Guide to Jewish and Kosher Italy
Italy » Tuscany » Florence
Jewish Tours

What to do in Florence
Explore the Jewish Quarter, Jewish Museum, Academy of Arts, museums, palaces, and gardens. Experience Shabbat in the Beit Chabad.

History of Jewish Florence
One art piece of Jewish themed art dominates this beautiful city is David, created by the artist Michelangelo.

Just across the Ponte Vecchio, in the maze of old lanes that face the Pitti Palace, is the via Ramagliau (once called Via dei Giudei or "Street of the Jews") which remains unchanged from the Renaissance. The streets are about 10 feet wide and are framed in by gray and yellow, three story houses with brown shutters.

The famous Duomo, was started in 1296, and what most people don't see, are the wooden side doors on the south side of the cathedral, where one can see one Tablet of the Law with the first five commandments written in Hebrew. Another set of carved doors were started in 1425 and finished in 1452. They are the 10 carved panels on the doors of the Baptistery, which represent 10 scenes from the Bible as carved by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

The famous Medici ruler and humanist Lorenzo the Magnificent invited Sephardic Jews to settle in Florence in the fifteenth century because he wanted to have international traders and bankers in the city state. Even when the ghetto existed, restrictions were not so rigorously enforced, so Florence became a safe haven for Jewish refugees fleeing from Spain and the other Papal States. When Napoleon opened the gates of the ghetto, it was not such an enormous change as elsewhere. Again, in Florence the occupation of the Germans meant that about one-fourth of the community, including the rabbi, were sent to the death camps.

Jewish Tours
Jewish Florence Tours (Jewish and Renaissance Florence or customized tours)
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