Friday, October 20, 2017 /
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Italian Synagogue

Italian Synagogue

Built in 1575, last in order of time of the Synagogues constructed under the Venetian Republic, it is clearly recognizable from the outside by the five big arched windows similar to those in the Scola Grande Tedesca, and the small baroque dome over the apse. On the wall there is a crest with the inscription: «Holy Italian Community in the year 1575 », and a small inscribed tablet «in memory of the destruction of the Temple ». Near the entrance the inscription is repeated « Holy Italian Community ». A small portal and very narrow stairs lead into the Synagogue which is less ornate than the others; this is almost certainly a proof of the modest economic conditions of the Community observing the Italian rite.

Inside the small entrance hall of the ground floor one can read an 18th century style warning: « Humble in attitude and with sure faith May all devout worshippers lay here their prayers and even when their foot is turned elsewhere May their thoughts be always turned to God ». In the entrance hall, in addition to a tablet commemorating Rabbi Itzchaq Pacifico, we read that the Synagogue was restored in 5499 (1739) and opened in 5500 (1740) by the «Parnasim Coen, Nizza e Osimo ».

The Scola Italiana, with its slightly elongated rectangular shape, is given noble yet severe appearance by the simple austerity of its pews, its fine Holy Ark decorated with elegant wood ornaments and culminating in a heavy pinnacle, and its 18th century pulpit projecting from a polygonal apse.

Elegant banisters with a crossed arch motif, typical of 18th century Venetian furniture decorate the pulpit stairs; while the lowered lattices of the small women's gallery remind one of those in the Scola Canton. On the walls there are gilded inscriptions on dark stone of prayers to the Lord, and repeated acrostics of the author's name «Avraham Shalom ». On the banisters of the Aron one reads that this was « the work and the gift of young Menachem Joshua Guglielmi in 5602 ( 1842) », while the Aron itself was « the gift of Benjamin Marina from Consiglio ». On the doors of the Aron, as in the other « Scole », the ten Commandments are carved. And under the teva (pulpit) one reads that «the tower of the House of our Lord was renovated in 5549 (1789) ».

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