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Thirteen synagogues and numerous Jewish cemeteries were built.

The endorsement of Christianity as a ’legal’ religion in 313 CE by the Emperor Constantine marked a transition for Italy’s Jews from an era of acceptance to one of discrimination.

The situation for the Jews worsened in 380 CE, when the Edict of Tessa Lonica of Teodosia recognizing Christianity as the official religion of the Empire was enacted, with very little tolerance for Judaism or other religions.

After the fall of the Roman Empire (circa 476 CE), the state of Jewish life depended on which invading army or power gained the upper hand.

Three hundred descendants of forcibly converted Iberian Jews (known as “Bnei Anousim”) gathered in the Italian city of Palermo on Sunday, for tours and lectures connected to the 2016 European Days of Jewish Culture.

The Jews of Italy have strong bi-cultural roots dating back to the second century BCE, when many Israelites, under the leadership of Judah Maccabeus, left the land of Israel to go the "Eternal City" (Rome).

They also settled in Naples and in various localities in the southern part of the peninsula.

Jews in pre-Christian Rome were very active in proselytizing their faith.

It was not until the Jewish revolts in 132 CE, culminating in the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, that the Jewish-Roman alliance was broken and the Jews were forced into slavery.

Approximately 10,000 Jews were transported to Rome to be used as work hands to help build the Coliseum.

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