In Parma, our Jewish historical agenda brings us to the synagogue at 4, Vicolo Cervi, which opened in 1866 when Jews returned to Parma after a two-century absence. During WWII, furnishings were hidden in another important site on the Parma Jewish itinerary, the Biblioteca Palatina; some of these were brought back, while others are housed in the Jewish Museum of Soragna. The Biblioteca Palatina is home to the largest collection of Hebrew manuscripts in Italy, and the second largest in the world after the Bodleian library in Oxford. The collection housed there was acquired by the Duchess Maria Luigia and then donated to the library.
Jews lived in Parma starting in the 15th century until the 16th century, and then again from the 19th century to the present. When they arrived here during the second half of the 15th century, they lived under the Visconti and the Sforza while the climate was tolerant. In 1555 Duke Ottavio Farnese forced the Jews to leave Parma (followed by Piacenza in 1570). In 1562 he allowed them to resettle in 16 localities. Later he renewed their residence permit, but reduced that number to only a few localities.
At the end of the 19th century, Jews returned to Parma after abandoning rural areas. In 1881. The community then numbered 700. From 1845-48 the community published a magazine called La Rivista Israelitica. During World War II, 18 Jews from Parma were deported. Today the community is small but active and linked to the communities in Soragna and Piacenza.