The Italian Synagogue of Padua is the only synagogue in city still in use from the Renaissance through World War II. It was built in 1584 and restored in 1581, 1631, 1830, and 1865. It was closed in 1892 when the community built a modern synagogue, but reopened after the war because in 1943 fascists burned the modern synagogue.
The synagogue is located in the historic ghetto. The baroque synagogue measures 18 by 7 meters. As is usual in Italian synagogues, the Bimah and Torah Ark are located at opposite sides of the room, with the space in between left vacant to accommodate the processional. What is unusual about the synagogue at Padua is that the Ark and Bimah are placed on the synagogues's long walls.
The baroque, sixteenth century Torah Ark is made from the wood of a plane tree that was struck down by lightning in the University's famous botanical garden. It features gilded doors, four Corinthian columns made of black marble with white veining, and carved foliage. The balduchin is in the form of a broken pediment.
The ceiling is coffered and painted. The area between the Torah Ark and Bimah is a coffered barrel vault, with large, heavily-carved baroque rosettes in each recess.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.