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The building which stands at 15, Piazza Santo Stefano, on the corner with Via de’ Pepoli, was home to the Sforno family in the 15th and 16th centuries. A family of bankers, with Spanish origins, the Sfornos used this building for their home, their lending bank and a private oratory. In 1527 it became home to Ovadyah Sforno, who was a leading light on the busy Jewish cultural scene in Bologna at the time. He practiced medicine in the city as well as rabbinic activities, and was Professor of Hebrew at Bologna University. He founded a school of Talmudic studies, which he directed until his death in 1550. Ovadyah Sforno was responsible for publishing various works in the field of Biblical exegesis and Jewish philosophy. One such example is the philosophical treaty Or ‘Ammim (“The Light of Nations”, 1537), and his commentaries on the Pentateuch, the Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, the Psalms and other texts, which were published posthumously. He also authored a bilingual Latin/Hebrew grammar book.

Piazza Santo Stefano, 15

Included in the Jewish history tour offered by the MEB