The Siena Synagogue
The Siena Synagogue, located a few steps from Piazza del Campo, is located in the heart of the ancient Jewish ghetto of Siena, where the Sienese Jews remained confined until 1859. In 1571 the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo I de Medici, in fact extended I Restrictive measures already adopted in Florence also in the Sienese State, where the Jews were present since the 12th century. Despite the limitations and heavy restrictions, the Sienese Jewish community developed, reaching to overcome the number of 400 members and its commitment contributed significantly to the economic and cultural growth of the city.
In 1786 the splendid synagogue of Siena was inaugurated with a solemrene musical ceremony, which still represents the cult center of the local Jewish community and one of the few examples of architecture between Rococo and Neoclassicism present in Tuscany. The simple external facade and, in contrast, the elegant richly decorated internal environment are exemplary of the synagogues made in the age of the ghetti, before the emancipation of Italian Jews, which took place with the Unity of Italy in 1861.
The room, a slightly rectangular shape, houses the sides of the rows of banks, while in the center is the podium (Tevà) enriched by nine XVIII century candelabra. At the center of the ceiling, the tables of the white and painted blue stucco law have been inserted. The synagogue, still used for religious functions from the local Jewish community, hosts ancient rolls of the Torà, argenti and ritual rituals of great value, exhibited in the room adjacent to the prayer classroom.
The ancient mattress of women, arranged on two floors, overlooks the synagogue protected by perforated wooden grates with floral motifs: a place collected and rich in suggestions, is no longer used for ritual use, but integrates the visit to the synagogue and hosts a Path of texts, images, prayer books and objects that retrace the most significant aspects of the long Jewish presence in Siena.