The Synagogue of Florence, itself a beautiful, majestic building, rises together with its distinctive green dome above city’s skyline. It is the centre of Florentine Jewish life, a place of worship and an integral part of the city’s history. The Tempio Israelitico was inaugurated in 1882, after the emancipation of Italian Jews, moving from the centre of the old Jewish ghetto that was destroyed in the final decade of the nineteenth century. Symbol of acquired freedom, the building’s interior welcomes visitors with a highly emotive atmosphere.
The revival of the Moorish style that characterises the rich decoration of the walls, the polychrome glass, the marquetry of the marble floors, the fittings and every decorative item, is a part of the Oriental taste that characterises the larger Synagogues of Europe in the latter parts of the nineteenth century.
The Jewish Museum, which is spread over two floors within the Synagogue, completes and enriches any visit to the impressive temple. It preserves and exhibits an extraordinary collection of ancient, Jewish artistic ceremonial objects, which are themselves a testament to the great artistic skill achieved by the Italian-Jewish community.
The Museum’s exhibition traces the history of Florentine Jews from the first settlements to the post-war reconstruction with the aid of photographic panels, original film and documentary sources.
The Synagogue of Siena is just a few steps away from Piazza del Campo. Designed by the Florentine architect Zanobi del Rosso, it was inaugurated in 1786 and represents one of the few examples of architecture between Rococo and Neoclassicism in the area. The simple exterior facade and, in contrast, the elegant richly decorated interior are examples of synagogues built in Italy during the ghetto times, before Emancipation. Still used by the local Jewish community, the synagogue houses antique silvers and ritual vestments and offers the opportunity to visit the ancient women gallery, nowadays used for temporary exhibitions and educational activities.