The Sephardic synagogue of Pesaro (the Sephardim are Spanish and Portuguese Jews) dates back to the mid 16th century and is located at the heart of what was formerly the Jewish quarter. Although it is no longer used as a house of prayer, it is considered one of the most interesting synagogues in Italy. It was built in an age when Pesaro was thriving economically and culturally, and it soon became a place where many Jews (some coming from Portugal) came to study the scriptures. At the synagogue Kabala and music were taught, and there was also a kindergarten.
The Ground Floor
There are two doors on the austere-looking façade: a larger one for men and a smaller one for women. Here visitors can still admire the old oven (where unleavened bread was baked), the bath used for ritual immersion and the old well.
The hall of prayer
The ground floor also houses the former hall of prayer (temple). The Torah Ark (Aròn) and the pulpit (Tevah) were situated across from one another, on the shorter walls of the building. The synagogue is no longer used as a house of prayer, and that is why some pieces of furniture have been transferred to other synagogues, which are still houses of prayer: the Torah Ark is now in Livorno, the Tevah is in Ancona, and the gratings of the matroneum are in Talpioth (Jerusalem). However, the former hall of prayer is still very charming: it has a beautiful stuccoed ceiling, and its decoration with roses and oak branches is reminiscent of the coat of arms of house Della Rovere (rovere means “oak” in Italian), the noble family which ruled Pesaro and allowed the Jews to settle in town.