- Historical survey of 22 centuries of Jewish presence
- The old Ghetto & surrounding areas
- The Great Synagogue
- The Jewish Museum
Rome & the Jews
Rome & the Jews – Jews have been living in Rome uninterruptedly for 22 centuries.
At the times of Julius Caesar they came to the capital of the Empire mostly for business.
Later, when Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus many were brought to Rome as prisoners. The Jewish Community had peaks of some 40,000 people – many living in the Trastevere area, working as shopkeepers, artisans and peddlers, but others became poets, physicians and actors.
Evidence has been found that twelve synagogues were functioning during this period, but none of them survived. We find more documents of this period in the catacombs, where Jewish symbols and inscriptions are common.
The attitude of the Roman emperors was in general very tolerant towards the Jews until when, with Constantine, Christianity became the official state religion. During the 4th and 5th centuries Jews lost many of their rights as citizens, and in general the situation deteriorated.
At the same time, however, Rome became an important center for Hebrew studies. A number of well-known scholars contributed to Jewish learning and development. Roman Jewish traditions followed those practiced in Israel and the liturgical customs started in Rome spread throughout Italy and the rest of the world.
The condition of the Roman Jews became even more uncertain when, after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Popes became the political rulers of what was left of the great metropolis.
From this moment until the unification of Italy, the life of Rome’s Jews was to depend on the personality of the pope himself. Your guide will stress the accent on the Renaissance period, when some Popes were very friendly to the Jews and, as humanists and scholars, has a profound interest In Hebrew.
The figure that shines most is that of Pope Leo X Medici, under whose protection Hebrew printing flourished in Italy.
- This tour lasts three hours and costs 295 euros up to six people (not per person), only private parties.
- For larger parties send us an email
- Admission to Great Synagogue & Jewish Museum: 11 euros per person
- Closed on Saturdays & Jewish High Holidays
- No shorts and no sleeveless garments.
- Knee high and short sleeves are ok
- Comfortable shoes or sandals and a hat in summer.