Rome Jewish Ghetto Tour – Why Choose RomanJews?

Filming for a Discovery documentary on Ancient Rome, the Menorah and the Ark of the Covenant

Joining me on a Rome Jewish Ghetto tour is the most intimate and authentic way to discover the Eternal City’s most treasured district. During the three hours we spend together you become part of our community, meeting and interacting with locals. And because my family and ancestors have been integrated into Rome’s Jewish community for 500 years, nobody is better placed than me to narrate its stories.

Rome’s most personal Jewish Ghetto walking tour

I was born and raised in Rome, the latest in a line of Sephardic Jews whose ancestors arrived here half a millennia ago. I was raised in an Orthodox family and attended the Rome Yeshiva where I studied the enduring and eternal bond that binds Jews to the city of Rome.

The question of why we are still here in Rome fascinates me.

Everywhere else across the Diaspora there has been movement, migration. But Rome is unique in the continuity of its Jewish community. We have been here for more than 2,200 years, even predating Julius Caesar, Rome’s most famous historical figure, and have endured centuries of oppression, segregation, and forced attempts at assimilation.

My studies led me to become a tour guide and researcher, where I specialize in our unique connection to the Italian capital. Around a third of Italy’s 45,000 Jews live in Rome. Our community is amply served by the city’s dozen Ashkenazi and Sephardic Orthodox synagogues, but Roman Jews are different. And it’s in the heart of the Jewish Ghetto, the small area between the banks of the River Tiber and the pagan temples of the Roman Republic, where you get the most authentic sense of Jewish life in Rome.

Why join me for a Rome Jewish Ghetto tour?

The Internet Age facilitates endless ways of learning about our past. We study Jewish history in academic journals, books, blogs, even TV documentaries. But learning from a storyteller offers something different.

It’s the real-life anecdotes, the sharing of stories about growing up in the shadow of the ghetto, and the warmth and humor with which they’re told that makes a tour so special. My Rome Jewish Ghetto tour blends all these elements, as my guests all attest.

Rosene C
Rosene C
2022-02-07
Fantastic exploration of the Roman Jewish ghetto We were fortunate to spend time with the incredibly informative and knowledgeable, Marco on a tour of the Jewish ghetto. As a member of the Roman Jewish community, Marco shared insights and a perspective that was deeply touching and enriching, and we enjoyed every moment spent learning the history and seeing the sights. We highly recommend spending some time here with Marco.
Efk222
Efk222
2022-02-05
What a trip! We travelled with our 3 kids to Rome and it was our first time there. We chose Marco based on many, many recommendations from family and friends and we are thrilled we did! He is warm, friendly, patient and so accommodating! He is so knowledgeable and passionate about everything in Rome that we left with such warmth in our hearts. Our kids are begging to go back already and have proclaimed Marco as a part of our family. Can’t wait to go back!
Springblessing
Springblessing
2022-01-20
An incredible tour of the Roman Jewish Ghetto Marco is so incredibly knowledgable and personable. We learned so much from him about the progression of Jewish history in Rome. We highly recommend Marco for anyone who would like to learn about Roman Jewish history.
Rachel L
Rachel L
2022-01-19
the Genuine and wonderful Marco , The Jewish Roman guide. Marco Misano is in a league of his own when it comes to Jewish history and perspective of Rome. He is extremely knowledgeable, engaging and personable. Marco exceeded all Our family’s expectations. Thanks.
Talya L
Talya L
2022-01-19
Amazing !!! Marco was the most engaging and knowledgeable tour guide to have in Rome! He was able to provide us with a fantastic Jewish perceptive on all of our tours - including the vatican, jewish ghetto, and roman forum. Most definitely use Marco on your next trip to Rome!!
Samuel M
Samuel M
2021-12-30
Stupendous Tour Guide I wasn’t particularly interested in coming to Rome as I perceive it to be just a better version of Epcot but Marco made Rome interesting by demonstrating the Jewish experience in the city over the last 2000+ years. Marco also didn’t waste time with rudimentary explanations that non-Jewish tourists to Rome often need to contextualize the experience (i.e what’s kashrus, what’s a menorah etc.) Marco made the Jewish history feel tangible and it’s very encouraging to see Jewish continuity in Rome flourish today. Highly recommend.
yokihoki
yokihoki
2021-12-29
The most amazing and fascinating tour and tour guide we've ever had! Marco was our tour guide for the Jewish museum and ghetto. His knowledge and passion of and for all aspects of Rome's rich and varied history is second to absolutely none. He kept our whole group enthralled throughout the tour with his entertaining and informative narrative. We did not have the time to have any further tours on our quick visit to Rome but we would definitely use Marco again for a different tour if we have the opportunity. A shout out must go to his secretary Silvia who was so helpful and responsive way beyond her call of duty!
Sarah E
Sarah E
2021-12-29
Wonderful tour guide so knowledgeable Hi Marco, Can’t thank you enough again for making our trip to Rome spectacular! Rome came so alive as you described each and every sight we went to see. We can’t stop talking about how exciting you made it. We passed your name and number on to our travel agent telling him how incredible you are! Pls remember to send over the speech you made by the arch of Titus. Please stay in touch! Let us know if you are ever in New York - would love to see you! Sarah and Eddie
Rivka Baila B
Rivka Baila B
2021-12-28
Go Marco!!! Marco, it was unbelievable that tour with you, The faith you instill to be a strong Jew. You truly guided us in a special way, We would definitely recommend you any day!! Michal, Rivka Baila and Yehudis
Devoira
Devoira
2021-12-27
Amazing tour! Fabulous experience!! Very informative tour, Showing the best of historic sights here in Rome. Marco added a personal touch enhancing the tour even more. Thank you! Would definately recommend!

My Rome Jewish Ghetto tour addresses the most pressing questions about this district and its community. What happened during the liquidation of the Ghetto? How did my grandparents come to be saved? And how did the Jewish community survive to become one of the strongest and longest-lasting in Rome? Especially given that the Ghetto is surrounded by churches, which the Vatican built to convert us.

Marco Misano leading a RomanJews tour group in the Jewish Lapidarium
Visiting the Lapidarium on a Jewish Rome tour

Become part of the Jewish community for a day

Everywhere you walk in the Eternal City, you feel the enormous cultural influence the Jewish community exerts. It is impossible to talk about Rome without talking about Roman-Jewish culture. Jewish and Roman history are inexorably intertwined. On my Rome Jewish Ghetto tour,  you will discover just how and why this is.

The Ghetto’s historical and architectural legacy is rich. Its kosher restaurants are legendary. And its community is friendly and welcoming while tight-knit and cohesive.

This is a far cry from its past.

Rome’s Jewish Ghetto was once one of the most fetid, squalid areas of the city. Situated on the eastern bank of the Tiber, the Ghetto flooded frequently, as depicted in this painting by Italian artist Ettore Roesler Franz.

Flood of Rome Jewish Ghetto by Ettore Roesler Franz
Depiction of the flooded Rome Jewish Ghetto by Ettore Roesler Franz

In 1800, Pope Pius VII extended the Ghetto as its 9,000 inhabitants were confined to a mere three acres. We’ll explore this extension on my Rome Jewish Ghetto tour, discovering its hidden historical curiosities and looking upon its original walls.

In 1870, the Romans built an embankment along the river to prevent flooding and the Jewish Ghetto went from being one of the worst places to live to one of the best! 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.

My 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,

My Rome Jewish Ghetto tour immerses you in the epicenter of Jewish life. I’ll introduce you to the district’s many wonders as we visit the Fontana delle Tartarughe (Fountain of the Turtles), the Portico d’Ottavia, the sister of the emperor Augustus, and the magnificent Theater of Marcellus, Octavia’s unfortunate son.

As we explore Rome’s Jewish Ghetto, we’ll journey through over two-thousand years of history. Stories of hardship and persecution resonate within the Ghetto’s walls. But this historic neighbourhood also tells a story of salvation – the resilience of our community despite the efforts of the Catholic Church.

Marco Misano, Founder of RomanJews
Marco Misano, Founder of RomanJews

What do we see on my Jewish Ghetto tour?

My tours are fully customisable, and I tailor them according to your interests. But these are the main sites we visit on my Rome Jewish Ghetto tour:

  • Jewish Museum: Situated in the basement of Rome’s Great Synagogue, Rome’s Jewish Museum exhibits objects and religious artefacts from the 2nd century to the modern day. Its collection is endlessly fascinating, but we’ll seek out the objects with stories, both connected to me and to my community.
  • The Great 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.
  • The Jewish Ghetto: Rome’s Ghetto is Europe’s oldest surviving 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.
  • The Portico of Octavia: As a boy I would play soccer beneath the Portico of Octavia, using the arch as a goal. When it became an archaeological site, I decided I should change my career and take up tour guiding!

Want to know more? Check out what people have said about my tours on TripAdvisor. 

     

     

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