The Jewish identity of Italy’s smallest town

From Asti or Casale you reach this town, the smallest in Italy, perched on a hill. Walking through the narrow medieval streets, lined with all kinds of small shops, you reach the top where the large square opens up. It is a suspended terrace with a panoramic view of the Monferrato Aleramico, surrounded by thick walls and wide ditches of defensive origin, which have been transformed into streets, with the remains of towers as evidence of the castle.

Looking at the buildings overlooking the square, one cannot help but notice a modest façade with an inscription in Hebrew characters. Curious passersby who see it and ask the locals will be told that it is the “Church of the Jews“. The inscription is in Hebrew and confirms the function of this building. The synagogue stood in the square and nearby, behind two narrow alleys, the gates of the Moncalvo ghetto were closed from 1732 to 1848.

The Jewish presence in Moncalvo survives in memory. The Jews slowly left this settlement until they disappeared. Only the walls, with their silence, and the epitaphs on the tombstones of the cemetery still testify to the life of an influential Jewish reality in Moncalvo. Its cultural heritage is well taken care of by the citizens and the Municipality of Moncalvo, which maintains a high level of attention to this chapter of the territory’s history and cultural and diplomatic relations with those interested in the subject.

The Jewish Community of Moncalvo was annexed to that of Casale Monferrato by the Falco Law in 1931, with the completion of the operational procedures in 1932. The Jewish cemetery of Moncalvo is managed by the Jewish Community of Casale Monferrato.