Great Synagogue of Florence (Tempio Maggiore)
The Great Synagogue is one of Florence’s architectural marvels, known primarily for its striking dome patterned in colorful frescoes and mosaics on the inside and turning heads with its bright green oxidized copper cladding on the outside. Constructed from 1874 to 1882, the building features dramatic alternating layers of pink limestone and white travertine and three large Moresque arches framing the entrance, as well as ornate marble floors, mosaics, hand-painted walls, and stained glass windows. Those interested in Jewish history and architecture buffs will especially enjoy visiting the Great Synagogue and its small Jewish Museum as part of city walking or bike tours.
Things to know before you go
- Visitors can tour both the synagogue and Jewish Museum with a single combined ticket.
- The synagogue complex is accessible to wheelchair users.
- Photography is not allowed inside the synagogue and museum.
- A Great Synagogue of Florence tour is particularly compelling for Jewish history enthusiasts.
How to get there
The Great Synagogue complex is located on Via Farini in the historic center of Florence, a short walk from top attractions like the Duomo and Uffizi Gallery. The synagogue is located almost halfway between the Santa Maria Novella and Campo di Marte train stations, and can be reached by foot from either.
When to get there
The synagogue complex is closed on the Jewish sabbath and holidays, so check the calendar before planning a visit.
The Birth of the Great Synagogue of Florence
Florence’s Jewish community had been planning the construction of a new synagogue since the mid-1800s, but work was never begun due to a lack of funds. In 1868, David Levi, President of the Hebrew University, bequeathed his estate to fund the construction of a “Monumental Temple worthy of Florence”, and within just a few years the temple construction had begun.
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