Great Synagogue, Rome

The Great Synagogue (Tempio Maggiore) of Rome was built to a striking modern design in 1904.

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History of the Great Synagogue

Shortly after the unification of Italy in 1870, Victor Emmanuel II dismantled the Roman Ghetto and granted the Jews of Rome full citizenship. The building that had previously housed the ghetto synagogue was demolished and the community began making plans for a new and impressive building.

The present Great Synagogue was built from 1901-1904 on the banks of the Tiber River and overlooks the former ghetto area.

On April 13, 1986, Pope John Paul II paid an unexpected visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome. This event marked the first known visit by a pope to a synagogue since the early history of the Catholic Church.

During his visit, the pope prayed with Rabbi Elio Toaff, the former Chief Rabbi of Rome. This was seen by many as an attempt to improve relations between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people, and as a softening of the Church's historically critical view of Judaism.

What to See at the Great Synagogue

Designed by Vincenzo Costa and Osvaldo Armanni, the eclectic style of the building makes it stand out even in a city known for notable buildings and structures.

The attention-grabbing Art Deco design was a deliberate choice made by the community at the time who wanted the building to be a visible celebration of their freedom and to be seen from many vantage points in the city. The dome is the only squared dome in the city and makes the building easily identifiable even from a distance.

The Synagogue, which celebrated its centenary in 2004, is more than just a house of worship; it also serves as a cultural and organizational center for la Comunità Ebraica di Roma (the Jewish community of Rome). It houses not only the offices of the Chief Rabbi of Rome but the Jewish Museum of Rome as well.

Quick Facts on the Great Synagogue

Site Information
Names:Great Synagogue · Tempio Maggiore
Country:Italy
Categories:synagogues; museums
Faiths:Judaism
Styles:Art Deco
Dates:1901-04
Status: active
Visitor and Contact Information
Coordinates:41.891950° N, 12.477982° E
Address:Lungotevere Cenci 15
Rome, Italy
00186
Email:info@museoebraico.roma.it
Hours:Jun-Sep: Sun-Thu 10-7, Fri 10-4
Oct-May: Sun-Thu 10-5, Fri 9-2
Lodging:View hotels near the Great Synagogue
Note: This information was accurate when first published and we do our best to keep it updated, but details such as opening hours and prices can change without notice. To avoid disappointment, please check with the site directly before making a special trip.

References

  1. Personal visit (July 16, 2006).
  2. Great Synagogue of Rome - Wikipedia
  3. The Jewish Museum in Rome, Museo Ebraico Di Roma by David Krusch - Jewish Virtual Library

More Information

Exterior of the Great Synagogue of Rome. © Holly Hayes
Exterior detail. © Holly Hayes
Lower facade. © Holly Hayes
Side view. © Holly Hayes
Hebrew inscription over the entrance door. © Holly Hayes

Map of the Great Synagogue, Rome

Below is a location map and aerial view of the Great Synagogue. Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.