The history of the Jewish ghetto of Rome is among the oldest in the world and still today denotes the customs and traditions of the Roman Jewish people who find here the highest expression in the culinary art which was born from the fusion between the origins and the rules of Jewish kasherut and Roman cuisine.
Eating in the Roman Ghetto
From the meeting of these two stories and their true flavors, the Roman-Jewish cuisine was born in Rome in the sixteenth century: a tangible example of the coexistence of two different cultures and lifestyles.
In the 16th century the Ghetto was known as the “Serail of the Jews”, and it was established after the revocation of all the rights of Roman Jews by Pope Paul IV: in the Sant’Angelo district there was the obligation of residence and of recognition. The lighthouse overlooked the Tiber and the proximity to the fluvial port of Ripa Grande allowed an easy landing for the fishing boats that were born in Ostia to bring to the city the best fresh fish caught every day.
The Jewish ghetto has its roots in the context of 16th century Rome, where the strong presence of the Jewish community was at the center of Roman polemics in the intricate events between church and papacy. With the edict of Constantine of 313 AD, the Jews suffered from persecution all over the world until the last century. The Ghetto or “the serial of the jewish” was established in 1556 by Paolo VI, who decided to confine
all Roman Jews to the area adjacent to the Teatro Marcello, depriving them of all rights and freedoms. In addition to the abolition of their rights, the Jews were forced to wear the distinctive signs to be fixed on the caps that make them recognizable, to lose their properties including real estate, to live in poverty and to forbid the trade within the Ghetto except that of second-hand and battered clothes.