The Roman Ghetto was located in the area surrounded by today's Via del Portico d'Ottavia, Lungotevere dei Cenci, Via del Progresso and Via di Santa Maria del Pianto close to the Tiber and the Theatre of Marcellus , in Rome, Italy.
A canon promulgated by Pope Paul IV in 1556 segregated the Jews, who had lived freely in Rome since Antiquity, in a walled quarter with three gates that were locked at night, and subjected them to various restrictions on their personal freedom, and degradations like compulsory sermons on the Jewish shabbat although to a lesser degree than in other European countries. The district lacked a well and flooded every winter.
When Napoleonic forces occupied Rome, the Ghetto was legally abolished (in 1808), but it was reinstated as soon as the Papacy regained control. In 1848, during the brief revolution, the Ghetto was abolished once more, again temporarily. The Jews had to petition annually for permission to live there, and were disabled from owning any property even in the Ghetto. They paid a yearly tax for the privilege; formality and tax survived until 1850. Pope Leo XIII was less intransigent than Pius IX, and the city of Rome was able to tear down the Ghetto's walls in 1888 and demolish some houses, before the area was reconstructed around the new Synagogue.
The ghetto of Rome was the last remaining ghetto in Western Europe.
- Roman Ghetto described