Pisa is one of the most famous Italian cities for visitors in search of its leaning tower and gastronomical excellence. It has a long and unique Jewish history, as it is one of two cities in Tuscany, along with Livorno, which never had a ghetto.
Visitors to this historical city may admire the neoclassical synagogue at no. 24, Via Palestro, which was built in 1594, remodeled in 1885, and restructured in 1863.
Neighborhoods where Jews once lived and worked are still visible in the city's historical landscape which takes visitors to former and present places of worship, Jewish cemeteries and other surprises which await the curious traveler.
Jews were invited to Pisa with the promise of economic advantages, commercial and religious freedom and protection from the Inquisition by Ferdinando I de' Medici. The Medicis developed Pisa as a commercial center with Livorno as the sea outlet to complement it although the two communities separated in 1614.
Since its founding in the 11th century, the Jewish community of Pisa was a diverse group made up of Portuguese and other Jews who had been expelled from Milan or who came from other regions to avoid living in ghettos. The community here tended to live together in the same area until their numbers grew and they spread to the other side of the Arno river.