October 23, 2009

Jewish Synagogue of Florence

Last night I took a guided tour of the Jewish Synagogue (Tempio Maggiore) of Florence, it was very interesting as it reminded me of being in Cordoba, Spain with my mom, touring the Mosques & Cathedrals there. It was designed by Jewish architects, however, at the time Jews were not allowed to "build" so they commissioned Christian & Muslim workers to construct the building.

They used similar designs to the Siena Cathedral (which I saw last weekend), of Christian design, however, instead of the dark & light marble, this synagogue is rose & white colored stripes. It reminded me of the very famous Mezquita Cathedral (once a mosque) in Cordoba, Spain. The towers of the building are also attributed to the Moorish style of architecture.

I learned a little bit more about the Jewish faith, as our leader was very enthusiastic about spreading information about the history of the Jewish people, particularly in Florence. I found out that the famous Piazza Repubblica used to be the central area & "ghetto" of Florentine Jews, until the "Risanamento" (restructuring of the city) of the late 1800's. I walk through this piazza almost daily, but now can have a new appreciation for the way it once was.

After our tour, that the The Florentine (http://www.theflorentine.net) organized we went to Ruth's (http://www.kosheruth.com) for our kosher appertivo. I felt like I was back in Israel again, eating only vegetarian, in a tiny little restaurant filled with so many joyous people.

It was a lovely evening seeing the synagogue, that I have only seen from above Florence at Piazzale Michelangelo, with its tall greenish blue dome, and enjoying our delicious meal afterwards. Nifla !!! (wonderful in hebrew!)


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