Scuola Canton (Canton Synagogue), Venice

Scuola Canton (Canton Synagogue), Venice

The Canton Synagogue is recognizable by the tiny wooden room with a small, rounded turret atop. Its name originates from either the family that sponsored its construction or its location in the "canton" (Venetian dialect for "corner") of the Ghetto Square. As the second synagogue to be built in Venice, it took shape in the 1530s with financial support from German, French, and Swiss Jews. Over time, it underwent expansions and embellishments, particularly in the 18th century, reflecting the ornate style of the Baroque era. Inscribed above the entrance portal, one can read: "Year of the construction of the Holy Community Canton Synagogue 5292 (1532)".

Upon ascending the stairs, a tablet catches the eye at the first doorway, bearing the words: "Free yourself, mortal, from evil desires when you step foot in the Temple to pray, consider to whom you are praying, and with devout faith, direct your thoughts to your Divine Subject". Above the second doorway, a verse from Solomon's Proverbs is displayed: "Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates". Just like the German Synagogue, this sanctuary adheres to the Ashkenazi rite.

The synagogue is bathed in natural light, thanks to its eleven large windows that open up to the outside. Inside, the Baroque-style decor takes center stage, adorned with elements of Rococo design. At opposite ends of the sanctuary, the main focal points—the bimah and the ark—hold prominence. What makes this synagogue unique is its "bifocal effect", as it was the first in Venice to be built with the pulpit placed in the middle of the room, conforming to the traditional configuration of a central bimah.

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Scuola Canton (Canton Synagogue) on Map

Sight Name: Scuola Canton (Canton Synagogue)
Sight Location: Venice, Italy (See walking tours in Venice)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

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