscany is Pitigliano, once called "Little Jerusalem" for its bustling Jewish life until the mid-19th century and also because of its position on a hill surrounded by an ancient city wall.  In 1995, the synagogue was restored to its former beauty, after being closed for more than 20 years. There are still shops in this old Jewish ghetto where one can even buy kosher wine. Visit with your expert guide the Jewish Ghetto, the Matzah bakery - still functioning, the recently restored Mikvah, the Synagogue - a bijoux, and the Jewish Museum. The Jewish Cemetery is also a curious find and worth the visit for its unusual tombstones.

Florence offers visitors its Moorish-style synagogue and countless museums and libraries in which to explore its unique historical context. Giovanna, your expert guide, will lead you on a walking through the city center to discover the unexpected presence of Jewish history from the XV to the XX Century by visiting some of the most famous landmarks such as the Duomo area,  Piazza della Repubblica, where the ghetto once stood, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio area and Via dei Giudei, the Jews street, where the first Jewish settlement was. You will visit inside the splendid Synagogue and Jewish Museum and enjoy Kosher lunch at Ruth’s Restaurant.

In Siena it’s still possible to view traces of the city’s ancient Jewish ghetto. For more than 350 years the banking activities in Siena were carried out by the Jews. In 1555, the anti Jewish papal bull was issued and Cosimo de’ Medici imposed it on the Jews specifying that they were to reside in a quarter designated only for Jews near Piazza del Campo. Some of the original structures of the Ghetto are still visible to today’s visitors and the ancient cemetery is still used today. The Synagogue’s exterior does not hint the richness and splendor of the interior with its Tevah decorated with nine precious candelabra dating back to the XVIII century and the windows behind it outlined with rich decorations.  One of the items worth special attention is Eliyahu’s Throne, a special chair used during the circumcision ceremony.

Just a short drive from Siena, there is an exclusive winery famous for the production of Kosher wine. The owner will accompany guests to the vineyard and the wine cellar explaining the wine production related to the Tuscan wine culture, organic procedures and to the kosher rules. At the end of the tour you there will be tasting session of Kosher Chianti Wine together with a Kosher appetizer.

Pisa is one of the oldest Jewish Community of Tuscany. Together with Livorno, these Jewish Communities were the only ones in Italy who were not obliged to live in a ghetto!  Meet a representative of the Jewish Community who will show you first the beautiful Synagogue and after the Cemetery located at 900 mt distance. The Jewish Cemetery is situated nearby Piazza dei Miracoli famous for its Leaning Tower (that you will admire from outside). During this pleasant walk your guide will lead you to discover the of this magnificent monumental complex.

Our itinerary in Livorno takes us to several curious places including the Jewish Synagogue built in 1962 on the site of the previous synagogue which dated from 1591 but was bombed during WWII. Visit with your expert guide the Synagogue, with its  XVIII “aron” and the Jewish Museum, housed in a neoclassical building, the Marini Oratory, adapted to be a place of worship in 1867. Some of the old ornaments once Kept in the old monumental synagogue built in 1593 are displayed there. There are also two Jewish cemeteries out of the four originals which are still in existence and worth the visit to top off your historical visit of Livorno!

Italy is open to American travelers.

Visitors are welcome to visit Italy without a mandatory 10-day quarantine if arriving on a Covid-tested flight to Rome, Milan, Naples or Venice.

Travelers on these flights, regardless of vaccination status, must be tested before departure and again upon arrival to be exempt from quarantine.



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