Posted by: Debra Kolkka | November 8, 2015

Rome’s Jewish area

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.

Teatro Marcello Rome

Teatro Marcello Rome

There was a fish market here in the Middle Ages.

Fish market Rome


Fish market Rome

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.

Jewish area Rome

Jewish quarter Rome

Jewish quarter Rome

Jewish quarter Rome

Jewish quarter Rome

Jewish quarter Rome

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.




  1. Fascinating history

    • The history is long and convoluted…well worth more investigation.

  2. I have never visited this area but after your blog will do so on my next trip to Rome. Always appreciate the Jewish areas, especially love the Marais in Paris which is a popular Jewish precinct too . Great blog as always.

    • I hadn’t been before either. I have walked past the Teatro Marcello many times, but this is the first time I walked through the grounds. I will be back.

  3. Debra…..I am taking my daughter and three grandchildren to Rome in Feb. and the apartment I have rented is located in the ghetto… this article is very timely.

    • The area is really in a great location, within easy walking distance of lots of amazing things. I can’t wait to get back to try some of the restaurants.

  4. It is a very interesting area, although I get an eerie feeling when I think at how much suffering, particularly during WW2 took place there. But the food is superb. Artichokes in the Jewish style are highly recommended.

    • Thanks for the link. I look forward to trying some of the restaurants on my next trip.

  5. What a fascinating place – and, oh to be given the job of researching the food!

    • Come along on my next visit and we can investigate together.

  6. I love that district of Rome. Your photos took me back -I am yearning for Italy and her entrancing capital.

  7. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this area, … and now your endorsement! … thus I’ve gotta go.

  8. Narrow streets in the old towns and cafe at the corner… how much I love them… Thank you dear Debra, love, nia

  9. […] had a brief stop in Rome on the way back to Brisbane and explored the Jewish Quarter behind  Teatro […]

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