The Florence Synagogue was built towards the end of the 19th century. In the garden is a memorial plaque to Jewish war dead. On the first floor is a small museum dedicated to the Jewish community of Florence.
Address: Via Farini Lugi Carlo, 6 – Florence. Telephone: +39 055 2346654. Public transport: Bus lines 6, 14, 23, 31 (Colonna 01 stop). Opening hours: From 16 April to 15 October Sunday to Thursday 10am-6.30pm, Friday 10am-5pm. Closed: Saturdays and Jewish holidays. From 16 October to 15 April Sunday to Thursday 10am-5.30pm; Friday 10am-3pm. Entrance fee: 6.50 Euro. Free for children under 6. (Note that prices and times may be subject to change.)
History and description
The Synagogue of Florence was built in 1882. The style of the structure is Moorish-Byzantine and it looks more like a church than a synagogue, complete with a dome, an apse, a pulpit and an organ.
As early as 1572, the first synagogue was built in what was then Florence’s ghetto. In 1848, both this one and a second synagogue that had been built later, were closed. The ghetto itself was demolished towards the end of the 19th century.
The multi-colored arabesques do have an Eastern feel to them, and the Jewish Orthodox character is reinforced by the prayer benches set up opposite each other and the segregated areas for women.
Looking out over the city from a hill or a tower, the synagogue can be recognized by its distinctive green dome.
The very first Jews in Italy were slaves brought to Rome in the 1st century BC. The Florentine Jewish community dates back only to the 14th century.
On the first floor is the entrance to a small museum highlighting the history of this community.
In the Synagogue’s garden is a large memorial plaque with the names of Jews murdered by the Nazis. A similar memorial can be seen at Santa Maria Novella Station.