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Florence Tempio Maggiore

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Florence Tempio Maggiore


Basic Information

Location Via Farini 4, Florence, Italy
Country Italy
City Florence

General Information

Open to visitors yes
Need appointment no
Handicap accessibility no
Geographical Coordinates 43.77288,11.26548


The Great Synagogue of Florence or Tempio Maggiore is a notable synagogue in Florence, Italy


The synagogue was built between 1874 and 1882. The architects were Mariano Falcini, Professor Vincente Micheli, and Marco Treves who was Jewish. Their design integrated the architectural traditions of the Islamic and Italian worlds.

Layers of travertine and granite alternate in the masonry, creating a striped effect like that of the Siena Cathedral. Old photographs show bold red and beige stripes, but the bold colors of the stone have faded over time, leaving a more mottled effect.

The overall form of the synagogue is the cruciform plan of Hagia Sophia emulated by so many mosques. The corner towers are topped with horseshoe-arched towers, with onion domes in the Moorish Revival style above them. Three horseshoe arches form the main entrance, above it rise tiers of ajimez windows, with their paired horseshoe arches sharing a single column.

Inside the building "every square inch is covered with colored designs," in Moorish patterns. The interior mosaics and frescoes inside were created by Giovanni Panti. Giacomo del Medico designed the great arch.

During World War II Fascist soldiers used the synagogue as a vehicle garage. In August 1944 retreating German troops worked with Italian Fascists to destroy the synagogue, but the Italian resistance managed to defuse most of the explosives. Only a limited amount of damage was done. The synagogue was restored after the war. It was restored again after damage by massive flooding in 1966.


The Jewish community in Florence is composed of about 1400 people. However, it has a long history which reaches back to the medieval era. However, there was a nearby Jewish community in the Oltrarno area, south of the Arno river that dates to the Roman Eraand it is dated that the first synagogue was built in the 13th century

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Time period

19th century