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Visiting the Jewish Ghetto in Rome: What You Have to Know

If you’ll be in the city for more than a couple of days, visiting the Jewish Ghetto in Rome is a must. As well the oldest Jewish settlement in all of Europe (dating back to the 2nd century B.C.) — and, as you might expect, home to a striking synagogue, kosher bakeries and Jewish-Roman trattorias — it isn’t only worth a stop for visitors interested in Jewish history.

That’s because the Jewish Ghetto is also one of the loveliest, most atmospheric areas of Rome. Compact and very pedestrian-friendly, it’s one of my favorite places for a stroll.

The Jewish Ghetto in Rome today

The biggest misconception about the Jewish Ghetto has to do with its name. The word “ghetto” (understandably) tends to throw up some confusion.

First, no: the “Jewish Ghetto” is not an inappropriate nickname. That’s what the neighborhood is called, and what locals (and Jewish locals) call it. Second, it’s not a “ghetto” in the modern sense — though it has its own very sad history of discrimination and poverty. In the 16th century, the quarter was walled off as the residential area for Rome’s Jews, a heart-wrenchingly common occurrence in Italy and, of course, across Europe. (In fact, the word ghetto is an Italian word: the first Jewish ghetto was in Venice, in the quarter known today as Canaletto). Today, it’s an extremely safe, very well-heeled quarter of the city.

Read more on : http://www.revealedrome.com