The Great Synagogue
In 1870, with the end of the papal rule over the city, Rome became the new capital of Italy.
Jews finally regained their civil rights and were free to settle anywhere throughout the city.
The Ghetto area was in desperate hygienic conditions, the houses on the river banks needed to be demolished in order to build the embankments. In general the entire area was perceived as a symbol of shame and abasement.
The Jewish Community of Rome and the civic administration together agreed to raze the ghetto to the ground.
By the end of the 19th century, the demolition was almost completely accomplished.
The area of the former ghetto was divided into four blocks and the Great Synagogue was to be built on one of them.
The competition organized to build the synagogue was won by an engineer, Vincenzo Costa, and by an architect, Osvaldo Armanni.
The first cornerstone was laid in 1901, and the synagogue was inaugurated in 1904.
The imposing building is built in eclectic style with Greek and Assyrian architectural motifs.
The internal layout is a slightly elongated Greek cross, oriented towards east. A translucent aluminum dome surmounts the entire building.
The inside of the synagogue conveys a great monumental effect thanks to the brightly colored geometric and floral decorations on the walls and on the dome by the painters Annibale Brugnoli and Domenico Bruschi and to the stained glass windows by Cesare Picchiarini.
The two marble seats on the Bima (the pulpit, called also tevah) and the two arks for the Torah scrolls in the side aisles come from the Cinque Scole: precious artwork made of polychrome marbles from the 16th and 17th century.
The building also hosts the offices of the Jewish Community of Rome, the Rabbinical Office, the ritual bath, The Spanish Synagogue, the Historical Archive and the Jewish Museum of Rome.
The Spanish Synagogue
At the time of the Cinque Scole the Jews following the Sephardic ( Spanish) rite used to pray in the Scola Catalana, and in the Scola Castigliana.
When the Cinque Scole were demolished in 1908 a Sephardic Synagogue was built on Lungotevere Sanzio by the same architects who had designed the Great Synagogue: Costa and Armanni.
The building also contained the Jewish schools that grew to the point that in 1932 the Spanish Synagogue had to be transferred to its current location.
In 1948, the Spanish Synagogue was restored and embellished with polychrome marbles from the Cinque Scole. The structure of the room and the layout of the furnishings still convey the atmosphere of the ancient synagogues, with the Aron (where the Torah scrolls are kept) and the Tevàh facing each other, placed in the middle of the longer sides.
The Ark containing the Torah scrolls belonged to the Scola Nuova, while the two seats in pavonazzetto marble belonged to the Scola Catalana. The 19th century pulpit was originally placed in the Scola Castigliana.
Copyright Museo Ebraico di Roma, All right reserved
Realizzato per [ Museo Ebraico di Roma ] da www.Ascer.net