Synagogue of Pisa

Synagogue Attractions

Documents show that Pisa’s synagogue has occupied the same building since the end of the sixteenth century. Initially rented, the complex was purchased in 1647 and first renovated in 1785. In 1861-65 it was renovated again, to a project by the architect Marco Treves. Treves was a Jew from Vercelli working in Tuscany at the time, where he designed some major works for his Jewish clientele. The façade was redesigned, and is simple albeit echoing classical forms. The main hall of the synagogue on the first floor was raised, and Treves added both a second order of windows, and the large pavilion vault adorned with sober neoclassical decorations. The furnishings were rearranged according to layout that had become popular during the Emancipation, inspired by Roman Catholic churches: the tevah, enclosed by a semi-circular balustrade in walnut wood was placed next to the area of the Aron ha-Kodesh, creating a single focal point, like church cancels. The central space was entirely occupied by pews, in two sectors of parallel rows facing the Aron and the women’s gallery was on the opposite side, above the entrance.