Visit the former Jewish Ghetto where there is a thriving Jewish neighborhood today full of Jewish-Roman eateries. Oftentimes, we hop into one of the bakeries for sweets on this tour and then make our way to Trastevere located just across the river and visit this neighborhood known for its excellent restaurants and bohemian nature.
The Papacy required Rome's 2000 Jewish residents to live in the ghetto from 1555 until 1870. The ghetto was a walled quarter with its gates locked at night. The cost of the wall's construction, 300 Roman scudi, had to be paid by the Jewish community. Portico d' Ottavia, once the center of the ghetto, is now surrounded by quiet backstreets and lively piazzas in this close-knit neighborhood. The ghetto walls were torn down in 1888.
Just across the Tiber River, we meet the neighborhood of Trastevere where we meander the labyrinth of winding pedestrian streets and learn the history of this traditionally multi-cultural area which is now home largely to artists, expatriates, and international students. Trastevere is a favorite destination for Romans to take a "passeggiata" or leisurely stroll and go for dinner. Performance artists, comedians, fire jugglers, street vendors, jewelers, cafes, and pubs make for a uplifting, vivacious atmosphere. While strolling, we'll see the site of Julius Caesar's assassination, Pompey's Theater. Teatro Marcello, the open-air theater built in 13 B.C. is still open on summer nights for music concerts. Other highlights include Santa Maria Church in Trastevere and Turtle Fountain (Bernini's turtles featured in a cozy residential piazza).