Located in the heart of Rome and joined to the mainland by two bridges, Ponte Fabricio and Ponte Cestio, the Tiber Island, with its characteristic position at the centre of the river, is a real attraction, particularly when visited in the evening, with the romantic backdrop of the Tiber at night. The island forms part of  Rione XII, Ripa. It is famous for having housed, during the period of the Roman republic, the Temple of Aesculapius, the Greek god of medicine, and in the present day it is still strongly connected to the field of medicine, as it houses two hospitals,  Fatebenefratelli or St. John of God, set up in the fifteen hundreds, and the Jewish hospital.

                        

From the Tiber Island, crossing Ponte Fabricio, a Roman bridge built in 62 A.D. by the Curator Viarum Lucius Fabricius and still perfectly intact, we enter the Jewish "enclosure".

 

Although it is located in the very centre of Rome, the Jewish Ghetto, a little city within the city, is still a little known and somewhat "niche" tourist destination. The visit to this quarter, evocative and at the same time touching, winds through the area occupied from the Sixteenth century by the core group of Jews from other areas of Rome, from the whole of Italy and the populations fleeing from Spain.

 

In 1555 Pope Paul IV, in a climate of decided reaction to the Protestant Reformation and in a fierce crackdown on heretics and the forces threatening disintegration of the Church, set up the Ghetto in Rome and issued the papal bull cum nimis absurdum, which ordered Jews to live within a clearly defined area and envisaged a series of odious regulations, including the need to wear a distinctive yellow symbol. The area occupied by the Ghetto was truly tiny: not more than three hectares, from what is now Via del Portico d'Ottavia to Piazza delle Cinque Scole and the river Tiber, which at the time had no embankments. Living conditions were truly inhuman, with incredible overcrowding in damp, dark buildings, and constant danger from flooding from the Tiber. Rome's was the last Ghetto in Western Europe to be abolished, only in 1883.

 

We will visit the main monuments in the area, such as the Portico D’Ottavia, which once housed the poor fish market, and Piazza Mattei with the famous Turtle Fountain, taking a look at the eating places offering typical kosher Roman food,  masterfully represented by dishes such as Carciofi alla Giudia (Jewish style artichokes) or sardine and endive flan.

 

However, our memory also goes back to the saddest events and indelible stains on the city, such as the rounding up and consequent deportation of the Jews, which took place on 16 October 1943 during the German occupation.

 

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

 

Duration 1 h 45'.

 

Meet on the Tiber Island opposite the Basilica of St. Bartholomew; tour ends at Piazza delle Cinque Scole; cost of participation: adults €28, young people under 18 €18, children under 6 years of age free. For information and bookings, please call 0692939974; 0766840578; mobile 3281640180; or write to segreteria@romoloeremo.com, leaving the necessary details for us to contact you; payment on site to the guide, who will carry a Romolo e Remo sign.