Jewish Ghetto

Area in Centro Storico

The Jewish Ghetto, centred on lively Via del Portico d’Ottavia, is an atmospheric area studded with artisan's studios, small shops, kosher bakeries and popular trattorias. Crowning everything is the distinctive square dome of Rome's main synagogue.

As you stroll around look out for a series of brass cobblestones. These are memorial plaques commemorating the city's Holocaust victims: each one names a person and gives the date and destination of their deportation and death. They are placed outside the victims' homes.

Rome’s Jewish community dates back to the 2nd century BC, making it one of the oldest in Europe. The first Jews came as business envoys, but many more arrived as slaves following the Roman wars in Judaea and Titus' defeat of Jerusalem in AD 70. Confinement to the Ghetto came in 1555 when Pope Paul IV ushered in a period of official intolerance that lasted, on and off, until the 20th century. Ironically, though, confinement meant that the Jewish cultural and religious identity survived intact.