The nucleus of the Jewish community in Florence dates from 1437 when the first banks opened in the Renaissance capital. Yet, it wasn't long before the former were subsequently confined to a ghetto located near present day Piazza della Repubblica.
Forbidden to join the regular trades guilds, the Jews were only allowed to participate in textiles or second hand trading. It took another four hundred years to 1848 for the ghetto to be opened up and the Jews allowed to live freely in the city.
Today, the Jewish community in Florence has about 800 members and is located in via Farini where there is a kindergarten, Talmud Torah afternoon school for children, youth organizations, rest home and center of Jewish culture.
The Synagogue was inaugurated in 1882 and is considered one of the most harmonious buildings of the 19th century in Italy. It is a fine example of Moorish, Arabian and Byzantine elements which you can't mistake by looking at the portals, dome and side towers.
Inside the Alròn ha-Kodesh is covered with Venetian moscaics while the wooden benches, platform and pulpit were manufactured by the most important Florentine workshops.
Do drop into the garden of the temple which was originally designed to complete the oriental style with succulent plants and palms.
The Jewish Museum was opened in 1981 and is situated on two floors inside the Synagogue.
The first section documents the history of the Jews in Florence and their relations with the town. Do marvel at the textiles and silver furnishings used for ceremonies, the earliest of which date from the end of the 16th centurv.
Many other objects present came from now extinct Jewish communities located along the Tuscan border.
Of course the Room of Remembrance must be visited, but also two spaces for viewing related documentaries and films, as well as accessing databases connecting the major Jewish museums and research centres around the world.
Synaogue and Jewish Museum of Florence
Via Farini 6
Jewish Community of Florence
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