The earliest evidence of Jewish presence in the County of Gorizia dates back to the late 13th Century, and documents show a permanent settlement in the city from the 16th century. The community, which for centuries was concentrated in the area of Cocevia, at the foot of the castle, was continually subject to periods of tolerance alternated with expulsion orders and the granting of privileges, especially in relation to the money-lending business. In 1692 Emperor Leopold I ordered the ghetto to be established in the Cocevia district. After four years of assessments, however, the choice finally fell on the district of San Giovanni (today’s Via Ascoli), which was more peripheral and removed from the route of the processions. The ghetto was closed off on one side by a gate near the church of San Giovanni, and another on the north side, near the river Corno (which is now covered over). In 1698 the Jews of the city were confined to the ghetto where, however, unlike in many other places, they were allowed to acquire ownership of the buildings in the area. In 1699 the first oratory was built, in the same place where later was erected the fine synagogue
that still exists today. On the ground floor of the building were workshops and laboratories of the textile industry, which was growing rapidly in the city, providing jobs for Jews and non-Jews alike.
The process of Jewish emancipation in Gorizia began with a local decree in 1790, but opposition by the ecclesiastical authorities delayed its implementation. With the Napoleonic occupation of 1797 the ghetto was abolished; in 1812 the gates were finally removed, and many concessions granted at this time extended even after the Restoration.
In 1876 the street of the ghetto was named after the Jewish linguist Graziadio Isaiah Ascoli. Urban regeneration works carried out in the ‘50s and ‘60s led to the demolition of many buildings in the area, in which today the original characteristics are only partially visible.
Guided tours by appointment
Amici di Israele Gorizia Association
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