1 hour 30 min
English, Italian, Spanish
The history of Jewish Ghetto in Rome takes us back in time to Roman times, with the road called Portico D’Ottavia, which will also be our first stop in the visit. This area of the is a real open museum.
His name choose Emperor Augustus, dedicating it to his sister Octavia. Think that it was made between 33 and 23 BC, only this can make you understand how much history has passed in this small corner of Rome. Over the centuries it has been renovated several times,
Right next door is also the Teatro Marcello, a structure very similar to that of the most important amphitheatre in the world! But it is not!
This theatre was in fact-built years before, and was fundamental for the design of the Colosseum, theatre was often used in Ancient Rome, and if today we can see arena’s like the Colosseum or the Arena of Verona, in part you also owe it to this beautiful theatre.
But the era of Ancient Rome mixes in this place with another reality, very different that still testifies to the suffering and pain of the Jewish people.
You must know that over the centuries Jews have been forced to stay in this neighbourhood, hence the name “Jewish Ghetto”. It was Pope Paul IV Carafa who built it in order to better control and supervise the Jews present in the city.
The population was thus forced to reside only in this part of the city, in very poor conditions and in maximum poverty. The Jews could in fact leave the Ghetto only at dawn but were obliged to return at sunset: special doors, whose keys were in the possession of some noble and powerful Christian families, were closed at night and always guarded by guards.
The area of the Portico d’Ottavia became in fact the protagonist of one of the darkest pages of history: it was here that on October 16, 1943, the Jews of the Ghetto were gathered to be deported to Nazi concentration camps.
One of the things you will surely notice when you follow the guides through the streets of this neighborhood is that on the walls there are often commemorative plaques.
You should know that another of the peculiarities of the Jewish Ghetto is that it has many small alleys that characterise it. Walking you will happen to see cobblestones different from the usual. They are made of brass and immediately catch the eye because they are golden in color. They are usually given the name stumbling blocks.
On each stumbling block you will notice the phrase “Deported Auschwitz” with the date of death, and you will be very impressed to look at them closely.
The first stop we will visit is the Great Temple of Rome from the outside, the largest synagogue in the city. It is in the heart of the neighbourhood. This place of worship has been very important for many people is visible from most of the Roman viewpoints.
Then we will head towards Piazza Mattei to admire one of the fountains that you absolutely must see in Rome: the Fountain of the Turtles! We are talking about a small monument that contains beauty and a truly unique history. A legend tells that Duke Mattei had this fountain built in a single night to amaze the father of the girl he wanted to marry because he was against this marriage.
You will understand in this point of the tour that are legends to give a magical touch to the visit, allowing you to look at everything with different eyes. If you want to learn more about Rome’s legends and mysteries you can join our Ghosts in Rome tour also.
We will finish our walk behind the fountain, where is a building that was very important for Jews during World War II. The family staying inside this palace allowed many Jews to take refuge in its rooms, as Germans where entering inside the Ghetto. The purpose we all know was to deport and murder Jews. This gesture allowed many men, women, and children to survive.
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