JEWISH ROME COMBO TOUR

Exploring the Colosseum from a Jewish perspective.
Commemorative plaque recording the burning of the Talmud in Campo de' Fiori

Jews have lived in Rome for over two thousand years, even predating the reign of Julius Caesar. This ancient and continuous presence has made the Roman Jewish community the oldest in the western world. 

And wherever you walk in the Eternal City, you can still feel the enormous cultural influence this community exerts. 

It is impossible to talk about Rome without talking about Roman-Jewish culture. Jewish and Roman history are inexorably intertwined. On this Jewish Rome Combo tour you will discover just how and why this is.

Your Jewish Rome Combo tour starts in the Jewish Museum

Housed within Rome’s Great Synagogue is the remarkable Jewish Museum: a repository of artefacts that narrate the story of Rome’s Jewish population. Its eclectic collection of marbles, fabrics, treasures, and ritual objects bring to life the customs and traditions of this proud, historic community.

Jewish Museum in Rome

I will fully acquaint you with these treasures on your Jewish Ghetto & Roman Synagogue tour, leaving you feeling nourished with the knowledge of this seldom explored attraction.

We then step inside the Tempio Maggiore or ‘Great Synagogue’

To deepen your understanding of the events that have unfolded in the Ghetto and in the life of its Jewish community, our Jewish Ghetto & Rome Synagogue tour will visit the Tempio Maggiore or Great Synagogue. 

View from within the Jewish Synagogue

Completed in 1905, after the unification of Italy, the Great Synagogue lies at the very heart of Roman-Jewish life. The synagogue has a special resonance for me and for all members of this close-knit community.

As we explore both the Italian and Sephardic synagogues, I’ll draw on my deep reserves of knowledge – always providing a platform for you to ask any questions you have.

We then explore the Jewish Ghetto

Walking through the streets of Europe’s oldest ghetto, history will come to life before your eyes, thanks to the stories and little-known facts collected by someone who has made the Roman Jewish experience his life’s work.

Symbols of the Jewish Ghetto

Our ancestors first came into contact with Rome in 161 BC, when Judas Maccabeus ratified a treaty with the Roman Republic. Jewish presence in Rome was documented shortly afterwards, and over the subsequent two millennia we became integral members of the community,

As we tour the Jewish Ghetto, the epicenter of Jewish life in Rome, I’ll introduce you to all its many wonders. We’ll visit the Fontana delle Tartarughe (Fountain of the Turtles), the Portico of Octavia, the emperor Augustus’ sister, and the magnificent Theater of Marcellus: Octavia’s unfortunate son.

Our tour of the Jewish Ghetto takes us through over two-thousand years of history. Stories of suffering and persecution resonate within the Ghetto’s walls. But this historic neighborhood also tells a story of salvation – the resilience of the Jewish community despite the efforts of the Catholic Church.

After a break for lunch, we’ll reconvene and walk the short but scenic route to the epicenter of ancient Rome

Here, at the entrance of the Forum, we’ll come face to face with one of the most poignant monuments of ancient Jewish Rome: the Arch of Titus.

The Arch of TItus: one of the most important sites on my Jewish Ancient Rome tours

The Arch of Titus does not appear in any Rabbinic literature. Nor, until the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948, would Jews allow themselves to pass under it. On this tour, I’ll share with you the reason, bringing to life the catastrophic scenes depicted on its frieze.

We will then visit the incredible archeological sites of the Roman Forum.

For over 1,000 years, this was the beating heart of the center: a meeting place for Roman citizens of every ethnicity. Among its poignant ruins, I’ll tell you all about the latest discoveries regarding Jewish cultural and religious influences on ancient Rome.

Venture inside the iconic Colosseum

We’ll then walk the short distance to the imposing Colosseum: a globally recognized monument that hides a dark and disturbing history. Once we’ve walked straight inside with skip-the-line tickets, I’ll show you a fascinating inscription left by the emperor Vespasian. 

This inscription reveals how the Colosseum was built out of spoils from the sack of Jerusalem and its Temple.

Inscription deciphered on my Jewish Ancient Rome tour

Once inside the Colosseum, you’ll discover what life was like at the time of the Roman gladiators.

I’ll tell you exactly what the Talmud had to say about Jewish gladiators who fought in the Colosseum. One of whom wore this helmet as he stepped out onto the sands of the arena.

Learn about the Colosseum's Jewish gladiators on my Jewish Ancient Rome tour

Imagine what performances held in this enormous amphitheater must have been like. Not just for its gladiatorial participants, but also for the martyrs and prisoners put to death for the crowd’s entertainment. The truth will send shivers down your spine.

If you have an interest in Roman-Jewish history, this Jewish Rome combo tour is an unmissable experience.

But don’t just take my word for it. See what my clients have to say on TripAdvisor!

Click here for the meeting point >> Via Catalana outside the entrance to the Jewish Museum

Look for the sign saying “Roman Jews”