New Synagogue - Livorno Highlight

Sinagoga
(New Synagogue)

Photo of New Synagogue in Livorno

New Synagogue in Livorno

Photo by R. Rosado © IQCruising

The original synagogue was once of the most beautiful of its kind in all of Europe and was a place of worship for free Jews that had been moving to the city since the 16th century. It should be noted that at its height the Jewish community in Livorno accounted for at least 10% of its population (around 5,000 Jews) with the majority living in the area where the Synagogue stood, not far from the Piazza Grande. However, during World War II the old synagogue was destroyed and most Jews originally from Livorno were deported and massacred.

After 1945, the 700 Jews from Livorno who survived or returned to the city discussed whether to try to rebuild the old structure from the remains or build an entirely new one. In the end, it was decided to build a new temple and the architect Angelo Di Castro was in charge of the project. The design is based on an inspired shape of the tent that Moses built in the desert - the Tabernacle guarding the 'Ark of the Covenant' - with an octagonal and hexagonal plant.

Photo of the Old Synagogue in Livorno

The Old Synagogue

Credit: Public Domain

Inside the synagogue, tiers of seats converge towards the center where the 'bimah' is. Behind this, stands an old 17th century Hekhál (a cabinet made of carved wood which holds the Scrolls of Scripture) given to Livorno by the synagogue in Pesaro. On a balcony at the back, the cruise ship traveler will find the women's gallery. The intricate carvings on the facade were designed to allow light to penetrate the interior, giving a lovely display of light, including red light, that is a constant reminder of the holocaust. This is one of only four synagogues in Italy that was built in the 20th century and the only one that was built after WWII.

Getting There

Although right in the heart of the city center, the cruise ship passenger will not pass by the Synagogue whilst wandering around unless is looking for it. It stands at the northeastern corner of a large Piazza and the best (shortest) way to get there is to walk one block behind the Cathedral and turn right on Via Tempio.

Synagogue - Map

Map of the Synagogue area in Livorno with Highlights and Attractions

Nearby

Besides the Cathedral (A on the map), the small church of St. Lucia (a on the map) is another attraction close by. Not far, at the end of Via Cairoli, the Piazza Cavour crosses the 'Fosso Reale' offering great views - photo ops - of this highlighted landmark (I and II on the map).

Restaurants and Flavors

Behind the Duomo, right on the corner with Via Tempio, the 'Caffe Duomo' (1 on the map), is a nice place to have a quick bite, a cappuccino and to check emails as it offers Free Wi-Fi. Around the corner from this well-known coffee shop, you will find 'La Vecchia Senese' (2 on the map) a restaurant favored by locals and offering special prices to cruise ship passengers.

WHERE: Historical Centre
Address: Piazza Benamozegh
Architect: Angelo Di Castro
When: 1962
Open: By appointment only - see notes
Phone: +(39) 0586 896290
Email: comunitaebraica.livorno@gmail.com

NOTES: Amaranta Service focus on guided tours to the lesser know sites of Livorno - the Synagogue is on its itineraries and one of the few ways to visit this highlight. Email: amarantaservice@virgilio.it. Website: www.amarantaservice.it

Look For

The Interior

Photo of the Interior of the Synagogue in Livorno

Photo: Luca Aless - Creative Commons

The baroque wooden cabinet which holds the Scrolls of Scripture was given to Livorno by the synagogue in Pesaro.

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Last Update: January 20, 2016

The information on this page was accurate when last updated and published but changes may have occurred without notice.
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