This is the old quarter where from 14 July 1555, on the orders of Pope Paul IV, all Rome’s Jews were forced to live. Today, many Jews still live here and it is possible to visit some shops selling typical Roman kosher food. On the Lungotevere is the Synagogue, built in 1904. The façade, with three entrances in the portico, bears Jewish symbols such as the seven-branched candlestick, the tablets of the law, the star of David and the palm-tree branch. The building also houses a permanent exhibition of Rome’s Jewish community with archaeological artefacts, prints, religious objects, liturgical silverware and religious robes.
Built in 1901-1904, the Great Synagogue (Tempio Maggiore) of Rome presents a modern facade with three entrances to the porch, bearing Jewish symbols such as the seven-branched candelabrum, the Decalogue, the Star of David and the palm branch. The building houses a permanent exhibition of the Jewish community of Rome with archaeological finds, prints, religious objects, silver and liturgical vestments.
Portico di Ottavia
The structure was built by Augustus in the name of his sister, Octavia Minor, sometime after 27 BC, in place of the Porticus Metelli. The colonnaded walks of the portico enclosed the temples of Jupiter Stator and Juno Regina, next to the Theater of Marcellus. It burned in 80 AD and was restored, probably by Domitian, and again after a second fire in 203 AD by Septimius Severus and Caracalla. It was adorned with foreign marble and contained many famous works of art. The structure was damaged by an earthquake in 442 AD, when two of the destroyed columns were replaced with an archway which still stands.
The portico was used as a fish market from the medieval period, and up to the end of 19th century.
The building, which lies in rione Sant’Angelo, represents the center of the Roman Ghetto.
Piazza delle Cinque Scole and the Fountain
The fountain was originally fed by the Acqua Felice and then by the Acqua Paola. It is also known as the fountain of “Piazza Giudia” or “Giudea” (Jewish), because it was placed at the main entrance to the ghetto from where it was moved in 1880 during the works to restore the area. In 1924 the basin and the shaft were firstly placed in the surroundings of the church of Sant’Onofrio on the Janiculum Hill and then recombined with the original pond in 1930 to be placed in the current Piazza delle Cinque Scole or Cenci (once called Via del Progresso). Designed by Giacomo della Porta and built in 1591 by the stone-cutter Pietro Gucci, it was made with the white marble from the temple of Serapis on the Quirinal Hill. The water pours from the central tap into the circular basin supported by the central shaft and flows down through four masks into the mistilinear basin below, decorated with the coats of arms of the Capitoline Magistrates from the Boccapaduli, Planca, Incoronati, Iacovaci, and Altieri families that bear the date of 1593.
Theatre of Marcellus
The theatre was started by Julius Caesar and finished by Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD) in 17 BC, when the Ludus Saecularesgames were held there. In 13 BC or 11 BC the theatre was dedicated to thememory of Marcellus, Augustus’s nephew and heir who died prematurely. The building stands on the site where theatrical events had been staged using removable timber structures that took up a part of the curved side of the Circus Flaminius. Later restoration work on the stagewas carried out under Vespasian. In the 13th century the theatre was turned into a fortress and in the 16th century into a noble palace of the Savelli family.This palace, the work of Baldassarre Peruzzi, was bought by the Orsini family in the 18th century. In the years 1926-32 the lower section, corresponding to the Ancient Roman structures, was purchased by Rome’s citycouncil that removed the buildings leaning on it and restored it. This building is the only one of the three permanent theatres (together with the Theatre of Pompey and the Theatre of Balbus) that has preserved most of its external façade. This was wholly built of travertine and originally had 41 arches flanked by pilasters and semi-columns – of the Doric type on the ground floor and Ionic style on the second storey. The third storey, now completely lost, had an attic enclosed with Corinthian style pilasters.
The fontana delle Tartarughe
The fontana delle Tartarughe (Tortoises) is one of Giacomo della Porta’s most elegant works, built in the years 1581-1584 and decorated with bronze ephebi and dauphins by the Florentine Taddeo Landini. At the centre of the mistilinear pond at the ground level, a base decorated with cartouches supports four large African marble ponds that receive water from dauphins on which four ephebi rest on one foot in the act of pushing four tortoises towards the edge of the dull-grey marble basin supported by a baluster. The basin receives water from the main spurt that flows into the basin below from the mouths of four putti. The tortoises were probably added by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in 1658 when the fountain was restored at the time of pope Alexander the Seventh Chigi (1655-1667). They were subject to repeated thefts in 1906, 1944, and recently in 1981. The current tortoises are copies of the surviving originals that are kept in the Capitoline Museums.
Temple of Apollo Sosianus
On the right of Portico di Ottavia, in the Hebrew district, the remains of a temple dedicated to God Apollo, built between 433 and 431 BC, can be found. The temple is called of Apollo Sosiano from the name of the consul C. Sosia who in 32 BC rebuilt completely the building enriching it with many works of art. The temple was on a vary large platform, was hexastyle and pseudoperipteral with semicolumns on each side of the cell. In the cell there were many works of art, it seemed like a real museum and often there were held senate meetings.
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