La Casa dell'Ebreo, The Jew’s House
Situated near the Campano tower, the Casa dell’Ebreo (the Jew’s House) owes its name to the fact that it was inhabited almost without interruption from the late 14th century until the second half of the 16th century by families of rich Jewish bankers, among whom the da Pisa were the most important.
The earliest news is from the 1360s, when the building was fashioned by joining together two houses with a tower, still visible on the right of the facade. Its present appearance is due to a series of adaptations and modernizations at various times, according to changing tastes, beginning in the second half of the 15th century. At that timeit was enlarged and the roof raised, transforming it into a mansion. A cloister was added and an externalhydraulic system that piped water to all the floors. It was a home that even the richest palazzi could envy. But the Casa dell’Ebreo was more than a home; we know that in 1395 there was a flourishing money-lending activity here and that from 1407, on the second floor, there was a synagogue, probably the only one we can identify with certainty in Pisa during the middle ages.
Although it was common at the time for a synagogue to be located in a private dwelling, we should note that this was an important and well-attended one, presumably from 1407 to 1571 (when the ghettos in Florence and Siena were instituted), the true synagogue of Pisa.