The Story of the Jews
FIRST FLOOR ROOM
The room situated on the first floor documents the history of Jews in Florence over the centuries and their relations with the city. The showcases display textile and silverware furnishings and accoutrements used for ceremonies in the synagogue, dating from the late 16th to the 19th centuries. Most of the items on display come from the two synagogues in the Ghetto: the Italian synagogue that opened shortly after the creation of the neighbourhood in which Jews were forced to live from 1571, and the Spanish or Levantine synagogue that opened a few years later, along with items from the synagogues of Arezzo and Lippiano – communities now no longer in existence – and with items specially created for the synagogue of Florence itself.
A large section is devoted to ornaments for the Sefer Tora, the parchment rolls containing the Pentateuch in Hebrew.
Objects and furnishings
SECOND FLOOR ROOM
On the second floor, a room offering an intriguing view of the interior of the synagogue houses objects and furnishings for domestic and private devotion illustrating salient moments in the religious festivities and daily lives of a Jew, such as birth, marriage and the attainment of religious majority: the bar or bat mitzvah.
Many of these items were donated by Jewish families eager to testify to their attachment to the community the more prominent amongst them including Cavalier David Levi who left his entire estate to the community to build the synagogue, and Rabbi Shmuel Zvi Margulies of Polish origin who founded and led the Rabbinical College.
THE SYNAGOGUE STORY
An immersive experience takes the visitor into the presence of the leading players in Florentine Jewish life in the 19th century: Cavalier David Levi, architect Marco Treves and Rabbi Samuel Margulies, in a riveting account of the astonishing story of the construction of Florence’s synagogue.