If you’re traveling to Rome and are interested in taking a tour that focuses on Jewish culture and history, consider one of Micaela Pavoncello’s walking tours. For years, she has been organizing and leading tours pertaining to Italian Jewish history and customs with tourists from around the world.
Before traveling to Europe, I corresponded by email and then decided to book two tours: the ghetto and the catacomb tours. I recently provided an overview of both tours on my website. This article is a condensed version.
Like many other European Jewish communities, the Roman Jews were forced to live in a ghetto. In Rome, the church mandated residential and work restrictions that lasted from 1555 to 1870. The ghetto perimeter went from the Tiber River at the Tiber Island to the Ponte Quattro Capi, the Portico of Ottavia (or Fabricio), Via Portico d’Ottavia, Via Ottavia and finally to the Piazza delle Cinque Scole.
From 1886-1904, the ghetto was leveled and measures were taken to eliminate flooding. A less dense neighborhood and a large new synagogue were constructed. The Tempio Maggiore (The Great Synagogue of Rome) was opened in 1904. Since most of the original ghetto was destroyed, there are a limited number of structures that remain. Instead, plaques recall a former place and time.