The Synagogue stands close to the city centre, near the Teatro Verdi and the church of S. Andrea. It was inaugurated in September 1595, and is still used for worship. Jews are known to have been in Pisa at least since the end of the 14thcentury and the building that once occupied the space where the Temple now stands was already let to a family of Israelites in 1434.
The early nucleus of the Synagogue was basically just one house but later other rooms and storerooms were added, allowing a kosher butcher and baths for ritual ablutions to be opened adjacent to it. In 1780, the year when even the Grand Duke Peter Leopold visited the temple, it was the pride of the Pisan Jewish Community for its size and beauty.
The Synagogue has changed since the Grand Duke’s day. It was completely restructured in 1861-65, by the architect Treves from Vercelli (1814-1898), who had studied in Paris and London and had taken part in re-structuring the Louvre and the Tuileries. He aimed to create a geometric, linear building, similar in style to the Tuscan Renaissance. The rooms inside were enlarged and the ceilings raised and decorated with refined classical details still visible, such as the painted ceiling in the place of worship, the Aron in the shape of an aedicule with a triangular pediment and Corinthian columns, the false coffered ceiling and the women’s gallery resting on columns with ionic capitals and a baluster of Corinthian columns.