Rome’s Jewish community is the oldest in Europe and one of the oldest Jewish settlements in the world. The first people migrated to Rome from Alexandria just before the Christian era, about 2,000 years ago.
Under Julius Caesar Judaisim was officially recognised as a religion. Many people settled in the southern part of the Campo de Fiori, near the Tiber.
In 1555 Pope Paul IV ordered a walled Ghetto to be built in the area between Ponte Fabricio and Portico d’Ottavia. The people were to be enclosed and discriminatory laws were imposed. Up to 3,500 people were forced to live in inhuman conditions.
In 1888 the Ghetto was finally abolished and its walls were torn down. The area began its reconstruction. Today it is a lively and interesting part of Rome.
A great way to enter the area is to walk through the grounds of the Teatro Marcello. This colosseum look alike was begun by Julius Caesar and completed by Augustus in 13BC. At its height it could hold 11,000 people.
There was a fish market here in the Middle Ages.
Once out of the Teatro Marcello, there is a busy square filled with restaurants and cafes. The area has become very popular and famous for its excellent food…if only I had not eaten lunch just before I arrived.
I will definitely be heading to this area when I am next in Rome to try some of the delights I saw being served as I wandered through the lovely streets.