A TOWN OF BANKERS
A small group of moneylenders lived in Siena in the 1200s. At the time the city was a Ghibelline stronghold continually at war with the Guelph city of Florence. Money-lending was for over 350 years the main trade for Sienese Jews. In 1348, when the black plague was claiming thousands of victims throughout Europe, the Jews of Siena were blamed for causing the epidemic. The ghetto was founded in 1571. The ghetto was a real “city within the city” in which five rabbinical schools were established, that remained open until 1859.