Sunday, January 25, 2009

Italy: Biella Synagogue Restored

Italy: Biella Synagogue Restored

Ruth Ellen Gruber writes about the restoration of the synagogue in Bielle (Piedmont), Italy.
The gem-like synagogue in Biella, near Torino and Vercelli in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, has been rededicated after "important and decisive" restoration.

Dating from the early 17th century, the synagogue, at vicolo del Bellone 3, occupies the top floor of a medieval house in the heart of what was the historic Jewish quarter. The sanctuary is small and rectangular in shape, focused on a splendid 17th-century Ark and an oval, waist-high carved wooden enclosure around the Bimah.

The €350,000 restoration, overseen by the Jewish community in Vercelli and funded in part by the Piedmont Region and a local bank, included structural consolidation and repair of the roof, which threatened collapse, as well as restoration of the elaborate Ark, the women's gallery and other interior fittings. Further restoration work is planned.

For Italian readers, you can see fuller details by clicking HERE. You may also contact the president of the Vercelli Jewish community, Rossella Bottini Treves, at

The Biella synagogue is one of about 16 beautiful synagogues in Piedmont, many of which have been restored in recent years and can be visited. You can find some information on the Jewish Community of Torino web site.

Posted by Ruth at 8:07 PM

On a related note, Yeshiva University Museum has recently published a new volume about the Jews of Piedmont, inclduing a brief essay of mine about the synagogues.

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