Florence’s Jewish community, although today only 1,200 strong, was one of the most important in Italy. Jews were invited to Florence by the Republic in 1430, but repeatedly exiled and readmitted until Cosimo I founded Florence’s Ghetto in 1551.
When the Ghetto in what is now Piazza della Repubblica was demolished in 1848, this new Great Synagogue (1874–82) was built, a tall Mozarabic Pre-Raphaelite hybrid inspired by the Hagia Sophia and the Transito Synagogue of Toledo designed by Marco Treves, Mariano Falcini and Vincenzo Micheli and made of travertine and pink stone. Although seriously damaged by the Nazis in August 1944 (they used it as a garage)– and later by the flooding Arno in 1966 – it has been lovingly restored. The doors of the Holy Ark still bear the scars of Nazi bayonets
There’s a small Jewish Museum upstairs, with a documentary history of Florentine Jews as well as ritual and ceremonial items from the synagogue’s treasure. An inscription in the garden records the 248 members of the community who killed by the Nazis.
Via L. C. Farini 4; bus A, 6.
Hours Nov-Mar Sun-Thurs 10am–3pm, Fri 10am–2pm; Apr, May, Sept and Oct Sun-Thurs 10am–5pm and Fri 10am–2pm; June, July and Aug: Sun-Thurs 10am–6pm and Fri 10am–2pm. Closed Sat.
+39 055 234 6654
Image by Toksave, Creative COmmons License