JEWISH ROOTS IN ITALY
Not only does ITALIA sound in Hebrew like I-TAL-JAH or "island of divine dew" but history tells us the first known Jewish settlement in western Europe before the Diaspora was Italy and the first Synagogue was built in Ostia Antica, the harbour-town of ancient Rome, around 200 B.C.
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The Jewish in Rome
More than 2.000 year ago the Jewish community was already present in Rome and in fact, the first book of the Maccabees we discover that Judas Maccabeus sent a delegation to Rome in 160 B.C. to conclude a treaty of alliance so that the Romans would support to build of an independent nation around the Temple of Jerusalem.
At that time a continuous migration started to Rome and from here all over Italy; The alternate periods of tolerance under the Emperors Septimus and Alexander Severus and persecutions under Emperor Titus, the conqueror of Middle East, and especially under Constantine, give us a throve of sites to visit.
Some of the early popes obliged Jews to distinguish themselves by means of their clothing. They also had to assist mass, baptize their children and during the carnival period they were mocked by the populace. But as a result of the expulsion of the Spanish Jewish in 1492, the Italian community increased.
Pope Leo X, member of the Florentine Medici Dynasty, defended them by guaranteeing a number of essential privileges. But only 60 years later in 1552 the Talmud was burned in Campo dei Fiori…
With the French Revolution new ideals reached Italy. Relaxed rules and tolerance culminated in 1848 with the gates of the Ghetto were being opened.
After the tragedy of the Second World War when peace returned to Europe the Jews community in Italy is a thriving and active part of the Italian society totally integrated and living according to the commandments given to them on Mount Sinai. Pope John Paul the II gave to all Christians a plain message: the respect and consideration to "our Elder brothers!".
COMPLETE JEWISH TOUR FROM
(FROM ROME TO MILAN)
Tour fully escorted by our experienced multilingual tour manager. Only three kosher meals are included in our quotation. All other days bed and breakfast daily.
Day 1 Rome
Upon arrival at the airport our tour escort will meet you to transfer to check in at your reserved hotel. The rest of the day is at your disposal for resting, shopping or additional sightseeing. In the evening a short lecture and welcome drink is planned.
Day 2 Rome
Morning: city tour (Jewish area and ancient Rome). Afternoon: excursion to Ostia Antica.
Jewish info: Community in Lungotevere Cenci, (telephone 066875051-2 - 0668400661). pop. about 15.000 (including Perugia community).
First Jewish settlement in 139 B.C. Several kosher restaurants, centre of Jewish culture, Institute of Jewish studies and two ritual baths. Union of all Jewish-Italian communities in Lungotevere Sanzio (telephone 065803667 or 065803670).
Italian rite: Tempio Maggiore, Oratorium Di Castro, Oratorium dell Ospedale. Spanish rite: Tempio Spagnolo, Oratorium Tripolino, Tempio Beth El, Tempio della Scuola V. Polacco. Oratorium Ashkenazita. Jewish catacombs in via Nomentana. Cemetery in Verano .
OSTIA ANTICA The ancient town of Ostia, harbour of Imperial Rome, monumental archeological. structure of incredible greatness The Roman Pompeii. Historical records of Ostia start from year 335 B.C. The city developed and grew mostly during the Imperial period and its declIne began at the beginning of the 4th century A.D.
Jewish info: Remains of the most ancient synagogue in Europe (4th century A.C.)
Kosher dinner tonight is planned at the restaurant "Da Lisa".
Day 3 Rome - Siena
Morning: departure to Siena. En route stop in Pitigliano. Arrival in Siena and check in at hotel. Time at leisure.
PITIGLIANO Called "the little Jerusalem" for its large Jewish settlement in 17th and 18th century. Picturesque little town on a tufa hill among deep ravines, with Etruscan necropolis and
Important sights: Palazzo Orsini, Duomo, Santa Maria, Jewish info: Community in Livorno (telephone 0586-28722). First Jewish settlement in 1579, following the expulsion of the Jews from the State of the Church . It became a Jewish refuge with a community of about 500 people. Old ghetto and Synagogue (being renovated).
Jewish cemetery. No kosher restaurant, Kosher wine produced.
Day 4 Siena- Florence
Morning: visit of Siena. Afternoon: departure to Florence. Arrival in Florence. check in at hotel. Orientation walking tour. Jewish population in Siena is about 750 persons.
SIENA: One of Italy's most fascinating cities, with a splendid Gothic Duomo; the world famous Palio takes place in this city.
Important sights: Piazza del Campo, Battistero, Duomo, Pinacoteca, Palazzo Piccolomini, Santa Caterina, Palazzo Pubblico. Jewish info: Community and synagogue in via delle Scotte, 14, near Piazza del Campo (telephone 0577284647). First known Jewish settlement in 1229 (a Jewish university), but earlier settlements are probable. Old ghetto (Italian rite) and Jewish cemetery in Via Certosa. No kosher restaurant, but there is a kosher butcher.
Day 5 Florence
Morning: half day city tour. Afternoon: time at leisure. Jewish info: Community and synagogue in Via L.C. Farini 4 (telephone 055245252). Population about 1200 (Siena included). First Jewish settlement in 1430. Tempio Maggiore (Spanish rite). Old Jewish cemetery. Kosher restaurant.
Day 6 Florence - Ferrara
Morning: departure to Ferrara. En route stop In Bologna. Arrival in Ferrara and city tour. Check in at hotel.
BOLOGNA: Chief town of Emilia and Romagna. Monumental and picturesque, with medieval towers, porticos, long covered streets and famous churches. Etruscan, Roman, a free comune, today famed for its cuisine. Centre of cultural life. Home of Europe's oldest university. Art, good food, good living, important sights: Basilica S. Petronio, Torre degli Asinelli, Pinacoteca, S.Domenico, Fontana di Nettuno.
Jewish info: Community in Via De'Gombruti 9 (telephone 051232066) near Asinelli Tower. Population 2300.
First Jewish settlement in 3rd or 4th century. Tempio Maggiore, museum, school of Talmudic studies.
FERRARA: Ancient capital of the domains of the Este family's Duchy. It is endowed with splendid buildings.
Important sights: Cathedral, Palazzo Schifanoia, Palazzo di Ludovico il Moro. Jewish info: Community in Via Mazzini 95, near the Estense Castle. Pop about 100. Jewish refuge in ]5th and 16th century, when the Este family gave shelter to the Jews expelled by the State of the Church. In those times there were 10 synagogues and more than 2000 Jewish people. Old Ghetto, Scola Francese and German Scola and cemetery.
Day 7 Ferrara
Morning: half day tour to Ravenna. Afternoon: time at leisure
RAVENNA: The ancient capital of the Western Roman Empire, link between the Roman and Byzantine world, a treasure house of unique monuments, it preserves the art produced in two eras. Splendid Byzantine mosaics, capital of the barbaric kingdoms of Odoacer and Theodoric.
Vital city to understand Byzantine art.
Important sights: San Vitale, Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, Mausoleo di Teodorico, Tomba di Dante.
Day 8 Ferrara - Trieste
Moming: departure to Trieste. En route stop In Padova and city tour. Arrival in Trieste and city tour. Check in at hotel.
Optional: PADOVA: Agricultural and industrial city. Seat of a very important university. Centre of culture and art, with the famous Scrovegni Chapel (with world famous Giotto frescoes, painted in 1305) and the magnificent Basilica of Sant'Antonio.
Important sights: Palazzo della Ragione, Battistero, Duomo, Church of Eremitani, Monument of Gattamelata, Civic Museum.
Jewish info: Community and synagogue in Via S. Martino and Solferino 9 (telephone 04923524). Population about 1.125. No Kosher restaurant. First Jewish settlement in 11th century. During the 14th century the university of Padova was the only one in Europe to accept Jewish students. Two synagogues (Italian and Spanish rite). Jewish quarter and Ghetto. Jewish cemeteries in San Leonardo and Via Sorio (the newest).
TRIESTE: Important commercial and industrial city.
The main port of the Adriatic. Beautiful Romanesque Basilica di S.Giusto, a recently discovered Roman theatre and the famous Castello di Miramare, erected on a promontory, with a beautiful park which contains an important historical museum.
Important sights: Castello di Miramare, Gothic Church of St. Michele, Museum of History and Art (Greek and Egyptian antiquities). Jewish info: Community and synagogue in Via San Francesco 19. Pop 1050 (including Gorizia). Kosher restaurant.
First Jewish settlement in 11th century. Old Ghetto. Scola Vivante in Via del Monte.
Cemetery of Sant'Anna. Risiera of San Saba, tragic place of deportation during World War 11, in Via Martiri della Risiera. In 1933, many Jewish families fleeing from Nazi Germany sailed to Palestine from this harbour. They called it Port of Sion.
Day 9 Trieste - Venice
Morning: departure to Venice. En route stop In Risiera di San Saba.
Afternoon: Arrival in Venice and check in at hotel.
Day 10 Venice
In the morning: half day city tour of the Jewish quarters.
Jewish info: Community in Cannareggio 1118/A (telephone 041715012 and 716882. Population 1.310 (including Mestre). First Jewish settlement in 9th century. Jewish shops and kosher restaurants. Spanish Scola, Levantine Scola, Luzzato Scola, Canton Scola, Great German Scola (the oldest). Cemetery of San Nicolo. Three ghettos: Old Ghetto (founded in 1516), New Ghetto (1541) and Newest Ghetto (1603). They form the first Jewish quarter in Europe, almost entirely preserved.
Day 11 Venice
Time at leisure. For relaxation or for optional visits, we suggest a half day tour to the islands of Murano and Burano.
Day 12 Venice - Parma
Morning: departure to Parma; en route stop in Sabbioneta. Arrival in Parma and short visit of city; check in at hotel.
SABBIONETA: The little Athens by the Po river. Gonzaga materialized his dream by building this town, an outstanding example of classical architecture. The idea of a humanist warrior prince that became reality. Jewish info: First Jewish settlement in 1436. Synagogue in Via Campi, and cemetery.
PARMA: The jewel of Emilia-Romagna. The capital city of an independent state from 1545 and 1860, with the famous Romanesque Battistero newly restored, one of the most glorious architectural structures in Italy, built by Antelami. Important sights: National Gallery, Camera di San Paolo, Palazzo della Pilota, San Giovanni Evangelista. Jewish info: in Vicolo Cervi (telephone 0521774823).
Pop. 65. First jewish settlement in 14th or 15th century. Synagogue of Italian rite, built in 1800. Cemetery in Viale Villetta.
Day 13 Parma - Mantova - Milan
En route, stop and visit of Mantova. Light lunch offered by the local community and then in the afternoon: departure to Milan. Arrival and city tour. Check in at hotel.
MANTUA: A city rich in buildings and art treasures, especially of the 15th and 16th century. Seat of the Gonzaga family, who held one of the most brilliant courts in Europe and turned Mantova into a Renaissance capital.
Important sights: Palazzo Ducale S. Andrea, Palazzo Te, Loggia dei Gonzaga.
Jewish info: Community and synagogue in Via Govi 11 (telephone 0376321490). Population 155. Rabbi's Palace in Via Bertani, cemetery in Via Legnano.
MILANO: One of the most important industrial cities in Europe with a great historical past and a lively cultural life, with a unique Gothic Duomo and its rectangular. Seat of the main opera house in Italy, La Scala.
Important sights: Pinacoteca di Brera, Castello Sforzesco, S. Ambrogio, S. Maria delle Grazie (Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper).
Jewish info: Community in Via Eupili 2 (telephone) 023452096/7/8). Population about 9850. International library in Via Eupili 8, the most important collection of documents and books about contemporary Jewish history. Kosher restaurant and stores. Central temple, Scola Shapira (Italian rite) and Rabbi's office in Via Guastalla 19 (telephone 025512101).
Ten Oratoriums. Among them: Oratorium Sefard, Oratorium Ashkenazi, Oratorium Sefard Persiano, Italian rite Oratorium. The great complex in Via Sally Mayor, 4 includes schools, libraries, oratorium, fitness centre, restaurant, etc.
Day 14 Milan
End of the tour, our services end after breakfast with transfers to the
airport or railway station.