Our tour this morning began at Isola Tiberna, a tiny island in the Tiber where a Temple to Ascelpius, the god of healing, was turned into a hospital by the Franciscans and it remains a prized hospital today.
We then crossed a footbridge into the Ghetto where the Jews were sent (from the Trastevere) by the Pope in the 15th century.
We’ve already had two great lunches here and it was interesting to hear Francesca tell of this area’s history.
During World War II there were some 12,000 Jews living in this small area. At the bitter end of the War 2,000 Jews were deported to Auschwitz and most never returned. Romans hid the remaining Jews in safety. At some houses today there are plaques
at the door listing the names of the deported, mostly women and children.
We passed a villa with an open door and Francesca advised one should always go in as an open door is an invitation. It was a former villa, now a library, with pieces of
monumental statuary from
ancient times to the 18th century.
A few highlights:
A gorgeous inlaid stone floor discovered when excavation began to build the new train station. Most of the villa remains underground but this piece gives us an idea of the glorious structure. Our guide explained that much of Rome’s glory is still buried underground.
Marcus Aurelius with a room all his own
Then I was off to meet Starr and Holger at Da Giggetto for a reprise of the Melanzane Parmigianna for lunch and then an afternoon nap.