An exhibit featuring dozens of jewels as well as gold, silver and bronze artefacts from a recently rediscovered mediaeval Jewish cemetery was inaugurated at the Jewish Museum in Bologna, Italy, on June 20.
In 1393, a prominent Jewish family decided to buy a plot of land there, not far from where the Jewish neighbourhood used to stand.
As explained in a 2017 article in the local newspaper Il Resto del Carlino, the plot was soon donated to the Jewish community to serve as a cemetery.
The cemetery was used until 1569, when the pope issued a decree expelling Jews from the cities of the papal state which controlled large parts of Italy at the time, including Bologna.
The pontiff donated the land to a monastery, the nuns there even receiving permission to dispose of the tombs and their contents as they pleased.
Throughout the centuries, the Jewish cemetery was completely forgotten, until some of its remains were uncovered during construction work in 2012. Subsequent archaeological excavations uncovered over 400 tombs, making it the largest ancient Jewish cemetery ever discovered in Italy.
The exhibit, “The House of Life: Gold and Stories around the ancient Jewish cemetery of Bologna,” has been organised by the Bologna Jewish Museum and the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape for Bologna, in collaboration with the Jewish community of Bologna.
It will be open until January 6, 2020.