The southern section of the Centro Storico, Campo de’ Fiori is another neighborhood of narrow streets, small piazzas, and ancient churches. Its main focus remains the piazza of Campo de’ Fiori ★ itself, whose workaday fruit and veg stalls are a real contrast to the cafes and street entertainers of Piazza Navona. The excessively expensive open-air food market runs Monday through Saturday from early in the morning until around 2pm (or whenever the food runs out). From the center of the piazza rises a statue of the severe-looking monk Giordano Bruno, whose presence is a reminder that heretics were occasionally burned at the stake here: Bruno was executed by the Inquisition in 1600.
Palazzo Farnese ★, on Piazza Farnese just to the south of the Campo, built between 1514 and 1589, was designed by Sangallo and Michelangelo, among others, and was an astronomically expensive project for the time. Its famous residents have included a 16th-century member of the Farnese family, plus Pope Paul III, Cardinal Richelieu, and the former Queen Christina of Sweden, who moved to Rome after abdicating. During the 1630s, when the heirs couldn’t afford to maintain the palazzo, it was inherited by the Bourbon kings of Naples and then purchased by the French government in 1874; the French Embassy is still located here (closed to the public).
The southern part of Campo di Fiori merges into the old Jewish Ghetto, established near the River Tiber by a Papal Bull in 1555, which required all the Jews in Rome to live in one area. Walled in, overcrowded, prone to floods and epidemics, and on some of the worst land in the city, life here was extremely grim. It was only after the Ghetto was abolished in 1882 that its walls were torn down and the area largely reconstructed. Today the Via Portico d’Ottavia lies at the heart of a flourishing Jewish Quarter, with Romans flocking here to soak up the festive atmosphere and sample the stellar Roman-Jewish and Middle Eastern cuisine.
The Great Synagogue of Rome (Tempio Maggiore di Roma; www.romaebraica.it; (tel) 06-6840061) was built from 1901 to 1904 in an eclectic style evoking Babylonian and Persian temples. The synagogue was attacked by terrorists in 1982 and since then has been heavily guarded by carabinieri, a division of the Italian police armed with machine guns. On the premises is the Museo Ebraico di Roma (Jewish Museum of Rome), Via Catalana (www.museoebraico.roma.it; (tel) 06-6840061), which chronicles the history of the Jews of Rome and Italy in general, with displays of works of 17th- and 18th-century Roman silversmiths, precious textiles from all over Europe, parchments, and marble carvings saved when the Ghetto synagogues were demolished. Admission includes a guided tour of the synagogue in English and costs 11€ for adults, 4€ for students, with children 10 and under admitted free. From mid-June to mid-September, hours are Sunday to Thursday 10am to 7pm, Friday 10am to 4pm. At other times, hours are Sunday to Thursday 10am to 5pm, Friday 9am to 2pm.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.