The old Jewish Ghetto was 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.
This area immediately west of the Capitoline Hill includes some peaceful narrow streets and small piazze, with fountains, palaces and churches. The characteristic sanpietrini paving and a few old-fashioned shops survive. In this interesting area are some Roman remains, including the Theatre of Marcellus.