Italy > Vercelli: Inauguration of the New Jewish Synagogue in Vercelli, 1878; struck in bronze; may be maker-marked "I. Muggia"; size: 46.75mm; weight: 39g.
Obverse bears 6 lines of text in Italian and one line for the Hebrew date of inauguration: 'Inaugurazione Del Nuovo Tempio Israelitico in Vercelli [in Hebrew: 'month of Elul 5638'] Settembre 1878".
On reverse a detailed relief representation of the Synagogue's facade and text in exergue "I • Muggia • Vercelli". Medallic alignment; with a mirror-like shine in places and may have been issued in proof state.
The Synagogue was built on the location where a smaller one had existed since 1740, when the new Jewish Ghetto in Vercelli was established. The Jews received emancipation in 1848 and in 1864 the Jewish-Italian architect Marco Treves (a native of Vercelli), who has several Synagogue designs to his credit, was commissioned to design the new Great Synagogue, but his proposed project was too expensive.
In 1874 the (non-Jewish) architect Giuseppe (Joseph) Locarni (1826-1902) was commissioned to create the new Synagogue - considered his finest work - and it was inaugurated on 18 September 1878 (9 days before thew Jewish New Year, 'Rosh HaShana', and hence the Hebrew date of 5638 instead of 5639). The ceremony was large and included the Rabbi Giuseppe (Joseph) Raffael Levi and city authorities. The Synagogue survived the Holocaust though deteriorated physically until restored in 2003.
The designer of this medal is unknown though possibly "I. Muggia" of Vercelli (as per exergue text): the Italian towns of Muggia and Vercelli are on opposite ends of northern Italy, suggesting that there is no geographic connection between both names and this Synagogue and that Muggia may be a surname; GJPM-136.
מילות מפתח: מדליה מדליות בתי כנסת כנסיות יהודיות יודאיקה יודאיכה איטליה