From museums to menorahs, from synagogues to catacombs, Italy has a rich Jewish tradition that spans more than 2,000 years and stretches from Merano to Palermo.
Throughout their fraught history, the Jews in Italy have suffered unimaginable challenges—extreme persecution, expulsions, forced conversions and special taxes. But they have also enjoyed incredible triumphs, and made stunning achievements in poetry, medicine, science, theater and literature, not to mention trading and banking, as Jewish communities flourished throughout Italy.
To help our clients explore this surprisingly rich and varied Jewish history, Perfetto has designed a special portfolio of exclusive tours with a Jewish twist. We offer the chance to experience Italy from a uniquely Jewish perspective—such as a visit to the Uffizi and Jewish Florence, or to the Vatican and St. Peters (which houses the columns from Solomon’s temple brought from Jerusalem by Constantine!)
Did you know...
Did you know that the word “ghetto” comes from the first Jewish ghetto set up in Venice in 1516 to segregate the Jews? Or that one of Italy’s favorite dishes carciofi alla giudia, meaning “Jewish-style artichokes” (deep-fried!), originated in the ghetto in Rome?
Did you know...
Did you know that The Garden of the Finzi-Continis takes place in Ferrara, an especially vibrant Jewish community in the Renaissance under the House of Este, which recently opened a Museum of Italian Judaism and the Shoah? Or that Florence’s Great Synagogue is built in a Moorish style?
We’ll also help you discover lesser-known sites such as Ancona, whose Monte-Cardeto Jewish cemetery is one of the largest in Europe, or Ostia, where the remains of a synagogue was found when the ground was broken to make a highway! Plus, you can visit the special Jewish monuments and sites of Verona, Mantua, Siena—all the way down to Sicily (where Jews were once brought as slaves after the fall of Jerusalem), with their host of synagogues, Jewish quarters, artifacts and museums!
And, of course, there is Italy’s rich Jewish culinary tradition to explore. When confined to the ghetto, Rome’s Jewish community had to make do with what little they had and they came up with some culinary treats that are now a part of Italy’s cuisine. In our Jewish Tastes Tour of Rome, you can sample the great tradition of Roman Jewish food—including suppli, one of Rome’s favorite street foods (rice balls), fried squash blossoms stuffed with mozzarella and anchovies, or fried baccala (salt cod). Or learn how to prepare Italian-kosher dishes in a special cooking class, dine in the best Italian kosher restaurants, or a take a kosher winery tour.
For a visit back to your roots, our unique heritage tours can take you to a specific town in Italy and retrieve documents or arrange meetings with members of the local Jewish community. Or you can share a kosher meal at a Jewish home and meet Jewish leaders as you travel throughout the country.
And for those who wish to celebrate a never-to-be-forgotten occasion in Italy, Perfetto can design customized Kosher events such as weddings and Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in the city of your choice. Or let Perfetto create any other perfect Jewish experience that you can dream up and dream on in Bella Italia!
Did you know...
Did you know that Rome has the oldest continuing Jewish community in Europe, dating from 161 BC, and that traces of its Jewish heritage are seen throughout the city, including ruins of Roman-era synagogues, ancient catacombs, the Jewish Ghetto and the remarkable Great Synagogue on the banks of the Tiber? Or that Roman Jews have their own language that is a fusion of Hebrew and Italian, as well as their own culture?