The Synagogue of Siena
The synagogue was designed in 1786, before the Emancipation, and is located on Vicole dell Scotte.
Its simple exterior does not hint to the richness and beauty of the interior. The main prayer hall is rectangular in shape. On its lateral sides are rows of benches and in the center the podium (Tevah) is positioned. The podium is decorated with nine 10-branched candelabra dated to the XVIII century. In front of the Aron Hakodesh is the women’s section.The windows on the wall behind the podium are outlined with rich decorations. At the center of the ceiling are the designs of the stone tables of the covenant. One of the items beautifully conserved and worth special attention is Eliyahu’s Throne, a special chair used during the circumcision ceremony, located at the entrance to the main prayer hall. The chair was donated to the community in 1860 by Rabbi Nissim. On its backrest are wooden inlays with biblical quotations relating to circumcision. The visit to the synagogue includes also a visit to a small exhibition in English and Italian that displays documents and photographs depicting various events and aspects related to the Jewish community of through its 700-year existence.
The Jewish community of Siena
First evidence for the existence of Jews dates to the 14th century. For more than 350 years banking activities carried out by the Jews flourished, despite the establishment of the very successful Italian Monte di Pietà in 1471 (later the Monte dei Paschi).
In 1555, the anti Jewish papal bull was issued. Cosimo de’ Medici imposed it on the Jews in 1571 and specified that they were to reside in a quarter designated only for Jews near Piazza del Campo. The Ghetto was confined between Via Salicotto and Via San Martino where it crosses Via dell Scotte, Vicolo del Luparello and Vicolo del Realto. The Ghetto functioned until 1859.
In about 1935, reconstruction work began. Some of the original structures of the Ghetto remained as is and are still visible to today’s visitors. The original names of the streets have also remained unchanged.
Opposite the synagogue, one can find the Fonte del Ghetto, as it is still called today by the local people of Siena, built in the wall in Via degli Archi.
The ancient cemetery in Via Linaiolo is still used today.
Some practical information
Monday – Friday: 10.30 a.m – 3.00 p.m
Sunday: 10.30 a.m – 5.30 p.m
The Synagogue is closed in 2012 on the following days:
Rosh ha Shanà ( September 17- 18); Yom Kippur (closed at noon on September 25 and all day September 26); Sukkot ( October 1-2 ); Shemini Atzeret ( October 8); Simchat Torah (October 9); December 25.
On Jewish Holidays and Saturdays the Synagogue is open only for religious services
Visiting the Synagogue
The public may visit the Synagogue in several ways
Every half hour, brief introductory presentations, alternating in Italian and English, are offered as a free service.
Fully guided tours, lasting approximately 30 minutes, are offered to groups and individuals, by advance reservation, in several languages. Thematic tours are available based on your group’s particular interest
Guided tours and workshops for school groups, may be arranged by advance reservation only.
There will be a presentation for teachers of the Synagogue’s educational programs at the beginning of the school year.
Ticket prices are valid until December 31 2012
Regular: 4 €: (includes introductory presentation)
reduced: 3 €Children aged 6 – 14; students* aged 15 – 26; journalists*; groups of more than 20 people; visitors in possession of tickets of the Jewish Museum of Venice and the Synagogue and Jewish Museum of Florence.*
*is request valid identification
Free: Firenze Card holders; children under 6; aides accompanying handicapped visitors; teachers accompanying school groups (two free admissions for every 15 students); guides accompanying groups (one free admission for every 20 persons in the group).
Guided tours (30 minutes):
3 €: (fare applied for groups of at least 20 paying people)
Guided tours: 3 € ( fare applied for classes of at least 18 paying people)
Workshop: 4,50 € ( fare applied for classes of at least 15 paying people)
For security reasons, cameras, mobile phones and video cameras are not allowed inside the synagogue.
The Synagogue is handicap accessible.
How to Reach Us
Location: The synagogue is located on Vicolo delle Scotte 14, 53100, Siena.
How to get there:
On foot: one minute from Piazza del Campo
By bus: Bus lines Pollicino Siena: A 51, bus stop Piazza del Mercato; B 52, bus stop, Logge del Papa (www.trainspa.it/mappe/mappa_pollicini.pdf )
By car: paid parking Il Campo is available in Via di Fontanella, a few minutes by foot from the synagogue.
Further Information and Reservations
Pierreci Codess Coopcultura soc. coop.
Phone: +39 0577 -271345 +39 055- 2466089