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museoReopens on June 2 (see website)
The Jewish Museum is located inside Palazzo Pannolini, a building named after the noble family who inhabited it between the 15th and 16th centuries.


The Pannolini family was already known as producers and merchants of clothing as early as 1384. The building was built around 1554 by Francesco Pannolini, who unified all the preexisting medieval homes into a unified block. ln the 17th century, in accordance with a wish expressed in a will, the building was transformed into a boarding school for poor students; in 1745 the school was closed by Pope Benedict XIV. The building was then purchased by Count Malvasia who incorporated it into his own adjacent building. The Jewish Museum, which today is housed in the building, was inaugurated in May, 1999, and is directed by a foundation made up of representatives from the region, the province, the city and the Jewish community of Bologna.

The Museum is quite different from other, more traditional Italian museums; it strives to be both informative and completely innovative, with multimedia exhibits and high-tech display panels. The Museum presents the history of the Jewish people from its origins to the present in a permanent exhibit divided into three sections. The exhibit covers Jewish history in three phases; first using videos, then video panels which go into a greater level of detail and finally CD-ROM exhibits for those who wish to get even more in-depth information on a particular subject.

Section I
The presentation begins with the origins of the Jewish people, from the Patriarchs until the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem and the beginning of the Diaspora. The coverage of this phase of Jewish history also includes a presentation of the sacred texts. There is also an in-depth explanation of the Jewish calendar, and the sequence of months and holidays. A large portrait by the artist Aldo Mondino is also on display showing a figure wrapped up in a tallis (probably Abraham).

A headstone that was found at Villa lmpero and donated to the museum by its owners is on display in the first gallery of the permanent collection; the headstone of uncertain origin and date comes from the first Bolognese cemetery in Via Orfeo and is a funerary stele in memory of Avraham da Trani (four other headstones are on display at the Medieval Civic Museum).

Section II

We enter into the second section by passing through a symbolic arch constructed of stones from Jerusalem. A large map shows the dispersal of Jews in the great European and Mediterranean basin. Several video panels present the history of Zionism, nazi-fascist persecution and the birth of the state of Israel. A small, but striking, memorial area bears inscriptions on the ground dedicated to the Jews who were deported from Emilia-Romagna (reproducing on a regional level the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel dedicated to the six million victims of the Holocaust).

Section III

This section provides an in-depth history of Jews in Bologna and Emilia-Romagna from the Middle Ages to contemporary times using maps, photos, in-depth databases, drawn from a vaster patrimonial system which still exists within the region among synagogues, ghettos, cemeteries and museums.
Several CD-ROMs cover Jewish family life, life within the community as well as Jewish celebrations, holidays, and traditions.
A display case contains objects, donated by the Jewish community of Modena, which together constitute the various pieces of the Torah: the precious cloth that wraps it, the rods on which it scrolls and the plaque and crown that cover it. Two other displays contain objects from daily lite: a prayer mantle, a prayer “book, a candleholder for seven candles, and a Book of Esther.
The museum also offers a wide range oi initiatives designed to spread awareness of the many expressions of Judaism. These includes seminars, courses on Jewish language and culture, conferences, art exhibits, performances, games and animated displays for children and trips to Jewish locations within ltaly and abroad.
There is also a Jewish bookshop inside the museum that is a valuable resource for all those interested m Judaism. The bookshop also sells Judaic items and kosher wines.

Font: "Jewish tours in Emilia Romagna" - Touring Club Italiano

Visit the website of the Museum