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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
|Architect:||Angelo Di Castro|
|Open:||By appointment only - see notes|
|Phone:||+(39) 0586 896290|
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: email@example.com. Website: www.amarantaservice.it
Photo: Luca Aless - Creative Commons
The baroque wooden cabinet which holds the Scrolls of Scripture was given to Livorno by the synagogue in Pesaro.
Connect with US
Get All Updates