In the heart of Rome, joined to the mainland by the two bridges Fabricio and Cestio, Tiber Island, is positioned at the center of the river. It is a real attraction, especially when visited in the romantic backdrop of the evening on the Tiber.

The island forms part of the municipal district n.12 (Rione XII, Ripa), and it is famous for having housed the famed Temple of Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine, during the period of the Roman republic. In the present day, the island remains tied to medicine, as it houses two hospitals,  Fatebenefratelli (‘Do good in this world, my brethren!’) or St. John of God Hospital, set up in the 1500s, and the historically-Jewish Israelite hospital.

We cross from Tiber Island into the historic Hebrew “enclosure” via Ponte Fabricio, a Roman bridge built by Curator Viarum Lucius Fabricius in 62 A.D.  It is still perfectly intact.

 

 

Although located in the very center of Rome, the Jewish Ghetto is a little-known tiny city-within-the-city.  A somewhat "niche" tourist destination, this quarter evokes touching memories of generations of Diaspora Jews who once filled these winding streets. It soon became an oppressed area “concentrated” from the 16th century on by a population of Jews from throughout Rome, the whole of Italy and populations fleeing Spain.

In 1555, Pope Paul the IVth, in reaction to Reformation movements and in a fierce crackdown on heresy and disintegration in the Church, set up the historic-Jewish Ghetto in Rome through a papal municipal decree which ordered Jews confined there under odious regulations, including mandatory yellow insignia.

The now-occupied Ghetto was truly tiny: not more than three soccer/football fields, from what is now Via del Portico d'Ottavia to Piazza delle Cinque Scole and the river Tiber, which then had no embankments. The living conditions were truly inhumane. With incredible overcrowding in damp, dark buildings, and constant danger from flooding from the Tiber, Rome's forced-concentration area of Jews was the last Ghetto in Western Europe to be abolished, and then only in 1883.

We visit area monuments, such as the Portico D’Ottavia which once housed the poor fish market. Piazza Mattei and its famous Turtle Fountain offers typical kosher Roman food, masterfully represented by dishes such as Carciofi alla Giudia (lightly-fried artichokes) or flan of sardine and endive.

Here, our memory sorrowfully honors our Jewish fellow Italian citizens stolen on the saddest events which stain our city, when they were rounded-up and deported on 16 October 1943 during the Nazi occupation.

All that remains for us to do is to wish you peace here, … Shalom aleichem!

 

Meet on Tiber Island outside the Basilica of Saint Bartholomew. Tour concludes at Piazza delle Cinque Scole.

Adults (18 & up) €28

Youth (under 18) €18

Children 5yrs and younger are free of charge.

For information and bookings, please call 0692939974; 0766840578; mobile 3281640180; or write to segreteria@romoloeremo.com.

Leave the necessary contact details for us.

Payment collected by the guide, with a ‘Romolo e Remo’ sign, prior to the tour beginning.

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