The synagogue of Siena, a gorgeous example of both Rococo and Neoclassical architecture, was opened in 1786. It is located very close to Piazza del Campo, right in the heart of Siena's old ghetto, where Sienese Jews were confined until 1859.
Yet the Sienese Jewish community grew despite the severe restrictions and limitations they were forced to live with, reaching over 400 members and playing a major role in the city's economic and cultural growth. The synagogue, which the local Jewish community still use today for religious services, is home to priceless ancient Torah scrolls, silverware and ritual vestments, which are on display next door to the prayer room.
The women's gallery, divided over two floors, overlooks the synagogue from its fretted, florally-motifed wooden gratings: a cosy and evocative place, it is no longer used for religious purposes but is essential viewing for any visitor to the synagogue. It is home to a number of texts, images, prayer books and other objects that tell the story of the most significant aspects of the long Jewish presence in Siena.