The sinagogue is the perfect example of Florentine Jewry. The construction works were started in 1874 on a project of architects Treves, Falcini and Micheli and was inaugurated on October 24 in 1882 after eight years of intense works. The construction of this temple was possible thanks to a conspicuous testamentary legacy of Cav. Davide Levi, the president of the Council of the Jewish University of Florence from 1860 to 1870.
Two seemingly opposite, but actually related approaches influenced the design of the sinagogue. On the one hand, there was the was the influence of Christian churches and the Old Spanish sinagogues, and, on the other hand, there was a desire to express Jewish identity through a distinctive architectual style. The final result is something new that combined Moorish, Byzantine and Romanesque elements. Inside it is completely covered with frescos and with beautiful Venetian mosaics in the Hekhal.
Sinced the great majority of Levantine Jews in the Florentine community, the official rite is Sephardic Orthodox, while the minority of the Ashkenazi rite meets in a school classroom next to the Temple.
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