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History of the Jewish Ghetto in Rome Audio Guide

Learn about life in Rome's ghetto where Jews were contained for almost 300 years
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1 at US$20
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Audio Guide Details
1 hour
Product Type
Audio Guide
  • Synagogue and Jewish Museum
  • Portico D'ottavia
  • Jewish Ghetto Neighborhood
  • Trastevere Neighborhood
Preview History of the Jewish Ghetto in Rome Audio Guide
Start: Turtle Fountain
Chiesa di Sant'Ambrogio della Massima
Pasticceria Boccione
Photos & Highlights
Audio Guide Description
  • Put your map away as you learn the history of this important neighborhood in Rome's history from a local — and do it on your own schedule
  • Hit play together and stroll the city or wander solo, but always with an expert in your ear as your personal guide

Jews first made their way to Rome and began settling as maritime merchants soon after erecting the very first synagogue outside of the Holy Land in the ancient Italian port town of Ostia. A few centuries later, in 1555, Jewish Romans were bound to a seven-acre site which became their only designated home. On this self-paced audio guide tour with professor and Context Travel expert, Andrew Kranis, you'll explore parts of the Jewish ghetto.

Starting in front of Turtle Fountain in Piazza Mattei, this tour will take you on a journey through Rome's very complex Jewish history. You'll find out how, for almost 300 years, Jews in Rome had no access to fresh drinking water. As you make your way through the Jewish Ghetto, across Isola Tiberina (Tiber Island) to the Trastevere neighborhood, you'll explore the many churches that were constructed in the 1500s to antagonize the area’s Jewish residents. You'll discover how Jews were continually offered the option of converting to Roman Catholicism as a way out of their imprisonment, and to have their citizenship fully restored. Along the way, Andrew will show you several memorials commemorating the Jews who died in the Holocaust and reveal the significance of Largo 16 Novembre 1943, the date Roman Jews were rounded up for deportation to Nazi concentration camps. 

As you make your way to Piazza Sidney Sonnino where the audio tour ends, you'll have a chance to: 
• Retrace the steps of Jews who lived freely in this city before the Renaissance
• Learn about Stolpersteine (Stumbling Stones) the cobblestone-sized plaques placed all over Europe to serve as a perpetual reminder of the atrocities and assassinations that took place following the deportation of Jews in World War II
• Gaze upon Portico of Octavia, an ancient Roman structure that perfectly demonstrates how the ghetto was exposed to the lapping currents of the Tiber River
• Dive deep into the construction and renovation of Rome's Jewish ghetto and find out how it became a form of house arrest for this community for almost 300 years
• Tuck into Jewish-Italian foods at Pasticceria Boccione bakery, Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti bakery and the Da Gigetto restaurant
• Travel through the Trastevere neighborhood where you’ll learn about Jewish merchants' strong presence in maritime trade along the Tiber River
• Take in the oldest synagogue in Rome, la Vecchia Sinagoga, which dates back to the 10th century
• Cross Ponte Cestio and Ponte Fabricio, the very oldest crossings over the Tiber River
• See Tempio Maggiore, the central administrative headquarters for the Jewish community of Rome and its modern place of worship

Travelers will have the option to visit the Shoah Museum and the Jewish Museum of Rome. The Shoah Museum has free admission and is open from 10 AM to 7 PM from Sunday to Thursday and 10 AM to 1 PM on Saturdays. Access to the Jewish Museum of Rome is 10 AM to 5:00 PM Sunday through Thursday, and 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Fridays. You'll need to pay for ticketed entry.

You'll also be able to enjoy a snack at the Biscottificio Artigiano Innocenti bakery, open from 8 AM to 7:30 PM Monday to Saturday, Pasticceria Boccione, open from 7 AM to 6 PM every day except Saturday, or the Jewish ghetto's most loved restaurant, Da Gigetto, which is open from 12:30 to 3 PM and 7:30 to 11 PM every day.

By the end of this hour-long audio guide tour through Rome, you'll have a deeper understanding of the oppression the city's Jews faced and the differences between ancient Roman and Jewish architectural styles. You'll also have an opportunity to gorge on delicious kosher and Jewish cuisine.

Meet Your Expert

Andrew, a New York City native, is a LEED-accredited architect who came to Rome as a Fellow of the American Academy. He holds a Masters in Architecture from Columbia University and a B.A. from Duke University. Here in Rome, he currently teaches architecture and researches ecology and urbanism in support of sustainable design projects such as his "Green Piazza" proposal for Rome. He has a varied background in design and historic preservation, which includes masonry conservation of landmark buildings in New York City as well as retail design for Whole Foods Market. Earlier in his career, he has even worked as a theater director and as a design manager for Japanese dance troupes touring in North America and Europe.

How do I access the audio guide and download it for offline use?
Once you complete your purchase, you will receive a voucher code for your Audio Guide. You must download the Voicemap app and enter the code. 
  1. Install VoiceMap from the Apple App Store or Google Play
  2. Create an account
  3. Select Tour Codes from the menu, then select Enter Codes
  4. Enter your Voucher Code
  5. Select Download Now
Is closed captioning (i.e. subtitles) available?
Yes! All of our audio guides have the option to turn on closed captioning should you have difficulty hearing the expert.

How long does each event last?
Our recorded audio guides typically run for 75 minutes.

How can I share this audio guide with friends or family?
You are welcome to listen together with friends or family, but each person listening to the guide on their own device will need to purchase the audio guide individually.

How long does my access to the audio guide last?
Once you purchase an audio guide, you are welcome to listen to it as many times as you would like. Your access to a purchased audio guide does not expire.

What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Sales for recorded audio guides are final upon purchase. Please contact us at digital@contexttravel.com if you have any questions or concerns about your purchase.

Can I purchase a gift card for a friend who is traveling?
Absolutely! Gift cards can be purchased here. Gift cards are good for 365 days from the date of purchase.

(4.88) 8 Reviews

Reviews can only be left by Context customers after they have completed a tour. For more information about our reviews, please see our FAQ.

This was my first Context audio guide, and it definitely will not be my last! I tend to be an audio guide pessimist - I struggle to follow guides with poor pacing or poor narrative structure. This was a completely different experience. The guide's voice and storytelling kept me engaged from the start. On top of the historical framing and overall story, there were many small touches that made the walk feel very personal: the tidbits on local restaurants, the architectural "easter eggs" that were pointed out, and even the pauses for reflection. I would definitely recommend this tour for anyone looking for a less tourist-y trip and a very important historical lesson.
I've visited the Jewish Ghetto countless times and knew some of the history of the neighbourhood, but following the audio guide deepened that knowledge and brought 400 years of history to life.
This audio guide transported us through time. Andrew has a great voice and a knack for storytelling and he took us down narrow nondescript roads while we learned the long and complex history of Roman Jews. This isn't just the story of the cruel 300 year period during which the Catholic Church scapegoated the Jews during a time of upheaval due to the reformation; it's also the story of a resilient group of people who have survived and thrived despite all of the challenges it has faced. As an American of Ashkenazi Jewish descent, I was surprised to learn that Jews have inhabited Rome so long that the community here is actually distinct from the Ashkenazi and Sephardic communities. Looking forward to going back to the recommended restaurant to try the famous fried artichoke! It was a great way to travel with a small child, since nobody minded when we stopped 10 minutes in to feed her or halfway through to change a diaper. We saw a few tour groups of 12+ people in Trastevere at the end of our walk and were grateful not to be among them. The flexibility is much appreciated!