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Ira G wrote a review Sep 2019
Rehovot280 contributions80 helpful votes
A very impressive synagogue in Casale Monferrato, inaugurated in 1595. As in most early modern European synagogues, the synagogue was entered not directly from the street, but via a courtyard: both for reasons of security and to comply with laws requiring that the sound of Jewish worship not be audible by Christians. The synagogue houses two museums. Fewer than 20 Jews living there.
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Date of experience: June 2019
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QuercusRobur47 wrote a review Apr 2019
Brussels, Belgium98 contributions67 helpful votes
Casale Monferrato is a very unassuming town, down a very unassuming back street, is a very unassuming façade. But push the door and you are inside a baroque masterpiece, witness to the Faith of generations of Italian Jews. It is only open to the public on Sundays, and even then it closes for lunch at 12.00. Worth a long diversion to visit. Combine your visit with lunch at L'Accademia.
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Date of experience: March 2019
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Avrumeleh B wrote a review Oct 2018
Somers, New York241 contributions88 helpful votes
If a traveler has any interest at all in Jewish culture or history...or Italian culture or history...or architecture...or beauty...or any number of other things...this is a MUST SEE. I've seen baroque churches in Italy and Germany, etc. and, undoubtedly they are impressive. But seeing this baroque synagogue simply gave me the chills. It's just plain wonderful! My wife and I were touring the Piedmont region when we learned about it and went to Casale Monferrato from our base Ciocarro and found the door locked at the synagogue. There's a bell to ring in such a case. We went without reservations because the website indicated it would be open on the weekday we went there. (I'd say it's a good idea to pay more attention than we did to the days when entry is guaranteed.) Still, we were given entry and it was MORE than worth the visit for sure. Downstairs is a collection, which requires and entry fee, of uniques Channukkiot (Channukah menorahs) made and donated by many famous artisans which is very interesting and is now so popular it requires jurying for entry into the collection. After the visit to the synagogue, a walk around Casale Monferrato is a good idea. It's very pleasant and had it not been for the synagogue's lure, we would probably have passed that up since other towns in Piedmont like Asti, Alba, etc. are far more hyped. Overall... this is a great destination!
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Date of experience: October 2018
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BunclodySen1 wrote a review Jun 2018
Jerusalem, Israel43 contributions9 helpful votes
When visiting friends in Emilia Romagna south of Milano, they took me to Casale Monferrato for a day trip, to view the late 16th C. Baroque Synagogue complex. I say 'complex', because in addition to the Synagogue, there is, on display, a very nice Collection of Judaica and other objects from the collections and possessions of the Jewish Community; and they have converted the old Matza Oven area into a display of Hanukkiot made by modern artists, some local, others not, some Jewish, others not, some Kosher, others not [For a Hanukia to be 'Kosher' it has to display the candles which commemorate the miracle in a certain way; not all of these do]. My [non-Jewish] hosts and I had a wonderful time there, very impressively guided by Adriana Ottolenghi, wife of the present head of the community [which sadly, now comprises only 7 Jews]. This attraction is worthy of a special trip to view it [we drove over 90 min. each way, something I was squawking a bit over, before we went. I was very thankful for their patient, polite, but insistent attitude, after. Thank you again, Giovanni and Betty]. And the Catholic Cathedral of the city, dating from the early 12th C., with 18th & 19th C. changes, is also well worth a visit [I like Ecclesiastical architecture].
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Date of experience: September 2017
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nine52 wrote a review Oct 2017
Hilton Head, South Carolina318 contributions98 helpful votes
This synagogue belongs to the hidden synagogues as built before the emancipation of jews in Italy. Not only it is beautiful but there is a museum that is a must see. Apart from the whole collection of jewish objects depicting the jewish life in Italy and in general with a lot of old objects, there is a wonderful collection of hanoukiot all modern and made by different designers either italian or else. They are lighted when Hanoukah comes and it must be beautiful to see.
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Date of experience: October 2017
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