2) PORTICO D’OTTAVIA
3) ISOLA TIBERINA (ISLAND OF THE TIBER)
Exiting Hotel Nord Nuova Roma turn right and walk straight down Via Giovanni Amendola about 100 meters until you get to Via Cavour, turn left and go towards Temini Railway Station. Catch bus no. 170 and get off at via del Teatro Marcello. After stopping in at the Antico Caffè del Teatro Marcello, walk on to the archaeological area.
Walking through the remains of temples and the theater you may feel as though you are in the midst of a scene which slowly takes you through the ages towards modern times, passing through the medieval, Renaissance and up into the urban restructuring of the ghetto in the early 1900s.
In fact, when you go down into this area of excavations, notice the part of a synagogue between the house of Vallati (medieval) and the Theater of Marcellus (ancient Rome).
Leaving this area you will find yourself on the via del Portico d’Ottavia, where you can see plaques on the walls of the house of Vallati recalling the deportation of the Jews on October 16th, 1943 by the Nazis.
The Portico of Ottavia, erected in 146 BC by Cecilius Metellus, reworked by Augustus between 27 and 23 BC, is dedicated to his sister Ottavia. Two temples, dedicated to Jupiter and Juno, were incorporated inside the portico as well as two libraries, one Greek and one Latin.
In 770 Pope Steven III founded the Church of Sant’Angelo in Pescheria (pescheria meaning fish market) which referred to the entrance arch where the fish market stood.
Along this road, the Osteria di Giggetto is known for its Jewish-Roman cuisine (Jewish artichokes), and on the opposite side of the street at no. 48 is the shop of Leone Limentani that offers a vast selection of refined porcelain.
Turning into via della Reginella and Piazza Mattei, you will notice medieval and renaissance palaces, which surround the beautiful “Fontana delle tartarughe” (fountain of turtles) commissioned by Mattei. This is joint work of two artists: the bronze worker Taddeo Landini and the sculptor Giacomo Della Porta and the turtles seem to be by Bernini, also in bronze thereby giving the fountain a typically Baroque appearance.
Turning left into Via dei Falegnami and passing various shops, at no. 63 on the corner of Via Saint Elena, which goes into Largo Argentina, you will find the old but always convenient “Cannavota Tessuti” fabric shop.
Continue on and turn left onto Via dei Publicolis which intersects with Via Santa Maria del Pianto and on your left, you will notice the sixteenth-century palace of Santa Croce typical for its structure in ashlar rustification with diamond shaped points.
Opposite the church is the Hare Krishna center where you can get lunch at a good price. Turning left again you can find typical “kosher” shops with Jewish food.
In Piazza Costaguti is the medieval Tempietto del Carmelo, one of the ghetto churches where the Jews were forced to listen to senseless sermons that the priests inflicted against them; the so called “forced sermons”.
At no. 1, stop and taste typical Jewish pastries at Via del Portico d’Ottavia.
Go in the direction of Piazza delle Cinque Scole, named this because at the time of the ghetto there were five synagogues: Catalana, Castigliana, Siciliana, Del tempio and Nova.
The “Sora Margherita” cultural center at no. 30 welcomes you into a small building where you can taste excellent typical dishes. (Open everyday for lunch, except Mondays. Reservations are requested for dinners on Fridays and Saturdays by calling at 06-6874216).
Take Via Catalana, you will find yourself in front of a Jewish temple, la Sinagoga, in ecclesiastical style with traditional symbols such as palms, the Star of David and a slab with the 10 commandments (Torah).
Completed between 1901 and 1904 in the Assyrian/Babylonian style, the museum contains a wide variety of items of everyday life and worship as experience by the old Jewish community in Rome.
Turn right into Via del Tempio which takes you into Lungotevere dei Pierleoni, next to the Museum of the Synagogue, where you will see another church, San Gregorio alla Divina Pietà, where forced sermons took place, Cross the intersection and pass the Roman-era Fabricio Bridge and you will find yourself on the Isola Tibertina (Tiber island), known to be the only ford of the Tiber River in Rome, which starting in the fourth century AD took over temples and hospitals by taking on the function of health protection for the city.
It is possible to go down to the water level and see how it resembles the form of a ship by walking from bow to stern.
Walking over the Cestio Bridge, you arrive at Lungotevere degli Anguillara. Here you have arrived in the Trastevere area. Cross the street at the traffic light and you reach the piazza in Piscinula. Go straight in Via Piscinula and take the small street of vicolo dell’Atleta, you will arrive in the piazza which opens the portal to the antique Basilica of Saint Cecilia (visiting hours: 9:30 am -1 pm/4-7:30pm).
The church was founded before the 5th century on the spot of the house that belonged to Cecilia, the martyred patron saint of Rome. The house was reconstructed in the 8th century by Pope Pascal I. In 1600, Maderno portrayed the saint in a beautiful statue which can be seen today under the altar. Beautiful mosaics adorn the walls of the apse while others decorate the crypt. Inside the convent, a famous fresco from 1293 depicts the Last Judgment.
In the Piazzas and alleyways, look up to admire the rooftops of old palaces of the Roman trasteverina. Get on Via San Michele and take a right onto Via della Madonna dell’Orto. Here inside the church, above the main door, one can admire the monumental organ.
After leaving, turn right again into Via Anicia and on the left Via dei Tabacchi. On the right you will pass Via della Luce and Via San Crisogono. Follow down Via Cardinale Marmaggi to arrive in Viale Trastevere. Cut across Viale Trastevere which takes you into Via delle Fratte of Trastevere. At no. 44 find the “Sottosopra” boutique where you can purchase prêt-a-porter (ready to wear) clothing. On the right in Via die Linearly at no.28, enter into the book shop “Bibil” which, between conferences, book and music presentations, offers a delightful brunch ( hours; Sat. and Sun. from 12:30) and a buffet every evening as well as quick lunches , teas, tisanes and desserts.
If you’d like to listen to rock, blues or pop music ask directions for “Big Mama” notably popular, in Via San Francesco a Ripa.
If you’re up for a good pizza, sit comfortably at a table at “Ivo’s” at no.58.
Following on, you arrive in Piazza San Callisto which precedes the Piazza of Santa Maria in Trastevere. In the center of the piazza there is a fountain surrounded by steps, where you can usually see young Romans and foreigners as well seated around it, from where you van admire the important facade of the 12th century church of Santa Maria with 13th century mosaics of the Madonna on a throne with baby Jesus along with ten feminine figures. Inside, three naves with twenty-one granite columns, frescoes and an antique ciborium make of this church a splendid example of how popes, from Pope Callisto in 221 and Pope Pio IX in 1870, followed a common will of embellishment without ever subjecting the church to profound transformations.
Return to your walk on Via della Lungaretta straight on to Viale Trastevere. Cross the traffic lights and catch the no. 8 tram in front of the statue of the Romanesque poet, Gioacchino Belli, in the direction of Argentina.
Get off at the end of the line of Largo Argentina, where archaeological excavations reveal the stratification of the city of Rome, giving back historical memories through the temples of the so-called “Area Sacra” or Sacred Area.
Catch either bus number 64 or 70 and have a nice ride back to the Hotel Nord Nuova Roma!