The Great Synagogue of Florence or Tempio Maggiore is a magnificent 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 themselves topped with onion domes in the Moorish Revival style. 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 are by Giovanni Panti. Giacomo del Medico designed the great arch.
During Waorld War II facsist troops used the synagogue as a vehicle garage. In August 1944 retreating German troops worked with Italian facsists to destroy the synagogue, but heroes of 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.
Rodeph Shalom at home in N. Phila.: the decision to consolidate there was tough, but its growth was from Center City. Now, it has been a year under one roof.
Sep 24, 2006; Byline: Joseph A. Slobodzian Sep. 24--For Rodeph Shalom, the oldest congregation of Ashkenazic Jews in the Western Hemisphere,...