Padua Synagogue

Padua, Italy

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.



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Founded: 1584
Category: Religious sites in Italy

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User Reviews

Jacqueline Laznow (11 months ago)
Magnificent experience!!
Sabrina T. (12 months ago)
The Synagogue of Padua according to the Italian rite is the oldest preserved in the city. According to custom, it is located on the first floor, inside a noble palace in the center of Padua, exactly in Via S. Martino and Solferino n. 13. From the street it is not clear that inside there is the place of worship which was built in 1548 and still retains the ancient wooden furniture with the Aron, the large bookcase that contains the scrolls of the Law. The structure is not typical of a classic synagogue because here they had to adapt to the noble hall they had available, so the altar and lectern are placed in the center of the room rather than at the end of the longer sides (the altar must in fact be placed towards Jerusalem ). In the past there were 2 other synagogues in the city in addition to this one: the one of the Spanish rite and the largest one of the German rite, in which all 3 rites converged in the course of history. Today it is attended by about 180 practitioners who meet for Friday and Saturday prayers.
Beniamino Di Capua (2 years ago)
One of the many cultural jewels of this splendid city, to be visited together with the museum.
Adi Grynholc (4 years ago)
Splendid Italian style synagogue. Definitely worth a visit. Entry either on Saturday morning when there is a prayer or with a guide from the Museo Hebraico around the corner.
Sam Gee (4 years ago)
Being inside the synagogue, observing the magnificent interior, hidden in an upper floor one comes to the conclusion, it was all done for one sole reason "to pray and glorify the ONE & ONLY"
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