Jewish District



Judaism is, together with Christianism and Islam, one of the three monotheistic religions and it is the most ancient among them. The central element is the devotion to an only god and a permanent pact between Him and his People. The religious law is the Torah, the revealed text from God to Moses and reported into the five books of the Pentateuch. For two-thousand years from the 70th A.D., when the Roman conquerors destroyed the Jerusalem temple, until 1948, when the state of Israel was instituted, the Jewish people lived in exile, the so called ‘Diaspora’. The Jews were dispersed in many lands of the world by still keeping their own cultural identity. In 1516 in Venice the first ghetto was created, by starting the long lasting tradition to seclude these communities into well-defined urban spaces, according to behaviour of mistrust or open intolerance that found its climax into the Nazi persecution. Actually the Jewish population counts ca. 12 million people, between Israel, the States and other continents.

Lungotevere de’ Cenci, Piazza Mattei, Via del Teatro di Marcello, Piazza Cenci
Always visible.

A part of the most authentic Rome is offered by the small streets between Piazza Mattei, the Tiber and the Theatre of Marcello, in the place that was once the ghetto. In this small area from 3.000 to 7.000 Roman Jews were obliged to live between 1555 and 1870, because they were thought to be a menace for the Christian religion. When the segregation was abolished following the annexation of Rome to the newly born Reign of Italy in 1870, this part was still the privileged area of the Roman Jews until the night of October 16th 1943, when the SS searched the entire area by deporting 1.022 people to Germany.
The long and troubled story of the Jewish community of Rome is still present in the vicolo della Reginella – with the adjacent Piazza Costaguti and its Tempietto del Carmelo, where Jesuits preached to convert Jews – to the piazza delle Cinque Scole, that until the beginning of 1900 hosted the building of the five Synagogues (Scola Nova, Scola Tempio, Scola Siciliana, Scola Catalana and Scola Castigliana). At the end the Tempio Maggiore inaugurated in 1904 and the Portico d’Ottavia. A mixture of different buildings makes the ghetto an evocative and fascinating place, where the most authentic beauty of Rome can be admired together with the Jewish-Roman culture.

Foto Comunità Ebraica di Roma


Lungotevere de’ Cenci
Every day except Saturday with the Jewish Museum ticket. Guided tours inside the Tempio Maggiore and Tempio Spagnolo every hour in English and Italian.
Admission fee.

The Tempio Maggiore was inaugurated in 1904 and it represents the symbol of the newly found freedom by the Roman Jewish after the opening and destruction of the Ghetto following the Italian Unity. The oriental taste and atmosphere are mixed together with the European Art Nouveau of the first decades of the XX Century, i.e. in the architecture by Vincenzo Costa and Osvaldo Armanni, in the decorations of the painters Domenico Bruschi and Annibale Brugnoli.
An explosion of bright colours covers the walls that are decorated with plants and flowers and the majestic squared cupola, with seven rows of scales of different chromatic tones and cedar trees and palms at the bottom.
The visit of Pope John Paul II on April 13 1986 to the Tempio Maggiore, the first Jewish building visited by a Pope in history, followed by Pope Francis on April 13 2016, is the symbol of a new integration in modern times.

Lungotevere De Cenci
Every day except Saturday and Jewish holidays. October 1st – Mrch 31st: Sunday-Thursday 10:00-17:00 (entry allowed until 16:15); Friday 9:00-14:00 (entry allowed until 13:15). April 1st – September 30th: Sunday-Thursday 10:00-18:00 (entry allowed until 17:15); Friday 10:00-16:00 (entry allowed until 15:15).
Guided tours inside the Tempio Maggiore, included in the ticket, every hour in English and Italian. Admission fee.

The Jewish Museum of Rome tells a 22 centuries long history, the one of the Jewish community of Rome and its strict connection to the town. A history that is told by the more than 1500 furniture pieces, vestments and sacred objects provided by the families to the respective synagogues between the XVII and the XX century and courageously saved from the German raids during the Second World War. The Museum path is composed by seven rooms: from the precious embroideries of expert Jewish women during the dark centuries of the ghetto, to the silver objects, to the miniature parchments and marble items. The interactive table is a new element that enables to virtually walk inside the streets of the ancient ghetto before the demolition of 1888. Furthermore a permanent exhibition providing the virtual reconstruction of the synagogue in Ostia Antica. The Museum was visited by Pope Benedict XVI on January 17th 2010: here, before his meeting with the Jewish Community of Rome, he inaugurated the exhibition “Et ecce gaudium”, organised for that occasion.

Foto Comunità Ebraica di Roma

How to get the step: Jewish District

Via Catalana, 2, 00186 Roma, Italy


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