Jewish Ghetto of Rome

6 June 2019 

 On July 14, 1555, Pope Paul ordered the construction of a Ghetto for the approximately 2000 Roman Jews. The Popes, as worldly rulers, determined how the Jews should behave, and that varied from Pope to Pope. Ultimately, this Ghetto remained the last Ghetto in Western Europe until 1870.  As we know the Nazi’s reinstalled Ghetto’s in the 1930’s.

Around 2000 Italian Jews were killed in World War II. The Ghetto is still inhabited by a handful of Jews. There is a synagogue that serves as a museum and there is an interesting holocaust museum.

Like everywhere in Rome where things happen or can be seen, the Ghetto is now a tourist attraction with a revenue model. On the square of this small enclave, Piazza Mattei, there is mainly catering. On another square there is the famous “Turtle Fountain”. Without exception the restaurants carry the word Ghetto in their name and kosher food can be enjoyed in at least 15 places in an area of 270 x 180 m. It is difficult to find anything here about the miserable state in which people have lived for 300 years. Stumbling stones remind us that we use our drinks and snacks in places where people have been chased and killed.

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