The invisible Jewish population of Udine

The earliest documented evidence of a Jewish presence in Udine dates back to 1299. The Jewish community was probably formed by a small group of Ashkenazi (from central Europe: France and Germany).

After the Venetian conquest of 1420, the Jews continued to reside in Udine, although they were dependent to some limitations and lived outside the city walls.

The plague epidemic of 1556, was the occasion of the definitive expulsion from Udine of the Jews. The first case of the contagion occurred because Giuseppe da Muggia. Because of the incautious purchase of a mattress from the Lazzareto in Capodistria, his wife was the first victim of the plague. He was responsible for the expulsion of all Jews, who in the mid-sixteenth century were just about a few families.

Despite the expulsion, the bond between Jews and their ancient Udinese cemetery was not interrupted. In1631 Jacob of Chiavris asked for the right to continue to use their cemetery which was located in Calle Agricola (or Androne degli Ebrei), which then remained in use until 1734 when it was replaced by one in San Daniele del Friuli.

The area of the Cemetery of Calle Agricola underwent several ownerships, and in 1829 there were still numerous “burial tombstones with Jewish names.”


All the graves were eventually lost, recently however, a fragment of a tombstone was found enclosed in the wall by a couple of kids playing soccer on the playground of the adjacent school.


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I lived the most part of my life in Washington DC, now in Italy getting to know again my country. Plenty of surprises, for good and bad, and lots of nostalgia for DC.

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