Explore the oldest part of The Eternal City and discover the Portico D’Ottavia that neighbours the Teatro Marcello; Mattei Square; the Great Synagogue; as well as Tiber Island. The longest settled region in the city, there has been a population living in this part of Rome since the 1st century BC with a population of 15,000 Jews still in residence in the district.
Rome has many hidden secrets, which both adults and children will love to learn, and few are more curious than the ancient fish stone. If you were to arrive at night, you would see just one part of the portico illuminated – can anyone guess as to why….??
The temple was dedicated by Emperor Augusto to her sister, while the Teatro Marcello – which has been beautifully preserved – was dedicated to Ottavai’s son.
Built in the 16th century, the square remains an elegant courtyard. A stairwell leads off the back to a beautiful house with a double arched portico, which also has the famous Turtles Fountain in its grounds.
This is the very symbol of the Jewish Ghetto and includes all manner of ornaments and clues to help your guide tell the full story of Jewish culture in Ancient Rome. From learning the heritage of Kosher cooking to uncovering how the bible rules still dictate the way in which food is prepared, this will be an eye-opening visit for one.
Pass by Tiber island – home to the Jewish Hospital as well as the Ancient Synagogue Tower – then continue through the narrow streets to arrive at Trastevere, which is where you will discover Santa Maria in Trastevere. This beautiful construction began around 1130 AD, and includes a variety of elegant mosaics and impressive columns.
Even though the Jewish where first brought to Rome from Judea as slaves in 63 B.C., they lived in freedom. In fact, during the reign of Julius Caesar, they were able to travel and settle anywhere.
Treated in different ways by Emperors and Popes – sometimes oppressed, sometimes persecuted – they became, during the Renaissance, bankers, traders, merchants and artisans, as well as artists and writers. It was in 1555 that Pope Paul IV sequestered them in Trastevere’s “Ghetto”, with strict anti-Jewish laws.
It was only when Italy became a Nation in 1870 that King Victor Emanuel gave them their full citizenship.
– Expert English-speaking guide