The layout of Bologna's 16th century ghetto can still be precisely traced amid the narrow streets in the medieval heart of the city: here, a maze of alleys, covered bridges and small windows tells the story of a whole community forced to live in a specific area of the town by order of the Papal State beginning from 1556. In Bologna, Jews lived in the ghetto until 1569, when they were expelled for the first time.
In 1586, they were allowed to come back to town and lived here again until 1593, year of their final expulsion: 900 people left Bologna and no Jewish community was allowed into town for more than two centuries.
Entrances to the Jewish quarter were opened in the morning, sealed at dusk and constantly watched: one entrance was at the beginning of via de' Giudei, a second one at the intersection between via del Carro and via Zamboni, a third one in via Oberdan, where an arch looks onto vicolo Mandria.
The ghetto is undoubtedly one of the most charming areas in town enlivened with artisan workshops and encircled by palaces which belonged to rich Jewish merchants and bankers.