The Roman Jewish community – among religion, heritage and culture
If you want to discover an authentic side of Rome, and have visited the most famous attractions, such as the Colosseum and the Vatican, why not venture off the beaten path on one of our Jewish Rome tours. They will transport you away from the crowds, escaping the traffic and exploring the alleys and backstreets of the historic center.
Places few tourists even know exist.
If you want to get to know Rome in a different way, take a guided walking tour of one of Rome’s most interesting neighborhoods, the ancient Jewish quarter of Rome and its community.Through our Jewish Rome tours, you can discover and enjoy to the full its bohemian atmosphere, bursting with culture, charm and some of Rome’s finest cuisine!
Discovering Jewish Rome – The Ghetto
Because they were accused of killing Christ, and nicknamed “a deicidal people”, the Jews were looked upon with scorn by Christians and forced to live in the ghettos of their cities.
Located in the heart of central Rome, the former ghetto has become a fairly touristy neighborhood and still houses a small Jewish community. Today’s Jewish quarter runs from the left bank of the Tiber River to Largo Argentina, where Julius Caesar was assassinated.
Today, it embodies the uninterrupted relationship between the Jews and the city of Rome, sealed when Rome’s Jews were emancipated after the dismantling of the Ghetto in the late 19th century. To underline their newfound freedom, in 1904 they built their large Synagogue, recognizable from afar with its large spectacular dome.
Jewish Rome tours of the old Jewish Ghetto
Roman Judaism still represents the city’s largest, liveliest and most deeply rooted community, with its own dialect mixed with Hebrew words and its own culinary tradition.
There are many restaurants, grocery stores and various Jewish shops still populating the Ghetto which manage to preserve their authenticity despite being situated in an area dedicated to tourism.
In this rich capital of Christianity, there are many testimonies to the politics of the popes who, sometimes for the better but more often for the worse, have influenced the life of the Jews of Rome if not all the Diaspora.
However, this entrenched residence of the Jewish people has left a rich monumental legacy in Rome, from the Jewish catacombs to the Synagogue of Ostia Antica, up to the Great Temple of the Jewish Ghetto.
- The Tempio Maggiore and the Jewish Museum: for Roman Jews, the Tempio Maggiore represents, as well as a place of prayer, a fundamental cultural reference point. It houses the Jewish Museum in Rome, a “living” museum where you’ll find a fascinating exhibit of artistic and historic artefacts, as well as ceremonial objects, linked to both synagogical and domestic worship. All the religious and administrative bodies that regulate the life of the Jewish community of Rome belong to this synagogue.
- Marcellus’ Theater: this is a theater of ancient Rome that was built in the southern area of the Campus Martius between the Tiber river and the Capitol. It was started under Julius Caesar and finished under Augustus and is the oldest surviving stone theater in Rome to date.
- The Portico ofOctavia: this is the symbol of the Jewish quarter, so much so as to give its name to its main street. It was built in the first century BC, to replace the older Portico of Metellus. Its imposing double colonnade served to surround the central area where the temples of Juno Regina and Jupiter Stator stood.
- Palazzo Mattei di Giove and the Fontana delle Tartarughe: it is a palace located in the historic center of Rome, between via Michelangelo Caetani and via dei Funari, in the Sant’Angelo district. Today it houses various cultural institutes, including the modern and contemporary history library. In the small Piazza Mattei, you’ll find the charming Fontana delle Tartarughe.
- Piazza Campo dei Fiori: today this is one of the liveliest squares in the city where you can find flower, clothing and gastronomic products stalls.
- The Synagogue of Ostia Antica: it is the oldest synagogue in the western world and the largest of all those found. It was discovered in 1961 and is the proof of the existence of the ancient Ostian Jewish community.
- The Jewish Catacombs: scholars believe that the Jewish catacombs developed, like their Christian counterparts, in the form of complex networks of galleries starting from a small hypogeum. These underground cemeteries probably appeared between the end of the second century and the beginning of the third century. At the very beginning, in Rome, there were six Jewish catacombs: two in Villa Torlonia, on the Via Nomentana; one in Vigna Randanini on the Via Appia; one in Vigna Cimarra along Via Ardeatina; one on Via Labicana and one on Via Portuense. two have survived the centuries however – those of Villa Torlonia and Vigna Randanini.
Walks Inside Rome – Tour guide services
Walks Inside Rome is an agency of travel services and guided tours located in Rome since 1999. Our goal is to provide our clients with the highest quality tour guide services in art, history, food and fun in Italy’s most spectacular destinations.
Roman Jewish cuisine
Exploring the Jewish community through our Jewish Rome tours is the perfect way to discover an unexplored side of the Eternal City. Enjoying a private visit to its two synagogues and museum, wandering its cobbled streets and winding alleys and soaking in its wealth of hisory.
As food is a vital part of Italian culture, through our tours you can also have gastronomic experiences. You can taste the wonderful traditional Jewish cuisine, such as the “carciofi alla giudia” (artichokes), in the most authentic restaurants of the Ghetto or take cooking classes to learn how to make traditional Roman Jewish cuisine.
Your Jewish Rome Tour
Then, crossing from the Ghetto to the other side of the Tiber River, the right bank, across Tiber Island, you can explore the medieval quarter of Trastevere and all its wonders.
This tour also introduces you to the ancient city hidden below the modern leveland the history of the eras that followed one another, from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance up to the Baroque. Our expert guide will entertain you with the legends and secrets of the most authentic neighborhoods in Rome.
We are open 7 days a week. Contact us to come and enjoy a guided tour in the Jewish quarter of Rome!
For any questions and for more information, you can also fill out the form on our website, send us an email, call us or chat with us on WhatsApp. We look forward to welcoming you soon to Rome!