Rome has been home to Italy’s most vibrant Jewish community for over 2000 years. The Jewish Museum of Rome records their history in seven ornate rooms displaying precious textiles, manuscripts, and silver, as well as a section dedicated to the Nazi occupation of Rome and tombstones moved from the catacombs beneath the city.
Located in the lower level of the Great Synagogue of Rome (Tempio Maggiore di Roma)—built in the former Jewish ghetto (Ghetto di Roma) and inaugurated in 1904—the Jewish Museum of Rome (Museo Ebraico di Roma) opened in 1960. A gallery displays marble fragments from the 16th to the 19th centuries that record elements of Roman Jewish life, from the purchase of cemetery plots to the wills of wealthy families. The highlight is the 3D virtual tour through the Jewish ghetto, which re-creates the original streets and buildings from historic prints and artworks.
Rome’s former Jewish ghetto is one of the most storied corners of the city, offering a fascinating glimpse into the culture and history of one of Europe’s oldest Jewish communities. Small-group Jewish ghetto tours generally include a guided tour of the main synagogue, the smaller Spanish Synagogue (Tempio Spagnolo), and the Jewish Museum.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Jewish Museum is steps from the charming backstreets, markets, and restaurants of the former Jewish ghetto and, across the river, Trastevere.
- Rome Jewish ghetto tours require a bit of walking, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and a sun hat.
- The Jewish history museum is accessible to wheelchair users.
- Photography is not allowed inside the museum.
How to Get There
The Jewish Museum is located in the Great Synagogue complex on Lungotevere de' Cenci, just across the Tiber River from Rome’s historic center. Take bus 40 from the Termini train station or walk across Ponte Garibaldi.
When to Get There
As part of the synagogue complex, the Jewish Museum of Rome is closed on Jewish holidays, so be sure to check the calendar before planning a visit.
The Jewish Ghetto
Rome’s historic Jewish ghetto is now one of the most picturesque neighborhoods in the city, with tiny alleys and squares lined with kosher restaurants, bakeries, and shops.