Rome, Jewish Style

Since we did the Vatican thing, I also wanted a to check out the Jewish history in Rome.  Just before we headed to Italy, I saw a friend of a friend post on their Facebook page about a tour company called Rome for Jews.  This friend highly recommended it, and I was lucky that they had room for us on such short notice.  It turned out to be a good day to do this tour because in Italy it was a holiday.  Similar to Independence Day, this was a holiday to celebrate when Italy became a Republic.  We at least passed by the parade getting set up on our walk over to the Ghetto.
 DSC00853 DSC00854 DSC00855 
The Ghetto is on the water, and Jewish homes used to line right along the bank of the river, only to be flooded time and time again.
 DSC00857 
Our tour guide was extremely knowledgable and passionate about the Jewish history here.  He told us many stories and accounts of Jewish life here, from many many years ago, to more recently in the time of the Holocaust.  This building here is a restaurant now, but many years ago was a synagogue.
DSC00858 
As we were walking we got a great aerial show for the holiday.  Check it out:
DSC00860 
The jets flew by and out came colors like the Italian flag.
DSC00861 
This is Jewish Hospital, and a church next door where nuns hid Jews during the Holocaust.  There remains a synagogue (a small one) inside the hospital.
DSC00862 
We took a walk back over the bridge, and went to see some ruins.
DSC00863 
Actually, the ruins are pretty much everywhere so not matter where you go, you will find something old to take a picture of.
DSC00865 DSC00866 
Here is a cool fountain.  The turtles were added on later.  I also think this is the fountain that our guide said was originally supposed to be in a different location, but was placed here instead.
DSC00867DSC00868 
Then we took a walk back to the spot we had passed the day before, and it was at this time that we learned Julius Caesar was killed here.
DSC00869 DSC00872 
One thing that was neat about the Jewish area was that you could find kosher restaurants.
DSC00874 
We went on a tour of the Jewish Museum, and then also looked at the main synagogue in Rome.  Sorry, no pictures were allowed inside.
DSC00879 
As we neared the end of our tour, we stopped at one of the many free, clean, public drinking fountains in Rome.  There we watched a little kid do something so cool that Ryan said I had to try it out.  If you plug up the spout, the water redirects out a little hole and makes a drinking fountain.  So neat!
DSC00881 
Ryan and I wanted to eat at a kosher dairy restaurant for lunch, so our tour guide recommended this place and joined us for a nice lunch.
DSC00884 
I had the mushroom salad and smoked salmon bruschetta.
DSC00886 DSC00887
Ryan and I split the artichoke.
DSC00888 
Then Ryan enjoyed a pizza. 
DSC00889 
After the Jewish tour, we headed back towards the hotel and thought we would check out the Pantheon. Nope, this was closed for the holiday.  But we were able to take some pictures outside.  On the way I saw this statue with an elephant and took a picture for my friend Mer, although she was in Rome and maybe she saw this for herself.  She loves elephants!
DSC00890 
So here we are at the Pantheon, standing around with many others trying to reevaluate the days plans that were altered as a result of the holiday.
DSC00892 DSC00893 DSC00896 
Quite an impressive building, and so well preserved.
DSC00898 
While we regrouped and thought about the options, we stopped for a gelato.
DSC00900 
After thinking about it, we decided to try the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.  Again, we were off by foot.
DSC00901 DSC00903
Here is a statue of the she-wolf from the story of the creation of Rome.  The two brothers were orphans and nursed by the she-wolf.
DSC00905 
Score!  The Forum was open on the holiday.
DSC00906 DSC00908
Or so we thought!  It started to rain just as we gave our tickets to go through the gate.  We went in but quickly took cover and waited about 20-30 minutes for it to let up so we could venture out, leave, and head back to the hotel.  The Forum would have to wait one more day, just like the Pantheon.
DSC00909
We bought some umbrellas a braved the rain.  At the hotel we took a suggestion for dinner and tried out this place called Le Grotte.
DSC00910 
This place was neat because they offered an antipasto bar filled with many vegetarian treats.
DSC00911 DSC00912 DSC00913 
We enjoyed some bread, naturally.
DSC00915 
We spotted some cheese on the menu and quickly inquired about one listed as grilled.  It almost sounded like the Greek flamed cheese, but we knew it was different.  It turned out to be really, really good.  It looked like a special kind of cheese that was smooshed in a panini press.
DSC00916 
Also delicious here was the flat bread, similar to naan with herbs.
DSC00917 
I started off with the antipasto bar.  I grabbed a little of most everything.
DSC00918 
Ryan had some pasta to start, and for his entree he had some chicken.
DSC00919 DSC00921
I went with pasta for my entree, and I was super stuffed because I really took too much from the veggie bar.
DSC00924 
We ended the meal with some coffee.
DSC00926 
After paying and sitting a little to digest our food, the server bought us out some limoncello, which is a lemon liquor popular in Italy (we bought some in Florence).  What a great way to end a great meal.
DSC00928 
Wait!!!  No evening is complete in Italy without gelato!  Too bad this was a place that really ripped us off and this ice cream you see here cost me 7.50 euro, which is more than $10 US.  That is why it is best to find a place where you pay first and not after.
DSC00930
Sadly, I wound up wearing more of the ice cream than eating it.  It looked pretty, but the shock of the price (mixed with the giggles from the alcoholic beverages) made it take longer than normal to get to eating the ice cream, and with the heat outside, and some not so frozen ice cream, it just dripped, dripped, dripped and went all over my hands.  Never fear, there was still one more day in Rome, and more gelato to be eaten!

QUESTIONS:  Have you ever toured a city from a religious point of view?  Have you ever visited a Jewish museum on vacation?  Do you usually have good weather on vacation?  When was the last time you were surprised by the price of something?

3 comments:

Mer said...

the pasta looks delish! we have a lot of the same Rome photos...except you forgot to take one of Ryan trying to life up a smart car :) I tried to go to the Jewish Museum in Dublin but it was closed the weekend we were there. I am actually on vacation NOW and having delightful beach weather. See you soon :) xo!

Gina; The Candid RD said...

haha, I'm surprised about the price of EVERYTHING these days!! :)
This sounds like a great tour, and I'm not even Jewish. I'm glad you were able to sign up for it at the last minute, because it had to have been an experience of a lifetime.

I love the look of the salmon bruschetta. Yum!

Nicole, RD said...

I am so jealous! This makes me wish I would've toured Europe with a tour guide! I'm not one to seek out culture and history, but if someone is telling it to me...I am fascinated!

That artichoke is stunning! WHAT a presentation! And that smoked salmon bruschetta...oh my yum!! And I love the jets with the red and green...Italian pride :)

Very jealous :)

Post a Comment