This exhibition offers a synthesis of the most significant moments of antisemitic action on behalf of the fascist regime, from the ‘Manifesto of the Race’ to the promulgation of the racial laws and the attitude of the bureaucracy and the mass media, and reconstructs what happened at a local level in the environment of the school through newspaper articles, ministerial circulars and direct evidence. The Jewish Museum of Livorno, inaugurated on the 8th November 1992 is situated in the Oratorio Marini, a small neoclassical palazzo that was adapted to house this place of faith in 1867, a characteristic that remains today. There are some of the furnishings that were once kept in the monumental Synagogue, built in 1593 but destroyed in the last world war in the bombings.
This splendid Synagogue reflected the flourishing of the Jewish Nation in Livorno, as it filled with silver and precious materials: the thriving commerce passing through the port, of which the Jews were the most important protagonists, rendered the liturgical patrimony of the Synagogue all the more heterogeneous. In fact in the Marini Museum today there are objects of Dutch, north African, Florentine, Roman and Venetian origin, as well as those made by the local silversmiths. Unfortunately the oldest and most precious pieces have been lost over the years, but some of those remaining, such as a crown dated 1636 or some of the eighteenth-century furnishings, show a quality of craftsmanship that is not easy to find elsewhere. The wooden Hekhàl, to which the rich carvings and the three little cupolas confer a rather oriental touch, was transported to the Oratorio in Via Micali and put to use again.
The tradition has it that this, as many other pieces, was brought by the Jews exiled from the Iberian peninsula, but perhaps it was of north Italian manufacture.In the Museum there are examples of objects in finely-worked coral, this being one of the activities monopolised by the Jews in Livorno. Similarly, as evidence of the textile commerce, a bolt of cloth made in Lyons around the middle of the XVIIIth century, can be seen, used to upholster several furnishings. Also the embroidery work, most of it carried out by Jewish embroiderers, represents one of the most interesting aspects of ceremonial art in Livorno.The Museum will be expanded, to take up also the women's gallery of the Oratory where more detailed documentation on Jewish lifestyle and traditions in Livorno will be kept. Also the objects not only of historical and artistical value but also for simple liturgical uses for the Synagogue and in the home will be more adequately displayed, donated or left in deposit by families to complete the story of the Community.
Useful information: the Museum is open through booking.
Opening hours September - June on the first Sunday of every month from 3pm to 5pm
Public services organised by Cooperativa Sociale Amaranta Service, including cultural visit in Italian, French, English languages
Visits organised for schools, agreed on basis of specific needs
The Jewish Community and the Cooperativa Amaranta Service are available for further details, meetings, reflections on finding out about the Community and history of art of Livorno.
For information and booking, please call Cooperativa Amaranta Service
Telephone: 0339.2997687, 0586.893361