Lifelong Learning Programme

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Synagogue - Livorno

Synagogue - Livorno

Via del Tempio – Livorno - Italy



The Synagogue of Livorno was built in 1962 on the site of the ancient Synagogue of 1604, partially destroyed during the Second World War (the first dates back to 1595 and it was located in a private house, although officially recognized by the Grand Duke of Tuscany). The Union of the Jewish Communities wanted to build a new synagogue after the tragedy of the war, as a monument to Jewish vitality.
The Medici Family, Grand Duke of Tuscany, tried to give relevance to the city of Livorno since 16th century. Ferdinand I actively promoted the development of the city and made Livorno a trade crossroads of the Mediterranean. He decided to declare Livorno a “Freeport”, granting, at the same time, privileges and immunities to foreign merchants. Especially, he was thinking about the Jews who had been expelled from Spain and Portugal at the end of 1400, and the "Marranos", Jews converted to Christianity but still loyal to the Talmud. He proclaimed the so-called "Livornine" laws (1591-1593) by which merchants from everywhere were invited to settle in Livorno, granting them freedom of worship: "Merchants of any nation, East-people, West-people, Spanish, Portuguese, Greeks, Germans, Italians, Jews, Turks, Moors, Armenians, Persians". Every nation, including the Jews, was allowed self-government, had its own Consuls and could live anywhere – no “Ghettos” were built in Livorno – was given the Tuscan "citizenship" and therefore the immunity to those who settled in the city. Freedom of worship was guaranteed: thus the first Synagogue and other sacred buildings of the other Churches and Confessions present in the city were built.
In the law known as "Livornina" Ferdinand I granted the Jews the privilege of living in the cities of Pisa and Livorno, where “ghettos” didn’t exist, as in other Tuscan cities: the Jews were not bound by the “azakà” contract (which prescribed the right to use the buildings), but they had the possibility to buy stable property, therefore they were well rooted in the urban space.
Starting from the Livornine laws, a general sense of tolerance was established, so that Livorno became the fertile ground for revolutionary initiatives such as the publication of the first edition of the book of the most important Italian Enlightenment intellectual Cesare Beccaria "Dei delitti e delle pene / On crimes and punishment" (1764) which was the forerunner of the abolition of the death penalty throughout the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (the first state in the world) in 1786. In the 19th century the climate of toleration allowed the construction of religious buildings of other religious confessions. Also Livorno Catholic church, very strong and rooted above all in the 17th -18th -19th centuries, was influenced by the various oriental communities present over there. There was also a Maronite bishop from 1832 to 1840, the Syrian Raffaello De Ghantuz-Cubbe. Livorno was the only Italian city that knew no persecution, so much so that neither with the Lorena in the 19th century, nor with Fascism
As to use :

Virtual or real tour of the cult buildings of the various religions and confessions

NB: This activity is also connected to the places of worship of the flash cards:
LIVORNO: Via della Madonna
LIVORNO: Church of the Dutch
LIVORNO: Church of San Giorgio-formerly Anglican and English Cemetery

- Live tour: The route can be covered in a short time (about twenty minutes walking)
- Virtual tour through Google Maps / Google Earth / photos of sites available on the Internet

Preparation in the classroom:
Students, divided into small groups, prepare for the visit searching for images and information. The groups may use photographic documents (in the suggested links) related to the facades of the different places of worship and the addresses or geo-location of the different buildings.
They will have to discover:
- the name
- religion / confession the place originally belonged to
- religion / confession it belongs to today

As the different places are quite near the ones to the others, and they are all in/around the pedestrian area of the city, students might be involved in a treasure hunt to discover the very places, which they will accompany with a selfie and with the possibility of verifying the historical and current religious information, looking for every possible testimony of their discovery.
The order of "discovery" of the various places of worship will be different for each group, so that they will not cross the path and will work independently.

The game can end with a prize, if the teacher wishes to evaluate the best answers, both in the classroom and in the live phase.



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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.