On one of the four large blocks built after the old ghetto was demolished, stands the imposing building of the Tempio Maggiore, or Large Temple. Its monumental proportions symbolize the new-found freedom and legal equality obtained by the Roman Jewish community, which has roots in the city going back twenty-two centuries.
The building was inaugurated in 1904, and designed by Vincenzo Costa and Osvaldo Armanni. Their stylistic research led to an eclectic architecture, with Greek-inspired elements that were felt to be in keeping with the forms of the main local monuments, a style directly influenced by Asiatic motifs, Assyrian ones in particular.
The building has a Greek cross plan topped with a segmented dome, which can be made out clearly in every panoramic view of the city.
Inside, long rows of pews face the polygonal apse at the end of the sanctuary, where a solemn raised space enclosed by a balustrade unites the tevah and aron. The latter stands out against the sumptuous polychrome background for its imposing aedicule structure, with white Assyrian-style columns, friezes and gilded arabesques, and the high tympanum culminating in the Tablets of the Law.
The women’s galleries overlook three sides of the hall, and are supported by rows of columns and framed by the four large central pillars which hold up the dome.
At the top of the side aisles and in other spaces inside the complex, some of the fine marble furnishings from the Cinque Scole, demolished in 1908, have been relocated. These pieces date from between the 16th and 17th centuries.
Largo Stefano Gaj Taché – 00186 Rome
Guided visit included in the entrance ticket to the Jewish Museum of Rome.