The Great Synagogue of Rome has a storied past, with the city housing one of the oldest Jewish communities in the world. The first set arrived in the city in the second century BC, and by the mid-16th century, the area of Trastevere on the west banks of the River Tiber became a Jewish ghetto, which lasted for three centuries until it was disbanded by King Victor Emmanuel II. The Great Synagogue was built across the river from Trastevere shortly afterwards in memory of the dark days of the ghetto; the Art Nouveau structure is stopped with a distinctive square dome and ornamented with floral reliefs.
On April 13, 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the synagogue, making him the first pope since early Christianity to do so. The synagogue celebrated its centenary in 2004 and serves as a hub for the Jewish community of Rome, as well as housing for the offices of the Chief Rabbi. The city's Jewish Museum is also on the premises, which opened in 1960 and displays precious textiles, manuscripts and silverware documenting centuries of Jewish life in Rome.
Located at Lungotevere de' Cenci in Trastevere, the synagogue is open in June through September, Sunday to Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. From October to May, the site is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission includes entrance to the Jewish Museum of Rome. Bus No. 8 and No. 10 run regularly along Lungotevere de' Cenci.