Rome, often called the Eternal City, boasts a profound history spanning millennia. Renowned for the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Vatican City, this historical metropolis is an indisputable treasure trove of cultural artifacts and stories. However, many travelers miss out on experiencing Rome's rich Jewish history. A walking tour of the Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue offers a journey into a crucial but lesser-known aspect of Roman history.
The Jewish Quarter, or the 'Roman Ghetto,' is nestled in the heart of Rome, between Piazza Venezia and the Tiber River. Established in 1555, the Ghetto existed until 1870, marking a significant period of seclusion for the Jewish community. Despite such a troubled past, it has now evolved into a symbol of resilience, showcasing a unique blend of culture, history, and architecture.
Embarking on a Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue walking tour, the first place of interest is the Portico d’Ottavia. Once a massive architectural complex dedicated to Emperor Au
As you walk further into the Ghetto, you will notice the distinct character of the neighborhood. Narrow, winding lanes are filled with kosher restaurants, bakeries, and shops selling Jewish artifacts. Don't miss out on trying some delicious Roman-Jewish cuisine, such as "carciofi alla giudia" (Jewish-style artichokes), a true delicacy.
Next, make your way to the Piazza delle Cinque Scole, named after the five synagogues that once stood here. Today, it remains a vibrant meeting spot with a rich history. The piazza leads to the Via del Portico d'Ottavia, the main street filled with plaques commemorating Jewish Romans who were deported during WWII.
The cornerstone of your walking our is the Great Synagogue of Rome or the Tempio Maggiore di Roma. This remarkable edifice, constructed after the ghetto's abolishment in 1882, is one of the largest synagogues in Europe. The unique square dome, covered in travertine, stands out in Rome's cityscape. The synagogue also houses the Jewish Museum of Rome, where artifacts, including ancient Torah scrolls and textiles, document the Roman Jewish community's history.
Inside the synagogue, take note of the stunning interior design - a mix of various styles from Byzantine to Art Nouveau. The Holy Ark, where the Torah scrolls are kept, is another significant sight, made from marble and gold.
While touring the Synagogue, ensure to visit the Spanish Synagogue, located in the same complex. This smaller synagogue is a gem with its intricate decorations and historical importance, especially for Rome's Sephardic Jewish community.
As your walking tour concludes, take time to visit the Tiber Island, located nearby. It’s home to the Fatebenefratelli Hospital, where numerous Jewish lives were saved during WWII by doctors who diagnosed them with the fictional "K Syndrome."
In conclusion, the Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue walking tour offers a chance to explore Rome from a fresh perspective. This excursion isn't just for those interested in Jewish history. It is a voyage through centuries of Roman history, intersecting cultures, and architectural grandeur. It's a journey of resilience and a testament to the power of cultural preservation.
The beauty of Rome is not just in the famous landmarks that everyone knows but also in its hidden corners that carry untold stories and represent diverse cultural influences. As you step into the Jewish Ghetto, you step into a living, breathing narrative - a narrative that continues to shape Rome's vibrant cultural fabric. And there lies the real magic of a walking tour of Rome.
So, the next time you find yourself planning a walking tour of Rome, do consider the Jewish Ghetto and Synagogue. Its rich tapestry of history, culture, and heritage is sure to leave you with a deeper appreciation of Rome’s many layers, a city eternally fascinating.
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What is aJewish Ghetto walking tour in Rome?
A Jewish Ghetto tour in Rome is an experience that takes you around the city letting you to visit the most important of the Jewish community
The cost of this walking tour in Rome is 220€ for the guide plus 100€ for round trip transfer from/to your hotel in Rome